One of the most popular quotes bandied about by the talking heads is, “Supporters took Donald Trump seriously but not literally, while the media took him literally but not seriously.”
It’s not a bad encapsulation of the 2016 divide. But even though every reporter and pundit is aware of that saying, they still report on Trump’s comments like they would any other politician.
Here’s what that phrase really comes down to, and it’s what liberals simply can’t grasp: Trump supporters are IN ON THE JOKE. His critics walk around in a permanent state of confusion, like those people who ask wrestling fans: “You know it’s fake, right??” They stubbornly, willfully refuse to consider the possibility that THEY are the ones being fooled, not Trump’s supporters. They can’t consider it, because their entire worldview is built around knowing that conservatives are much, much dumber than they are. Millions of ignorant hillbillies who think every word from the mouth of Trump is the new American gospel.
That’s why they think there will be some kind of anti-Trump uprising if we get “some fencing” instead of a solid wall across the Mexican border. Or if we keep parts of Obamacare. Or if Trump doesn’t yank us out of NATO. They think that his voters will feel dejected and betrayed if Trump doesn’t become the first politician in world history to keep each and every campaign promise.
And it’s why they react with such horror when he makes comments like he did on Sunday.
“In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally,” Trump tweeted.
This launched a thousand newspaper headlines as reporters fell all over themselves to express shock at Trump’s “baseless claims” about widespread voter fraud. They gleefully noted the irony of the winner of an election claiming that the results were fraudulent. Liberals on social media said we should now have a 50-state recount, seeing as how the president-elect believes that millions of illegal votes were cast. Reporters disdainfully mocked Trump for getting his news from scam Twitter accounts and InfoWars.
How is it possible, after all this time, that these supposedly genius elitists still can’t figure Trump out? How can they fall into the shock/outrage trap so many times without noticing?
We can argue about whether or not Trump still needs to manipulate the news cycle now that he’s won the election, but let’s at least stop pretending that he doesn’t know what he’s doing.