To call the massive media obsessed — eyes roaming crazily in all directions, mouths afoam with horror — would be an understatement. They fear that the sovereign voters, in their obvious dimwittedness, could put Donald Trump in the White House.
And so the words of abuse tumble forth. The New York Times is unable to take its corporate finger off the fire-alarm button. On Sunday, my favorite left-wing newspaper of record — to which I have, unaccountably perhaps, subscribed for three decades — cried aloud that Trump "could have" (legally, yes, but never mind that) avoided paying income tax for 18 years. Not that he "did," just that he "could have," in light of losses from what the Times helpfully characterized as "the financial wreckage he left behind in the 1990s through mismanagement" of various enterprises. Ah, the objectivity, the impartiality, the civic spirit of our journalistic eyes and ears — the media!
The great American commentariat, online and off, appears to have made up its own mind concerning the choice in November — and to have dedicated itself to making up everyone else's as well. This, through subjecting the Republican presidential candidate to the journalistic equivalent of a horsewhipping, followed by a trip to the city limits astride a rail.
One of the Times' blacksnake masters, columnist Charles Blow, obliged the curious as the current week began with the remarkable psychiatric diagnosis that Trump is a "puerile, sophomoric sniveler" and a "terroristic man-toddler." Also "a bit of a bigot," "a bully" and "fickle and spoiled and rotten." By the time the media has worked its will in this enlightened manner, Melania Trump will have filed for divorce and a public apology.
One thing you have to say for the "progressive" media's anti-Trump campaign: It takes the readers' and the viewers' minds off Hillary Clinton. That is important, as a deep examination of the lady's credentials could get voters worrying over how much liberty is likely to be left at the end of a Clinton term.
The respectable reasons for a Trump vote, obscured by the cracking of the horsewhip intended for Trump's hindquarters, center less on his opponent's strengths than on her weaknesses. Curiously, for a woman who has spent her life prepping to be the Great Something or Other, Clinton comes across as frail: lacking ideas and convictions of any importance to a country undergoing changes likely to alter its basic character. Her pitiable attempts to humanize herself as a grandmother and good neighbor show that her main interest in life is your vote. Gaining it, she'll figure out what next to do.
Bernie Sanders — a conviction politician of non-Clinton-esque dimensions — pulled Clinton sharply leftward during the primaries, and we saw how little anguish the journey occasioned her. She wasn't giving up anything major, like prudence with taxpayers' money. She was gaining votes. That was what counted. Free college? A sharply higher minimum wage? Sanders shoved in the chips; Clinton called him. She could raise him on the next hand; it's still, after all, more than a month till the election.
About the last thing America needs right now, besides another four years of Barack Obama — that prospect being, fortunately, off the table — is a president grateful to the left, malleable by the left, willing to let the left drive the American agenda: on Obamacare, on tax policy, on Supreme Court appointments, on military strength, on Middle Eastern policy, on the racial impasse on policing techniques, on educational standards, on the enduring moral norms of Christian and Jewish civilization.
What's the heart of Clintonism? One shouldn't search for it amid the tangle and clutter of campaign happy talk. Clinton agrees heartily with the media as to Trump's "unfitness" for the presidency, and why shouldn't she? Keep all eyes on the personal attributes of the opposition and you're spared the necessity of discussing traits and convictions you've shown no evidence of possessing — that is, beyond the conviction that real power and acclaim are near enough to smell. And if the media smells it, too, and resents your opponent's ham-handed attempts to thwart your brilliant quest — well, that's politics, right?
William Murchison's latest book is "The Cost of Liberty: The Life of John Dickinson." To find out more about William Murchison, and to see features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.