The Trump Doctrine 4: The Enemy Within

Trump is about to go to war. Against the American people

This week there have been three major developments: 1) The Trump administration called for a press conference presumably for reporters to ask questions about the controversial health care bill known as TrumpCare that would put 22 million people off of health insurance. Ultimately, the setup served for Huckabee Sanders to criticize the media. 2) The NRA promotional video was released, using a cryptic apocalyptic message to call on its viewers “to fight [a] violence of lies” spread by “them” “with the clenched fist of truth.” “Them” and “they” in the text refer obviously to the ‘liberal elites’ in this textual analogy, supported by dark visuals and audio. 3) Trump called for his Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity to collect all registered voting data (including birth dates of voters, addresses, and party affiliation) from states to improve the integrity of elections; presumably to support his claim of voter fraud during the 2016 election.

Let’s start with point 3). Voter suppression laws and related efforts to make it harder for people to vote have been used previously by Republican lawmakers on the state-level in Texas and North Carolina as tactics to suppress Democratic voter turnout — Vox explains. This phenomenon is not new. However, the scale in which this voting data could be used to discourage or even intimidate people may become much wider spread as White House policies hit people nationwide.

This suppression of the vote lies in line with point 2): Intimidation of the opposition party, the so-called ‘liberal elites’. As self-proclaimed “major political force and as America’s foremost defender of Second Amendment rights”, the NRA calls in the video on violence against those who criticize the president. This call to arms seems an extension of Trump’s earlier remarks during rallies to “punch [protesters] in the face.” But this promotional video also comes at an especially critical time as two weeks ago a Republican Congressman was shot and bystanders were killed and injured. Where Republican Majority Leader Ryan and Democratic Minority Leader Pelosi called for unity after the attack,  the Trump administration chose to double-down on his partisan rhetoric. Again, he spewed hateful language over Twitter at the hosts of a political news show on MSNBC. Hateful partisanship in NRA’s message shouldn’t surprise the critics who noted no reaction from the gun-owners association after the video of the killing of gun-owner Philando Castile during a police stop came online. This leads us to point 1).

A common enemy to both Trump and the NRA is the media ruled by the so-called ‘liberal elites’. Both have been under harsh criticism — respectively in their own political shortcoming — and both have previously shot back at the media for spreading hateful partisanship. Let me be clear: criticizing the media for inaccurate reporting should always be scrutinized at the highest levels. Good reporting is hard, as the phenomenon of wrongful headlines in UK tabloids and Fox News prove. Yet, good reporting should also be praised as our journalists inform citizens about the realities in societies’ daily occurrences. Keeping the media down as the Trump administration has been trying to do since he’s been on the campaign trail — while claiming actual “pants on fire” falsehoods –is the strategy to Trump’s actual goal: creating an alternative reality in which Trump always wins. And as we all know too well, creating a marketing scheme about his brand is what Trump does. American journalism has to step up its game, as columnist for Playboy Brian J. Karem  has shown us this week. We need more journalistic personalities as the ones who have dared to call out Trump and his cronies in their face on their lies.

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