US Elections 2016: The Greatest Show on Earth
How Billions of Words, Tweets, Insults, and Polls Blot Out Reality in Campaign 2016
By Tom Engelhardt
You can blame Donald Trump for many things in this bizarre season of political theater, but don’t blame him for the phenomenon itself.
He may have been made for this moment with his uncanny knack for turning himself into a never-ending news cycle of one and scarfing up billions of dollars of free publicity, but he was a Johnny-come-lately to the process itself. After all, he wasn’t one of the Supreme Court justices who, in their 2010 Citizens United decision, green-lighted the flooding of American politics with the dollars of the ultra-wealthy in the name of free speech and in amounts that boggle the imagination (even as that same court has gone ever easier on the definition of political “corruption”).
As a certified tightwad, Trump wasn’t the one who made it possible to more or less directly purchase a range of politicians and so ensure that we would have our first 1% elections. Nor was he the one who made American politics a perfect arena for a rogue billionaire with enough money (and chutzpah) to buy himself.
It’s true that no political figure has ever had The Donald’s TV sense. Still, before he was even a gleam in his own presidential eye, the owners of cable news and other TV outlets had already grasped that an election season extending from here to Hell might morph into a cornucopia of profits. He wasn’t the one who realized that such an ever-expanding campaign season would not only bring in billions of dollars in political ads (thank you, again, Supreme Court for helping to loose super PACs on the world), but billions more from advertisers for prime spots in the ongoing spectacle itself.
Tomgram: Engelhardt, The Election From Hell – Posted by Tom Engelhardt