It’s a very common trick in the media these days to label someone you disagree with a racist. When British-Pakistani author Maajid Nawaz first coined the term “regressive left” he used it to describe people who try so hard to appear tolerant, that they themselves end up being intolerant; Nawaz, a former Islamist who spent several years with the Islamic extremist group Hizb ut-Tahrir, used the term to highlight people on the left who criticised his views on Islam as “bigoted”. Just keep this in mind for a second; a Muslim was being called an Islamophobe for criticising extremist Muslims.
“Regressive left” has since morphed into an actively used term by many left-wing journalists, activists and politicians who feel the left side of politics has been commandeered by aggressive authoritarians. Whether its former The Young Turks journalist Dave Rubin, Thomas Kirk, Carl Benjamin or June Nicole, many left-leaning public figures have criticised left-wing activists and slacktivists for overusing terms like bigot, racist, *insert thing here*-ophobe. The funny thing is these people are becoming increasingly popular to the point where they, along with right-wing commentators like Ben Shapiro (Conservative Jewish journalist), Milo Yiannopoulos (The flamboyant and openly gay Christian conservative), Christina Hoff Sommers (the prominent second-wave feminist who hates contemporary feminism) and Lauren Southern (Canadian Libertarian/Journalist) are leading a new movement of “Cultural Libertarians”. So one has to ask the question, why are people from two diametrically opposed political sides, teaming up? Well, because we’ve stopped using our brains and started letting catchphrases dominate the political discourse.
So far I haven’t mentioned Trump outside the title, so let’s bring him into it; Donald Trump is a terrible candidate, there’s no two ways about that. People talk about him being a successful businessman but the reality is he’s filed for bankruptcy four times, he’s almost entirely reliant on the business he inherited from his father and every venture he’s made on his own with the exception of “The Apprentice” has failed (Trump Vodka, Trump University, etc.) His illegal immigration policies are pathetic; the sheer cost of building a wall along the Southern US border and deporting over 11 million people would cost an exorbitant amount of money. Trump’s own estimate for the wall alone is $11 billion. Now an actual engineer and economist also estimated the cost of the wall (Source) and they’re saying it’s closer to $15-$25 billion dollars, now that’s just construction, that’s not including repairs and maintenance, that’s not including the cost of paying people to monitor the wall to ensure people aren’t digging through it or bringing really big ladders to climb it.
Now granted, that last part makes me envision a Lord of the Rings style battle were hundreds of Mexican people decked out in Uruk-Hai gear storm a scarcely defended US wall, there are also elves there for some reason. Sounds cool right? Still like Donald’s ideas this is a fantasy. Now that’s just the wall debunked, the other part is the mass deportation of the 11 million undocumented immigrants currently living in the US, even the most conservative estimates put the cost at approximately $400 billion over 20 year to deport 11 million undocumented people. I’ve just torn apart Trump’s immigration policy, it took me a paragraph to do it. For anyone reading this, this is how you beat Donald Trump. You beat him by pointing out the genuine flaws in his argument, I haven’t had to stoop to the level of calling him a racist or a bigot or any other catchy pejorative, I’ve simply done the responsible and adult thing; criticise his nonsensical policies.
This seems to be the problem people have when criticising Trump; criticising his policies actually requires learning, it requires research, you can’t criticise any political policies without actually going to the effort of reading and dissecting them. This is something people are unwilling to do, it’s something the media is unwilling to do. The funniest thing I have found regarding criticism of Donald Trump is this; the only two major media personalities that have actively debunked Trump’s economic views are Steven Crowder and Ben Shapiro. Steven Crowder and Ben Shapiro are two of the biggest conservative pundits/personalities you will find in the media today. Go listen to Crowder’s podcast “Louder with Crowder” you will find it loaded with pro-gun, anti-abortion and politically incorrect statements for the entire two hour duration. Type Ben Shapiro’s name into YouTube and you’ll be swamped with videos of him arguing against Feminism, the Black Lives Matter movement and a variety of other topics.
Read that back to yourself; the two biggest critics of Donald Trump’s actual political policies are hard line conservatives. Why is it that no one on the left side of politics is making an effort to criticise his impossible policies? I’m not even talking Sanders or Clinton, I’m talking in the newsroom why isn’t Cenk Uygur using The Young Turks network to challenge Trump’s policies? Instead I load up the latest newscasts from TYT and am hit with “who got the most lulz this debate”. What about the Guardian? Nope, the once credible news site that seems to have become the Tumblr of news just keeps posting articles about Trump being a secret KKK member and simultaneously writing of Bernie Sanders, the same way they keep writing off Jeremy Corbyn, as Hillary’s sidekick, CNN? Nope. MSNBC? Nope. The only major news organisation to actually go after Trump even slightly has been FOX news. Seriously…FOX, the conservative news network, the people who continue to pay money to Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity. The network that belongs to Rupert Murdoch is the network that has made an effort to criticise Donald Trump.
Does anyone else see the problem here? In the most recent GOP debate CNN’s top headline was “Trump defends penis size” (Source), not “Trump stutters like a blithering idiot as Cruz and Rubio challenge his policies”. Where has the real reporting gone? Why are we so content to sink to the lowest common denominator? Who gives a fuck about Trump’s dick size? It’s pathetic and it’s time people started asking for a better class of journalism. Some people are likely ready to defend this garbage, something along the lines “Well, you see Taylor you going to mainstream man, you gotta go to the independent news man, gotta check out the news outside the mainstream”, yeah I get it you dirty, dirty hippy. I’ve been on the ass-cancer of the internet you call BuzzFeed, it’s terrible too; “Comedian John Oliver makes fun of Trump”, “18 things Trump really said” (Source) , “Saturday Night Live makes fun of Trump”, am I starting to see a pattern here? Comedians are fine and Last Week Tonight might tread the line between news and entertainment but it still isn’t where you should look for serious commentary.
This is all part of a bigger problem facing society today; we don’t want to use our brains any more. Our attention spans can be measured in nanoseconds and the reality facing the world today is that people want everything broken down into tiny soundbites. If you’re on the right side of politics there’s a handful of words you want thrown at your opponents; “Political correctness gone mad, Socialist, Communist, Terrorist, Social Justice Warrior” and on the left it’s very much the same “Bigot, racist, Capitalist, bully, homophobe, islamophobe, transphobe”, we are a lazy society. We no longer wish to engage in debates, to engage in a discourse and discuss our ideas, to compromise and adjust our point of view. We simply want people to side with us and to silence all of those who don’t. Whether you sit right or left, you’re likely guilty of this same activity, it’s become our default reaction as a society. Take the European Refugee Crisis as an example, if one voices an opinion that could be even slightly perceived as anti-refugee they’re immediately called a bigot and a racist, I’m not kidding, go find a recent news post on Facebook about refugees and post these words “I’m not sure if Europe can afford this number of refugees” that’s literally all you have to post and watch as your notifications go wild with people calling you all sorts of names. By that same token, find a news article about refugees and say “I think we should help the refugees” and again your notifications will be flooded with hate and abuse.
You might be annoyed that I chucked up a picture of Trump as the main image for this post, but I promise I am getting back to him, my point regarding Trump is simple; Donald Trump may very well be a racist, I have no idea if he is or isn’t. I can’t make that call because so far he’s yet to say anything racist in his campaign, negative opinions towards illegal immigrants coming out of Mexico? Look, it might be a dick move and his rhetoric may be filled with inconsistencies but at best you could accuse him of Nationalistic hubris, racism? Not really. Is he an economic illiterate? Absolutely, the guy opened a mortgage company in 2006, I knew that was a bad idea back then and I was a 16 year old economics student in high school. This is thing I’m hoping people have picked up on at this point; Trump has plenty of stupid things you can criticise him for; his healthcare reform policy only just came out and it’s a copy & paste of other Republicans ideas that have been in the mix since at least 2012. His tax reform package is cobbled together from the other candidates already running. I’ve already torn his immigration policy to shreds and these are the things Trump needs to be criticised for.
When John Ellis Bush (JEB) called out Trump for having no idea what the Nuclear Triad was (Source), the media didn’t cover it at all, where were the headlines saying “Presidential hopeful doesn’t understand nuclear policy”? Instead I have to hear about Donald Trump failing to denounce an endorsement from the KKK fast enough (Source), who cares if the KKK endorse him? The KKK agreeing with someone doesn’t make the person inherently racist, it just confirms something we’ve known for nearly a hundred years; the Ku Klux Klan are a bunch of fucking morons, try not to be too shocked by that revelation. Yet, supposedly “balance” news groups like Salon had this to say: Salon: “Trump and David Duke; same person, different suit”
If you’re like me and you’re sick of the media rejecting its role as the fourth estate, the voice of the people in the political spectrum then maybe it’s time you did something about it, stop caving to their bait and shouting out monosyllabic epithets. You’re better than that, at least I hope you are. This article isn’t just about criticising Donald Trump, it’s about changing the way we talk about serious issues, if you want to stay in the never ending shouting matches about who’s a bigot and who’s a bleeding heart and who said this and who said that, be my guest, but don’t think that I’m going to let you get away with presenting yourself as an informed and intelligent individual when you refuse to back up anything you say with something beyond a catchy slogan, because that’s the sort of thing that Donald Trump would actually do.
Follow Taylor on twitter @YermolaevTaylor
For a full outline of Donald Trump’s political positions head over to: https://www.donaldjtrump.com/positions