Stop the Ride and Let Me Off: 5 Takeaways from CNN's Disastrous Trump Town Hall
There's a reason you got that sinking feeling.
I felt ill.
It’s hard to admit that sometimes. After spending the last eight years absolutely swimming in the MAGA Movement, studying it to understand what made it tick, walking amongst its supporters, re-learning both American history and the sweep of weaponized white supremacy and religious lies in the modern world, all of it as a means of making sense of both what has happened and what continues to happen in these dangerous times, I am still not completely inoculated against this poison.
For the most part, over the past couple of years, following Donald Trump’s defeat in the 2020 Election, I’ve been able to keep the 45th president in the periphery of my vision, focusing instead on how he has enabled the Far Right to carry out their agenda while continually radicalizing his supporters and voters for worse and worse tactics. His “campaign” for re-election, up until Wednesday night, has largely been a grifting operation focused on dragging in the last drops of cash as Trump navigated one lawsuit and investigation after another. The concern, and more on this later, has been whether the GOP would be able to co-opt the MAGA Movement into an institutional apparatus with someone of their liking (say a certain Florida governor) at the top of the ticket.
Wednesday night’s regrettable affair effectively shook up the chessboard. And it was nauseating. Watching Trump mock the woman he has been found legally responsible for sexually abusing was something I should have expected but was still caught off-guard by, simply because a lack of exposure to him for these past couple of years allowed the callous to smooth. His connection to an audience that can only be described as disturbing was evident. And CNN’s push to air this thing at all, despite what we have seen take place over the past eight years, including a fascist slide, an attack on democracy itself, and a fresh judgment against Trump, made it all the worse.
What we watched was indisputably horrific, but what it represents is still to be decided. This could be a precursor to an election cycle that could drag the United States of America into the muck and mire even more than we have seen before. It could lead to violence and attacks on democracy the likes of which can still shock us. But it can also be a warning. And if we heed it, we might still avoid the brunt of the oncoming disaster. But warnings must be recognized, seen, and acted upon. And I want to believe we will do just that, but I have my doubts.
Here are the five takeaways I had following this debacle.
Heaven help us if we continue down this path.