In the last week or so, both USA Today and the Atlantic magazine have broken with protocol to weigh in on the presidential election, either to say, "Don't vote for Trump" or "Vote for Clinton." Across the country, newspapers that have traditionally endorsed Republicans have endorsed Hillary Clinton because they see Donald Trump as a danger to the nation. There is a real sense of panic out there in media-land as the potential of a Trump presidency sinks in, making its final transition from bad joke to existential threat.
Republican and conservative fears are especially palpable now. Conservative talk radio host Charlie Sykes faced his side of the political battlements and discovered that there was a void there: "You look around and you see how much of the conservative media infrastructure buys into the post-factual, post-truth culture." It is a void that he understands that he himself helped to create. Sykes was one of the loudest on-air voices talking about fake "voter fraud" in 2008, something that became a rallying cry for people who ignore facts. Sykes is now retiring, perhaps to go work off some of his on-air sins for, as he said, "I am feeling, to a certain extent, that we are reaping the whirlwind at that. And I have to look in the mirror and ask myself, ‘To what extent did I contribute?'"
It's very easy to see how we got to this point where Donald Trump has become the nominee of the Republican Party and where, while he's falling behind further every day, there is still a possibility he can win. And the blame falls on so many of the voices of the right who are now waving their arms frantically, trying to tell the nation to get off the tracks before the Trump train runs them over.
We don't get here without the 25 years of right-wing demonization of Hillary Clinton. We don't get here without every fruitless investigation into something Clinton-related, all political retribution for Bill Clinton daring to be elected president and his wife daring to step out of the prescribed social role of First Lady. On NPR, the genuinely evil Michael Chertoff, who had various roles in the Bush II administration, said he was supporting Clinton this year. And while that is cause for alarm itself, here is what he said about how those investigations affected the safety of the country: "In looking back on that I realized that in the '90s we spent an enormous amount of time pursuing issues involving the Clintons' associations back in Arkansas in the '80s, Whitewater and other things, and we didn't spend nearly the same amount of time on what bin Laden was up to and others were up to in the region." This is the guy who led the probe into the Whitewater land deal, one of the earliest and longest-lasting fake Clinton scandals. He says that Clinton derangement syndrome diverted attention away from real threats.
Without those unending congressional and special prosecutor investigations, as close to a witch hunt as we've gotten in the last few decades, Hillary Clinton would be a respected former cabinet member and senator, not the icon for every bad thing happening around the world because of her innate vileness. And the complicity of the media, in an incredibly general sense, is a factor.
Every time a newspaper or magazine or news organization gave space to fan the flames of every false -gate or every outlandish accusation against Clinton, they were laying the foundation for Trump. Every time a story that started in right-wing media Siberia was picked up by an allegedly more respectable outlet, Trump was closer to rising out of the ooze to bring about a plague on our electoral system. Every time CNN or the New York Times interviewed someone about how terrible Hillary Clinton had hidden law firm documents or travel files, Trump was given form and energy. And every time the GOP or the media exploited ignorant people and pretended that their stupidity was wisdom, Trump lurched ever forward.
Trump doesn't exist as a candidate with a following of millions of people just because Republicans are terrible. He is here because of years and years of denigrating Clinton for illegitimate reasons. And now that there is an actual chance that he would be elected, those same politicians, pundits, and publications are attempting to mitigate their role as accomplices.
In other words, you can endorse Clinton all you want, however hard that is for you. But you just brought this on yourselves.