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Clutch Your Pearls, This Isn’t The Last Trump ‘Bloodbath’

Donald Trump
Image CreditNewsmax

Things are only going to get crazier.


You don’t need to be a fan of Donald Trump to concede that this weekend’s meltdown over the word “bloodbath” was cynical and dishonest. And you don’t have to be Nostradamus to predict that we’re going to be inundated with a string of similar fabricated meltdowns this cycle.

It’s not just the obvious hackery or unseriousness from the media that’s the problem. No one trusts journalists anymore, anyway. Rather, like in 2020, it is also surely the case that we’re not going to see anything approaching a genuine presidential contest or debate. It’s going to be one insufferably stupid ginned-up controversy after the next. We’re living in an idiocracy.

And these events go down basically the same way every time: Trump throws some off-the-cuff populist red meat to a crowd. Sometimes his comments are worth criticizing. Sometimes they are misconstrued. Sometimes they are hyperbole. Most of the time, they’re predictable campaign fodder.

But some mendacious Ruparian social-media type will dishonestly clip a quote, and that quote will go viral. The media, rather than keeping the mob honest, run with it because reporters are largely incurious or propagandists or both, and they know well that Trump-is-a-Nazis content sells. If the Russia-collusion hoax taught us anything, it’s that there is no repercussion for being wrong about Republicans.

Then pundits sit on media panels incredulously “wow”-ing the quote and pondering when the MAGA Sturmabteilung will finally mass at the Mason Dixon.

“Trump says country faces ‘bloodbath’ if Biden wins in November,” reads the Politico headline, though numerous outlets framed the comment in the same way — which is to say, so stratospherically out of context, it amounts to a lie.

The New York Times, as often is the case, is probably the worst offender: “Trump says some migrants are ‘not people’ and predicts a ‘blood bath’ if he loses.” placing the migrant comment right next to “blood bath” creates the impression that Trump was promising violence toward “migrants.”

Here is the full context of Trump’s remarks:

Let me tell you something, to China, if you’re listening, President Xi … those big, monster car manufacturing plants that you’re building in Mexico right now, and you think you’re going to get that, you’re going to not hire Americans and you’re going to sell the cars to us?

No, we’re going to put a 100 percent tariff on every single car that comes across the line, and you’re not going to be able to sell those guys if I get elected. Now, if I don’t get elected, it’s going to be a bloodbath for the whole— That’s going to be the least of it. It’s going to be a bloodbath for the country. That’ll be the least of it. But they’re not going to sell those cars, they’re building massive factories.

A friend of mine, all he does is build car manufacturing plants. He’s the biggest in the world, I mean honestly, I joke about it, he can’t walk across the street — in that way he’s like Biden — but for building a plant, he can do the greatest plants in the world, right? That’s all he cares about.

Though I don’t much care for what Trump is saying, any good-faith reader can see there’s nothing in his sprawling rhetoric that suggests a call for violence. Trump, in fact, is suggesting that Biden’s policies will lead to “bloodbaths,” not that he will call for it. Watching the Sunday morning political shows, one might have been under the impression that Trump had threatened to march on Dupont Circle.

More specifically, Trump is talking about the automotive industry. He mentions cars before and after the “bloodbath” comment. Me, I’m all for more affordable imported cars, and I’m opposed to tariffs that hurt Americans more than help. But Trump is staking out a position that is well within the norm of American political rhetoric. It is a position that probably appeals to a majority of voters.

If Democrats had any kind of coherent message beyond blurting out “Jan. 6” every few minutes, they would argue about trade with Trump rather than concocting nonexistent threats.

On ABC, Susan Glasser claimed that the media had “inured to the extraordinary, remarkable, and very at times, un-American, and threatening things that the former President is saying.”

OK, then. Google the word “bloodbath” in conjunction with political coverage, and you will likely find tens of thousands of instances. There is nothing extraordinary or remarkable about it. Politicians, including Biden, have used the phrase. The phrase often describes blowouts in sports and layoffs in corporate America — as in, “Look at all the layoffs in news media, it’s a bloodbath.” Every publication that misled the public on Trump’s “bloodbath” comments over the weekend has used it metaphorically tons of times.

Even when forced to concede that the comment may have been taken out of context, the Trump-obsessed will rationalize treating words differently to suit their purpose. “It’s a classic trait and technique of authoritarian demagogues,” George Conway explained in a long thread. “He catastrophizes everything to rile up his cultish supporters, and to bind them to him, and to make them willing to do his bidding.”

Project much?

Politicians always catastrophize events. Modern Democrats, though, act like they are the last Jewish holdouts at Masada. Joe Biden gives angry prime-time speeches contending that one-party rule is the only way to preserve our liberties from the semi-fascists. The entirety of the Democrat Party’s message is predicated on scaremongering about apocalypses and fascism and the dystopian Handmaid’s Tale. Everything, from tax cuts to internet deregulation to limits on abortion to porn being “banned” in schools, becomes an existential threat to “democracy.”

Meanwhile, here in reality, the American left continues to corrode the constitutional order and norms to save “democracy.” The self-destruction of the media is merely one of the ways.

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