Guest column by Juan Bustillo, junior screenwriting and political science major
I’d love to meet the Massachusetts nurse who is more concerned about whether President Donald Trump uses condoms with porn stars than about how that nurse’s patients will afford their cancer treatments. Or the Iowa corn farmer who cares more about Trump congratulating Vladimir Putin on his re-election than about how Scott Pruitt’s anti-environment agenda will affect his harvest. Or the Alabama teacher who wants to know more about “Russiagate” than about how cuts to Title I programs will harm her low-income students.
If you turn on your TV, it would seem that the corporate media has already met these people. Mainstream news organizations like CNN and MSNBC seemingly produce sensationalist headlines for profit instead of accurate information. It appears that the media believes that attacking Trump means ranting about where his penis has been, who he’ll fire next and which one of Melania Trump’s facial expressions proves her disdain for him. It’s no surprise that these vapid arguments have bled into the vacuous anti-Trump movement that calls itself the “#Resistance.” This Twitter hashtag describes the corporate media, moderate Republicans and liberals who claim to be “anti-Trump.”
Though the movement’s intentions are noble, its critiques of the president are so ineffective and counterproductive that they could instead propel him to a second term by drawing attention away from truly important issues.
When the #Resistance ignores the critical policies that Trump is wrong about, they inadvertently condone them. One example is poverty. During the nine Democratic debates in 2016, there were 30 questions about the Islamic State or terrorism. There were zero on poverty – a blatant and purposeful disregard by the Democratic Party (which is a major component of the #Resistance) of an issue that affected more than 43 million Americans in 2016. Even worse, there has been little coverage of a recent United Nations investigation claiming that Alabama’s “Black Belt” faces levels of poverty that are among the worst seen in developed nations.
Another overlooked issue is Trump’s involvement in the genocide in Yemen. Corporate media outlets have hardly criticized his weapons sales to the fundamentalist monarchy of Saudi Arabia throughout his presidency, and they have completely ignored the fact that those weapons are used to facilitate the ongoing genocide in Yemen. Where’s the outrage?
Earlier this month, senior defense officials delayed a drone strike until the intended target left a house where his family was inside. The president’s response: “Why did you wait?” Let that sink in. His ongoing support for the intentional killing of innocent civilians, as advertised on his campaign trail, should be drilled into every voter’s head.
Then there’s the image rehabilitation of war criminals like former President George W. Bush, who now has high approval ratings and receives favorable coverage because he paints pictures of puppies and dislikes Trump. Trump has a long way to go before reaching Bush levels of appalling, but you wouldn’t know it by consuming #Resistance media.
There are instances in which the #Resistance is just plain wrong. One example is Trump’s perverted bombing of Damascus in response to chemical weapon attacks in Syria. He claims that Syrian President Bashar Assad is responsible, but the retaliation came before an independent investigation could verify the source of the chemical attack.
Instead of protesting the bombing of yet another country (Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia, Pakistan, Libya and Niger are the others), liberals like Fareed Zakaria praised him. Almost comically, the most prominent opponents to this latest round of strikes came from staunch Trump supporters Tucker Carlson and Tomi Lahren. In this case, both the #Resistance and Trump are dangerously wrong.
I doubt any Trump voter will watch CNN and magically abandon their support of the wall because they disapprove of a consensual affair Trump had 11 years ago. If the #Resistance is serious about preventing four more years of Trump, it must attack his policies. It must bring attention to the realities that American workers face every day. Stop talking about Stormy Daniels and “Russiagate.” Tell voters that Trump uses their tax dollars to aid and abet genocide instead of providing Alabama with basic sewage infrastructure. Hit Trump where it matters. Then maybe, just maybe, we can prevent another four years.