The independent student news site of San Marcos, California

The Cougar Chronicle

The independent student news site of San Marcos, California

The Cougar Chronicle

The independent student news site of San Marcos, California

The Cougar Chronicle

The Elephant in the GOP

Photo by Mario Tama / Getty Images
Photo by Mario Tama / Getty Images

Mainstream media’s portrayal of the upcoming 2024 presidential election is seriously flawed. Right now, there is a dire need for the press to stop covering the election like business-as-usual. 

Democratic backsliding is not contingent upon Trump’s reelection. Fascism has already spread throughout the Republican Party, and now is the time to form a popular front to protect democracy. 

In the face of this grave, fascist threat, mainstream media is not giving proper emphasis on how Trump—who still denies the legitimacy of the 2020 election results—will surely try to take power by force if he loses his November reelection bid or is sentenced to prison. The media are instead overly concerned with the return of an all but certain Trump-Biden rematch. 

We need to stop acting like an eruption of political violence is contingent upon anything other than Trump’s say-so. If Trump is not reelected by long-established, democratic means, he will do anything he can to take power by force. 

In addition to Trump’s grassroots support, most Republican politicians will fall in line behind Trump if he is chosen as the party’s candidate. If the Republican Party accepts Trump as their candidate for the upcoming election, there should be little debate: the Republican Party must definitively be referred to as America’s fascist party for supporting a candidate who will undoubtedly refuse to accept any loss. 

Despite this, mainstream political discourse is centered around Republican primaries and election polling. As a result, the media is completely underrepresenting the fact that most Trump supporters only have a thin allegiance to the Republican Party. Their allegiance is to Trump, not the party he runs with. Yet centuries of an effectively two-party political system—one that fuels hyperpartisanship in our political discourse—has ensured that most of our news coverage is so caught up in rampant bothsidesism that we have reached the point where a far-right conservative like Nikki Haley—who recently said the U.S. has “never been a racist country“—is presented as the more reasonable alternative to Trump for the Republican Party. (She also pledged to endorse Trump if she drops from the presidential race, thus expressing fascist sympathies.) 

So instead of focusing all our attention on who may or may not be elected president in November, we should ask why it is that the mainstream media is focusing most of its 2024 election coverage on Republican primaries and polling results, even though we face the genuine threat of a democratic collapse regardless of Trump’s possible reelection. 

If we are to be prepared for what may come, news coverage must stop framing Trump’s reelection campaign in a cautiously optimistic way. Election win or not, most of the Republican Party will back Trump to the Oval Office if he is their 2024 candidate. 

The media must be more honest about the real threat Trump poses to democracy outside of our political system. If the media fails to inform Americans about future trials we face properly, people will be ill-equipped to respond to democratic backsliding. 

Now is not the time for the media to encourage anti-Trump voters to just hope for the best in November. Now is the time for the media and political pundits to encourage the formation of a broad, anti-Trump coalition at a grassroots level. 

So, if the mainstream media believes a free press is vital to a functioning democracy, it should be doing everything in its power to inform the public of the dangers of American fascism and, more importantly, encourage people to organize against it. 

Now is not the time for a false balance in news coverage. 

The Republican Party is far from what it was under Reagan or Bush. Long gone are the days of neoliberalism and neoconservatism. This new party is filled to the brim with fascists and fascist sympathizers. 

For those who believe in freedom, justice, and democracy for all, we must stand in solidarity against the rising tide of American fascism and resist the democratic backsliding taking place in our country and around the world. The media must do its part in this effort. 

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