The Democrats are making a final push against Donald Trump, the culmination of their unrelenting efforts since 2016. But is their propaganda becoming so obvious that, rather than persuading voters, it finally opens their eyes to reality? The Soviet Union stands as an example of how “propaganda collapse” plays out and how that might happen here, too.
I went to college back in the 1980s, when Communism was still perceived by most Americans as a bad thing—although not one of my political philosophy professors. He proudly characterized himself as “Somewhere to the left of Lenin.” When professing his love and respect for the Soviets—but not enough to leave Florida and move to Moscow— he often tried to square the circle of their military prowess and the reports in American media about their economic failings.
Thus, he pointed out that the Soviets built rockets sending men into space, built weapon systems the Pentagon told us could obliterate the West, dominated Eastern Europe, and were the power behind the Vietnamese who defeated both the French and the Americans. Given all the Soviet’s demonstrated military and technological prowess, he asked, how was it even remotely possible that they could not build washing machines or cars on par with anything produced in the West? Given that they controlled one of the greatest breadbaskets in the world, Ukraine, how could it be true that there was rampant starvation?
The professor had a ready answer: The stories about the Soviet’s economic failures were lies—propaganda produced by the CIA and segments of the capitalist American media.
And it wasn’t just economics. It was politics as well. The Soviet Union had one of the most robust constitutions in the world, he insisted, with an array of guarantees that any citizen in the West would feel comfortable with: Freedom of speech, the press, right of assembly, worship etc. The gulags of Siberia were simply more Western propaganda.
Eventually the professor’s fiction about the communist nirvana could be sustained no longer, but by that time I had graduated and was stationed in West Germany. With the fall of the Berlin Wall, the reality of the desolation of the East started to become clear. Indeed, the juxtaposition of the abject economic failure of the East with the prosperity of the west put the lie to everything my communist championing professor and his favorite newspaper, the NY Times, had tried to drill into our heads for years.
The fall of the Berlin Wall wasn’t the end of communism, nor even the Soviet Union, which would stand for an additional two years. But when it comes to discussing the collapse of the Soviet Union and communism in Eastern Europe, that fall is the thing that most people remember.
I’d posit that we witnessed a similarly epoch-defining event recently: Donald Trump’s mugshot. There’s nothing extraordinary about the mugshot itself, but sometimes an image is much more than just the pixels it’s made up of. What this particular image really depicts is the culmination of eight years of lies and propaganda from Democrats and the Swamp. In one picture, Americans understand exactly what has been going on for the last eight years.
With that mugshot, even people who hate Donald Trump will recognize that America is evolving into a tyranny, like Venezuela with Chavez or Turkey with Erdogan, a place where laws don’t matter other than as tools to crush opponents. They see that the apparatus of the state is simply a vehicle for distributing power among your friends and punishing your enemies.
And in an echo of the 1930s, when Stalin was starving millions of Ukrainians to death and the New York Times was telling us fairy tales, today’s media are telling us that Trump is indeed a criminal, the charges are damning, and that Americans are finally coming to recognize him as one.
The difference is that it took half a century for the truth about the evil of the Soviets to finally find the light of day, while the truth about the evil of the Democrats and their Swamp comrades has taken just a few years… Indeed, you could make the argument that it’s taken less than six months.
Trump’s first indictment, this past March, accuses him of using his own money, rather than donors’ money to pay hush money, suggesting that election law required him to use campaign contributions to keep hidden a sordid story about sex. His second indictment, in June, accuses him of mishandling documents, something every president has done, but no others were indicted for. (And, of course, Trump did not mishandle the documents.) His third indictment, on August 1st, was for attempting to overturn the 2020 election results, this after he’s on video telling his followers to “peacefully and patriotically” make their way to the Capitol. His last (so far) indictment was issued on August 14th, and accused him of seeking to interfere with the 2020 election by falsely claiming he wanted the Secretary of State to manufacture votes.
In less than six months, the Democrats have indicted Donald Trump four times, with the cases scheduled to run through at least the spring of 2024, right into the heart of primary season. Aside from the absurdity of the indictments themselves, this is easily the most blatant example of election interference the United States has ever seen. Indeed it’s so blatant that even a majority of Democrats who voted for Joe Biden in 2020 think it’s interference.
To make matters worse for Democrats, in his interview with Tucker Carlson, Trump looked and sounded as presidential as he ever has. While his outlandish personality serves him well at rallies filled with supporters, his presidential decorum, command of the facts, and his clear confidence while speaking with Tucker are exactly what appeals to those voters put off by doddering Joe Biden’s inability to put an intelligent thought into words or walk up a flight of stairs. While a good interview alone won’t get the job done, for those who are looking around wondering what the hell the Democrats are doing, it likely opens a door for him.
As with most things in life, timing is everything, and the Democrats may have hit the sweet spot…for Donald Trump. While Biden has been less than lucid for most of his presidency, today he more often looks like an escaped Alzheimer’s patient than he does a president. The longer Democrats allow Joe to run with the fiction that he is going to be on the ticket in November, the stronger the contrast becomes with the robust, energized, and cogent Trump. At the same time, every day seems to bring more proof to light that Biden is not only a liar, but he’s been on the take from America’s enemies for years.
Many Democrats would no doubt vote for a fence post so long as it was running against Donald Trump, but there are likely a significant number with functioning brains who recognize that regardless of how much they dislike Trump, he’s a far better choice than Joe Biden.
Of course, Democrats could ditch Biden for Harris, Newsom or, God forbid, Michelle Obama, but that doesn’t solve the problem they’ve created with the trials. Trump will be sitting in courtrooms during critical periods of the campaign, but that doesn’t mean he’ll lose support as a result. Indeed, just the opposite is likely to happen as he has countless surrogates who will use the fact that he couldn’t be there because of the Democrats’ treachery to excite a crowd and grow support.
In addition, the trials will offer daily opportunities to remind voters of the Democrats’ hypocrisy and mendacity as they manipulate the justice system to crucify Trump while the Bidens, Hillary, and virtually every swamp dweller gets off scot-free.
It would be the ultimate irony if the indictments that Democrats hoped to use to finally defeat Donald Trump were the vehicles through which America finally came to see their mendacity and propelled their worst nightmare back into office.