Two different worlds
The first month of Trump’s presidency has highlighted marked divisions in public opinion that have been building for many years.
Do you remember Obama’s 2004 DNC speech? It had a dramatic effect on many listeners, and helped to set him on the road to the eventual presidency. The lines that appeared to have resonated most were these, which spoke to a deep yearning that already existed in many Americans who were listening:
It’s painful to look back and reflect that one of those “who, even as we speak…are preparing to divide us” seems to have been the speaker himself, Barack Obama. He did a mighty fine job of it too, although he certainly wasn’t alone; he had plenty of help in that endeavor.
Which brings us to now, twelve years after that speech and eight years after Obama took the oath of office in 2008. It’s easy—on opening one’s phone or computer and checking out the news—to see that division quite starkly. To take just one example typical of many, Memeorandum (which I’ve long used as one of my go-to sources for a variety of the most talked-about topics and articles of the day on the web) features an abundance of daily links to pieces that are profoundly anti-Trump. It’s clear that the self-styled “Resistance” is active and energized, and that the MSM has suddenly and magically regained its ability to Question Authority, now that the authority is Donald Trump and the Republicans he appoints. The NY Times has even seen its digital subscription numbers rise in the last quarter of 2016, to the highest levels since its current pay model was instituted in 2011.
Meanwhile, for the most part, periodicals and pundits on the right soldier on in a different world, a world in which Trump is making many excellent appointments, giving good speeches, and generally going about the business of setting up his presidency, while the stock market climbs (for now, anyway).
Two different worlds, we live in two different worlds. And never the twain shall meet—at least, hardly ever.
I want to mention something that I experienced the other day, though, while talking to a liberal friend who had voted for Hillary Clinton and most definitely doesn’t like Trump. This friend mentioned that she had watched part of Trump’s recent press conference, the one in which he’d criticized the MSM in no uncertain terms, and she’d noticed several things.
The first was that some of what Trump said had made sense to her. The second was that he predicted the press reaction when he said, “Tomorrow, [the press] will say, ‘Donald Trump rants and raves at the press.’ I’m not ranting and raving. I’m just telling you.” She agreed that he hadn’t really been “ranting and raving” during that press conference and yet she also noted with some surprise that Trump had predicted correctly, because that was exactly the spin the press gave his performance. It certainly got her attention.
How common is that sort of reaction in a liberal watcher? I doubt very; but I report at least one, anyway. What difference will it make? I don’t know; perhaps little or none. But the farther the press goes with the extremity of its negative spin, the more some more moderate liberals who are paying attention are bound to notice that something is amiss.
[Neo-neocon is a writer with degrees in law and family therapy, who blogs at neo-neocon.]