November 24, 2020

I LINKED THIS INTERVIEW YESTERDAY FOR TALK ABOUT COVID POLICY AND CLASS WAR, but it’s worth quoting this part, too, because it shows a lefty with more connection to reality than most:

I, too, have been shocked at the refusal to acknowledge Trump’s wins, many of which were actually really progressive. Thanks to his economy, the base pay of the lower 25% of wage earners rose by 4.5%, which is unprecedented in recent history (certainly, nothing like this happened under Clinton or Obama). He brought truly unprecedented unemployment to marginalized communities and gave millions and millions of dollars to HBCUs. He freed over 4,000 Black men from prison; men sent to prison because of Joe Biden’s crime bill, the irony of ironies. Had the Democrats not been so totally committed to their loathing of Trump, they could have gotten much more out of him. This is a man who will do literally anything to be praised on cable news.

There are a number of reasons the mainstream news media refused him that praise even for policies they should have applauded. For starters, the media realized in 2015 that hating on Trump was really, really good for business. TV ratings for CNN and MSNBC went through the roof. With Google Analytics and social media, you know exactly what stories are getting clicks, and the anti-Trump stuff did so well it literally saved the New York Times, which was struggling for its existence.

This is why Trump’s name appears so often in the Times — every 250 words or so, even in places like the Food section. It’s because of the Times’ digital media business model. Like Facebook, the Times is selling its readers’ emotions to advertisers—literally. Look up “Project Feels.” The more the reader feels, the more likely they are to click on an ad. And just the name Trump makes affluent liberals see red.

In other words, digital media met an affluent liberal audience desperate to be told that the people they looked down on were evil racists and that we live in a white supremacy. So the New York Times, Vox, MSNBC, and CNN gave them what they wanted. And media companies went from being broke to making bank.

All of this gets to your really smart point about the Democrats, who are supposed to be the party of the people. There was a time when Democrats represented labor, while the Republicans were all about the rich. We’ve seen a reversal of that under Trump. Trump’s economic agenda was protectionist in nature, and very much geared at the working class. (Like many Scandinavian countries, he coupled this with a big corporate tax cut early on.) Meanwhile the Democrats have doubled down on a thirty-year trajectory of going all in on college-educated voters. . . .

That’s how you end up with an MSNBC host worth $25 million looking down her nose at a person without a college degree and sneering, “You voted for Trump? You racist!” and feeling like a hero.

Yep. Flashback: Donald Trump is a symptom of a new kind of class warfare raging at home and abroad.

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