President Trump gives the hard left a chance at power
You can already hear the screaming from the political left over President Donald Trump’s nomination of a conservative to the Supreme Court.
But don’t allow yourself to be mesmerized by the flecks of spittle flying from angry mouths. Don’t worry about jesters like that Hollywood actor at the Screen Actors Guild gala who wanted to punch those who disagree with him in the face – "with soul, with heart and with joy."
If you focus on theatrics, you’ll miss this:
Because, for all the noise, the hard American political left can’t really hate President Trump.
They love him. Or at least, the smart ones on the hard left do.
This president has given them an opportunity to reach for one thing they didn’t have during the last eight years of Barack Obama:
And every day they use wave after wave of anti-Trump hysteria – much of it carried in the media – to stoke anger, like that over Trump’s immigration policy.
The liberal argument is that a temporary ban on immigration from just seven Muslim-dominated nations with a history of terrorism is not only wrong, but racist. We’re told that those who don’t oppose it are racists themselves, and if they consider themselves Christian, then they’re hateful Christians.
But much of America doesn’t agree. And people don’t appreciate being slammed over the skull with some blackjack Jesus wielded by the left.
They opted for border control and increased vetting of immigrants, and they made that clear in the last election. Many longtime Democratic voters were among them.
What this angry public theater allows is opportunity for the left to steamroll Democratic centrists out of the way, so they can grab control of the Democratic Party apparatus.
Because that’s what this wild, seething game is all about now: control of the Democratic Party, or what’s left of it.
Perhaps that’s why Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer was crying the other day, not over Trump’s executive order on immigration but for his own prospects.
Schumer is like the boy dancing on a log in the river, trying not to fall in. He must keep moving farther to the left to accommodate that leftward roll, while trying to help 10 Senate Democrats running for re-election in states Trump won.
So the hard left deconstructs the Democrats, eases old Bernie Sanders out to some apple orchard where he can sit in a chair with a warm blanket on his legs, and exiles the old Clinton establishment centrists to some desert island. Meanwhile, Trump plays his own game. He was sent to Washington by angry and disaffected voters of middle-America to impose economic nationalism and dismantle the corrupt old establishment.
That establishment on the Republican side is the old big-government GOP war party led by Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham.
Trump promised to dismantle it, and that’s what he’s doing. And that’s basically why McCain, Graham and the war party boys hate him so. They’ve joined the establishment media as allies against Trump.
Trump has installed his top aide, Steve Bannon, in the National Security Council. Critics see Bannon as Trump’s Rasputin; supporters see him as the disrupter who’ll attack the establishment. He will disrupt as long as Trump allows it.
Bannon has also famously accused journalists of being "the opposition party." Outraged, they bit down hard, as Bannon expected.
The tone of much of the news coverage on Trump, a mixture of hostility and loathing, crawls up from almost every news story and much of the commentary about him.
Trump doesn’t much care. He’s a Viking among the Wedgwood china, and he’s swinging his war hammer. He has his thumbs and his Twitter account – and a phone and a pen for executive orders – but he really doesn’t need the phone. Someone on the other end might tell him "no."
The problem for the republic in this Trump vs. "the media" fight is this:
With the American establishment collapsing under its own weight like some mad King George, attacked now by both the hard left and the nationalist right, there is one thing that is absolutely necessary:
The credibility of the media. But that credibility is lacking, isn’t it?
For decades, the establishment media has mostly listed to the left. That’s not in dispute. And in the last election, WikiLeaks’ releases from the Hillary Clinton campaign showed evidence of deep collusion between the Beltway establishment media and establishment Democrats.
The fiasco of Democratic broker and CNN contributor Donna Brazile feeding network debate questions to the Clintons has not really been resolved.
She’s been let go from the network, but viewers can’t help the feeling that the bosses there figured it’s time to move along and forget the past.
There were other cases as well of journalists running copy past Clinton campaign officials; and throughout all those WikiLeaks, there was the general sense of coziness between the media and Clinton against Trump.
When it became known, there were no heads put on spikes as an example for the people to see. The wound wasn’t cleansed. Instead, it was ignored and continued to fester.
And now, when legitimate media attention on the president is required and necessary, stories may be dismissed as mere partisan attacks.
That’s wrong but also dangerous and corrosive, especially now, in this time of breaking.
It is a time of great, accelerating change, socially, culturally and politically.
And it’s just begun.
John Kass is a columnist for the Chicago Tribune. His Twitter handle is @john_kass.