Too close to call... but the media result is clear: It’s a hold for the rubes.

Whoever grabs the presidency, the press will have lost.


Donald Trump has played the media like a dog at a piano. He mashes the keys and the media tries to discern a tune. The Trump era has been one of intentional and unintentional chaos. Trump thrives in chaos and the media attempts to apply its usual narratives to his behaviour. It knows what it wants a president to look like and has spent four years with its hands thrown in the air whenever Trump looks like what he actually is — an authoritarian with the ambition to be a despot.

Liberals continue to cry about “the rules” while Trump upends the whole board. Just as Boris Johnson slid into office like a sweaty racist entering a sauna, Trump’s performance in the 2020 election has once again baffled establishment commentators and pollsters who still haven't got their heads around the notion of shy Trumpists — people who support Donald Trump but simply don’t want to say it out loud.

As I’m writing this newsletter — this very paragraph, in fact — the broadcasters are waiting for Trump to speak and ITV is filling the time with John Lydon deploying the Johnny Rotten sneer to advocate for Trump. In 1978, when he was still Johnny Rotten full time, Lydon ended Sex Pistols’ only US show at San Francisco’s Winterland by asking, “Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?” Now he celebrates the cheats.

Meanwhile in The Daily Telegraph, the former Labour candidate turned Tory Catholic agitator Tim Stanley writes of Donald Trump’s “moral victory”. Stanley who yesterday was apparently providing moral succour for the nation in the Thought For The Day slot on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme is indicative of a certain strain of right-wing politics and Christianity.

Trump, who notoriously had riot police clear the streets outside a church so he could brandish the Bible, and who has cheated on every woman he has ever been with, is the candidate for people like Stanley because of one thing — abortion. Stanley, a tweedy British Catholic, backs Trump for the same reason that the ranting American evangelicals do: He wants to remove reproductive rights.

If Trump wins — and I still think that’s likely through fair means or foul — the US and UK centrist media and the ponderous pollsters will be baffled about how it happened. It happened because the right-wing media threw themselves behind Trump but also because the centrists and centre-left obsessed over Russia rather than the issues affecting poor voters across the United States. It happened because the media has given figures like Nigel Farage, who as I write this is on TV denying the Donald Trump ever talked about injecting bleach because he didn’t say the precise word ‘bleach’, unfettered platforms over the past 10 years. Trump has been big business for CNN and other major networks; he has been box office and they have enabled that.

If Biden squeaks a win — and it will be a squeaked win — the centrist media will attempt to tell you that everything is back to ‘normal’ now as if the right-wing grifters dominate UK broadcasting and the militia-enabling agitators that have millions of listeners and viewers in the US are not going away. And a Biden presidency, promising a return to the status quo for the establishment, will only deliver another authoritarian strongman in four years time.

I’m sorry to say whoever wins, it’s not great news. Biden is the lesser of two evils, but there’ll still be plenty of evil to go around.

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