Okay, so I’m writing a Trump post. How original. But bear with me for a moment, because I had a crazy idea last week that has sounded less crazy in my head the more I’ve let it simmer.
The last couple of weeks have seen the addition of two eyebrow-raising figures to Trump’s inner circle. Roger Ailes, the former founder, chairman, and CEO of Fox News, joined Trump as an “advisor”, and no one can seem to figure out what the hell he’s supposed to be “advising” for Baby Hands. Then, Stephen K. Bannon, the chairman of Breitbart News, was appointed as the chief executive of Trump’s presidential campaign.
These alliances aren’t really surprising on their surface. Fox News jumped on the Trumpwagon as soon as it realized that Cruz just wasn’t quite sensationalist enough for its brand, and Breitbart is what Fox News would be after a two-month coke binge followed by a one-month molly bender, just to take the edge off. Both have leveraged Trump’s celebrity to push ad revenue (along with CNN, NBC, and every other news outlet), and Trump has leveraged them to incite his mostly white, mostly male, mostly bigoted, mostly paranoid support base into a fever pitch of borderline American Fascism.
So why are these appointments important or at all relevant beyond Trump’s ongoing media frenzy? Because Trump now has two people at his side who know how to communicate his firebrand rhetoric and disseminate it to an audience that has already bought in. His campaign has done nothing to bring more sectors of society to their side, and it’s becoming increasingly clear that they never intended to. Trump is turning his presidential campaign into a media conglomerate, and he has already found his audience.
If you’re not familiar with Breitbart, go to their site and just read some of the headlines (not for the feint of heart). Fox News is your kind of weird friend who casually drops that “he just doesn’t trust most Muslims” at parties. Breitbart is that kid you knew in high school who has since left his job to build a plywood “bunker” in their backyard and yell at his neighbors to stay off his part of the sidewalk through a bullhorn.
Now just imagine that kid with the funding of a billionaire. Even if Trump loses the election (more on this in a second), just imagine what this right-wing machine will do to try to unravel everything Clinton tries to accomplish during her first term. Remember the birther saga? That was just the tip of the iceberg.
To take this about a thousand steps further, I’ve never been convinced that being President of the United States was Trump’s primary goal. He doesn’t want to bury himself in policy and diplomatic issues like any normal president would. He doesn’t even want to help his country unless that means simultaneously helping probably numerous offshore bank accounts. Trump wants to be the most powerful person in the world.
And what’s the best way to be the most powerful person in the world without all of the annoying criticism that comes with it? Why, you create your own state media apparatus, of course! If Trump were to become president, his inflammatory word-vomit would not stop, as some of his milder supporters like to whisper to the darkness before they slip back into their brainwash-pods. With a renowned media guru in his ear and wielding a far-right, conspiracy theorist network in his spider-monkey hand, Trump would have the means and the knowledge to create any Truth he wanted. One small step for Brand Trump, one giant leap for right-wing demagoguery.
And don’t think that losing this election will stop TrumpBart Media from continuing its anti-non-white-male-America crusade. This is Trump’s back-up plan. Because even if he’s not the leader of a soon-to-be-unfree world, he would at least be the money train behind an entirely new media monster, one that would make Hannity’s Fox News look like the “fair and balanced” talk show they claim to be.
Trump may (and likely will… please say he will) lose the election, but he will not fade away into post-fame oblivion. He’s here to stay, and we’re going to be forced to listen.