The Democrats’ Ace in the Hole

The Democrats’ Ace in the Hole
Former President Donald Trump speaks at the Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Fla., on Nov. 15, 2022. (Alon Skuy/AFP via Getty Images)
David Solway
It should be obvious by this time that the Democrats’ greatest fear isn't Ron DeSantis or any other Republican presidential contender, but Donald Trump and the prospect of his re-election as president of the United States, which they feel must be prevented at any cost. Trump is a formidable opponent who has been there before and knows how to duke it out. He's clearly the Democrats’ worst nightmare.
Washington isn't Florida, where the incumbent governor enjoys an advantage in a relatively safe political environment, and whose reaction or non-reaction to matters such as the Mar-a-Lago raid or the Jan. 6 kangaroo trial, among other disturbing events, seems meant to avoid controversy. Washington is a cage match in which the referee is also part of the fray. Even as we speak, the Democrats are appointing a special counsel to probe Trump’s handling of presidential records, though former presidents who have taken such material with them have not been investigated.
“The naming of a special counsel,” writes Victoria Taft on PJ Media, “will also be used to affect the 2024 election results.” Why would an intervention of this nature be necessary unless the Dems regard Trump as especially hazardous to their fortunes? They would, I suspect, prefer DeSantis or Mike Pence or any of the assorted non-Trumpers, who they likely presume would make weaker prey.
Democrats surely believe they have the tools, or the weapons, to defeat any opponent in a presidential contest—except perhaps Trump. Those conservatives who aren't aware of the state of play seem to have succumbed to the ceaseless assault of the media on Trump’s competence, judgment, and personality, often repeating Democrat talking points and thus shoring up the left’s narrative. On this issue there isn't much sunlight between skeptical Republicans and staple Democrats. Simple logic declares that the force your adversary is most afraid of is the force you should be considering an ally.
As Lauren Farrell writes in American Greatness, “No one should forget that Trump resuscitated a dying party. He gave it a future.”
The strategy that the opposition has pursued to eliminate Trump from the political scene cannot be justified, extenuated, disavowed, or plausibly denied. They will do anything they can to achieve their aim. There's no other way to explain the relentless six-year barrage of obloquy and disinformation waged against his character, his policies, and his tenure in the White House—the lies, the fraudulent investigations, the collusion narrative, the raid of his home on the most spurious of pretexts, the weaponization of federal agencies against his reputation, his integrity, and his privacy. We have seen the alleged 2,000 mules busily at work in the dead of night. We have noted the suspicious delays in the counting and delivery of ballots and the temporary shutdown of voting stations at critical moments. We have observed the fictions, slanders, and censorship practices of the digital platforms, including the profusion of bogus and dissembling Internet “fact-checks” issued by the usual suspects. But Trump remains undaunted.

Consequently, there appears to be another tactic in play that may not be apparent, although we can see its repercussions everywhere around us. And that tactic is to sow discord and division in the ranks of conservative and Republican voters. If nothing else succeeds, what better way, finally, to impede and possibly destroy Trump’s candidacy than by turning his very supporters and potential voters against him via the veritable saturation of the airwaves and print media with so-called news and “expert” opinion? If we aren't alert, we are all susceptible to this form of mind infection. It becomes the air we breathe without our being conscious that the air is invisibly contaminated.

German philosopher Peter Sloterdijk explains in "Terror from the Air" that we now live in an era of background “explication,” preoccupied with “latency” and subject to the irruption of the invisible into our lives. “Modern nation states and political media-commentaries” are fixated on a “historically new kind of conversation,” an audience breathing “the ether of the collective.” We inhale, he says, the “toxic communions” that permeate the atmosphere. Sloterdijk describes this effect as “climatological briefing.” Individuals are thus mustered into “an audience of connoisseurs under a common sky,” absorbing a pervasive distillate of ostensible information they come to regard as their own product. They are liable, as Sloterdijk suggests, to have been unwittingly co-opted into a common set of beliefs.
Similarly, social thinker John Fekete in "Moral Panic" frames the issue as the almost intangible fallout from what he calls a “corrupt continuum,” its elements linked by “the force of an underlying structure” and issuing in a system of moral and intellectual indoctrination. “The corruption of the continuum is systemic,” he writes. Political and cultural ideas may become alien and delinquent even though we may consider them as honorably derived and readily take ownership of them. Anti-Trump sentiment is now part of the ideological climate of opinion in which we are all immersed and which many cannot resist.
One can’t help remarking how ubiquitous this condition has become, even among conservative loyalists. It's a strange phenomenon. Their judgments are presumably arrived at independently, yet at the same time and as often as not, they may have also been subtly influenced and choreographed. Although Robert Epstein, writing in The Epoch Times, doesn't regard ballot stuffing as serious a problem as digital vote shifting, the fact remains: “The chances are good that you’re being manipulated—yet again.”
We see the results: conservatives who condemn Trump for his egotism or self-aggrandizement despite his overall impressive and embattled record; who regard him as a liability, as does, significantly, Paul Ryan; who diminish his public standing though he has been their president and fought manfully for them against astronomical odds; who are ready to accept the Democrat bogeyman argument; and who engage in polemical and often defamatory battle with other conservatives who regard Trump’s combativeness and patriotism as precisely what's needed to set the nation back on the right track.

Farrell reasonably points out that “Without Trump at the helm for the last two years, the RINOs have regained much of the momentum they lost and they, like the Democrats, cannot stand the thought of another four years under Trump.”

Of course, there are doubtlessly special interests, privileges, and rewards involved in the intricacies of the power game among the elites, but an anti-Trump consensus has evolved in the larger non-political or “unofficial” class of conservative commentators and ordinary voters, and this, in my estimation, is extremely worrying.

Democrats have largely succeeded in fracturing Republican unanimity, such as it was, and many of Trump’s conservative detractors don't realize the degree to which, as Epstein says, they have been manipulated. Since many were initially jaundiced about Trump, the task was made all the easier. From their perspective, it’s anyone but Trump—which is also the Democrat perspective. The rapprochement between anti-Trump Republicans and anti-Trump Democrats is truly astonishing.

The opening of a schism or the widening of a pre-existent rift in always precarious Republican harmony of purpose and conservative solidarity is perhaps the most brilliant Democrat tactic of all. The irony is exquisite.

Views expressed in this article are opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.
David Solway is a Canadian essayist and political commentator. His latest book is “Notes from a Derelict Culture.”
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