CNN has created the perfect Trump campaign ad. When I say “perfect,” I mean flawless as the world’s most immaculate diamond; glistening, sparkling, blindingly impeccable. It’s that good.
During a Saturday segment, someone named Rick Wilson mocked the president’s “credulous Boomer rube demo” by breaking into a southern accent and wheezing, “Donald Trump’s the smart one, and y’all elitists are dumb!”
Like poor, sweet Michael Scott, someone named Wajahat Ali really wanted to be a part of the joke, chiming in with his own impression, “You elitists with your geography and your maps and your spelling!” (It’s so important to feel included.)
Abbott and Costello continued:
WILSON: Your math and your reading!
ALI: Yeah, your reading, you know, your geography, knowing other countries, sipping your latte!
WILSON: All those lines on the map!
ALI: Only them elitists know where Ukraine is!
Rather than pushing back in the interest of balance, CNN “anchor” Don Lemon found this, the comedic equivalent of a joke on the wrapper of a Laffy Taffy, so funny that he struggled to catch his breath, giggling like, well, a rube.
The Trump campaign could literally just slap their logo on this clip, run the full pathetic display in swing states from now until November, and have an extremely effective reelection ad. But to Wilson and Ali and Lemon, it’s far more important to engage in self-satisfied mockery than advance any cause other than the cause of feeling cute on cable.
Consider this Trump meme, which many in the media didn’t seem to understand back in December.
Then watch the clip from Saturday.
America, this is what CNN thinks of you…
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) January 28, 2020
They proved his point perfectly.
Wilson and Ali took a predictable victory lap on Twitter, claiming they had “triggered” “snowflakes” and generated “fake outrage” from “hustlers.” The “fake” part of that is what will doom them, capturing their failure to understand that no Trump supporter needs conservative media to tell him to be outraged over that hackneyed performance. And why shouldn’t CNN’s classist insult porn outrage them? (By the way, the trio also appears to be operating under the very telling and very ignorant notion that Trump’s base is uniformly sycophantic.)
Few things induce more cringing than people reveling in their own bad jokes. This, perhaps, explains CNN’s ratings. But tempting as it is to let the clip make you angry, I submit that it’s far more constructive to laugh at it.
Sure, it’s infuriating to watch actual elites, perched on their primetime thrones, callously mock “rubes” over their distaste for the political class that has legitimately failed them many times over. It’s infuriating because it’s a mean stereotype that describes very few people. It’s infuriating because it reflects the same base-level divisiveness they claim to oppose from the president. It’s infuriating because the same people who peddled a conspiracy theory for years are still patronizing the skeptics. It’s infuriating because after half a decade of the Trump phenomenon they, the self-styled experts, should really know better.
But more than anything, it’s hilarious—and not for the reasons they want it to be. It’s funny because it’s just so mind-numbingly self-defeating. To borrow a phrase from Wilson, y’all elitists are dumb.