The media has made much in the last day or two about the allegation that Trump warned Republican Senators, who serve as the jury in the impeachment trial, that if they did not vote to acquit him, their heads would ‘be on a pike’. Like the elitist snowflakes they are, the media clutched their pearls and moaned about the outrage of it all. President Bad Man used naughty words again! Such a scandal!
Pipe down you increasingly irrelevant relics of a bygone era! In no conceivable way were Trump’s words a real, physical threat! To interpret his words as anything other than a metaphor for ending the political careers of those Senators who did not vote to acquit him is to be intentionally ignorant on partisan grounds! There is no reason or excuse for this. People talk in metaphor and analogy all the time, and for you not to see that borders on the ridiculous.
Hidden Message: How to Play Politics
Trump is, whether the media chooses to acknowledge it or not, playing hard and smart politics. He is immensely popular with the Republican base, and he is using that to his political advantage. If he supports a primary challenger to a sitting Senator, the incumbent would, in all likelihood, be turfed out. Trump’s popularity with the GOP base is such that if he so much as tweeted about a Senator who dared to vote their conscience rather than serving him, they would not be long for this political world. This is what Trump meant when he said that their heads would be on pikes. They went against an extremely popular President, a politically dangerous thing in a democracy. The fact that it is Orange Man doing this (and his motives – to save his own skin) is irrelevant: it is still hardball politics and smart politics. The President is counting on these shameless political hacks valuing their poxy political careers over following the much-idolised Constitution.
Watch and Learn: The Lesson for the Democrats
There is a lesson in this for the Democrats. A popular President can use his popularity to achieve political goals. Now Trump is using it for self-serving political ends, but the principle still stands. A President who is popular with the base can use this to convince Congresspeople and Senators to fall in line. Consider Medicare4All, for some reason a contentious issue. The so-called Blue Dog Democrats (Blue politicians from Red States) were the votes that turned Obamacare into the right-wing trash it ended up being. What Obama should have done, and what I encourage America’s Dad Bernard Sanders to do if he wins, was say
Nice political career you got there – shame if anything were to happen to it. I am immensely popular with the base. You were elected as a Democrat. Start voting like one. If you do not support my agenda, I will go to your state (or district) during the midterms and campaign for a primary challenger against you. How about that?
This is how you play politics. This is how you use the political capital that comes with popularity fresh off an election. You hit your opponents where it hurts by threatening their political careers and all the perks that go with them. This need not only apply to corporate Democrats. Many Republican voters support Dad’s agenda too even if their corporate streetwalker politicians do not. Presidential support for a Democratic primary challenger to an incumbent Republican politician could also work.
Advice to Dad: Observe and Take Notes
Senator Sanders, I encourage you to play hard politics like this if you are elected. As a life-long independent you are not beholden to either member of the corrupt duopoly, even if you must temporarily assume the label of one of them to run. Your independence works in your favour, Sir. You are able to play hard politics against both sides, strong-arming these corrupt corporate sellouts to do the bidding of the people if they will not do so voluntarily.
Now, such an approach to politics would, of course, generate no end of pearl-clutching outrage as the media reared up to defend the corporate structure. The solution is to attack them too if necessary. You are anti-corruption, Sir. It extends to the media as well. The symbiosis that characterises the relationship between politicians and the media is something you can use to your advantage. You (would) have the Bully Pulpit – use it. YouTube, Twitter and other non-traditional media can be, as Trump made them, your forum to communicate with the electorate directly. Legacy media is just that: a brat who insists on sitting at the adults’ table because their family has been around for a long time. Unearned, privileged access to the halls of power by virtue of their sheer awesomeness. That is what legacy means, certainly in the academic world (consider a Harvard Legacy with terrible grades but who gets in because their father went there), and the media is no different.
Conclusion: Pikes, Politics and the Way Forward
The outrage of the media is fuel for the fire of a popular President. This is partly how Trump came to power originally. The media was so outraged at everything he did and he played them like a fiddle. Trump exposed how broken the media truly was. Granted it was in a ridiculous way with that clunker Fake News, best understood as anything unfavourable to him, but it worked.
Senator Sanders, you would be (and are) treated in the same way. Your response is to combat the endless barrage of nonsense by focusing on policy and not engaging them. To get around the endless propaganda and sensationalised crap, go to independent media. Do interviews with Secular Talk’s Kyle Kulinsky, TYT, Joe Rogan and others. Use your own platforms of Twitter and YouTube to break not only the media but the corrupt politicians also. Shame them with their votes. Tell their constituents about their Congresspeople’s votes against a popular agenda. You take their corruption and you break them with it! Put their political heads on the same pikes that Trump talked about and let the pathetic media rear up and defend the corrupt duopoly. Fighting against this approach will be the equivalent of fighting a fire with gasoline.
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