If you want to understand politics, don’t watch the news. You would be far better off watching combat sports. Watch how Vince McMahon, Floyd Mayweather, and Dana White sell their fights. The best fights, the fights that headline pay-per-view events, come with big stars who have backstories that can excite fans. We can feel for one fighter or the other, and want to see the other lose. Mayweather vs. McGregor was a good example. Austin vs. McMahon was another. Muhammad Ali was inspired by the wrestler Gorgeous George to adopt a villainous persona. Why am I telling you this?
I’ve often seen people claim that the establishment still fears Donald Trump so much they’re still trying to indict him and are using the January 6th hearings as theater against him. While the latter part is true, we should still ask ourselves: are the 2022 hearings and criminal investigations being done out of fear or hate? If you subscribe to the politics-as-fight-promotion filter, you would answer decidedly in favor of the latter. Democrats are now promoting Donald Trump, rather than trying to head him off out of fear. Let’s look at how we got here.
When he was unexpectedly elected in 2016, it did indeed send legitimate fear down the spines of the establishment. Batches of leaked DNC emails from Wikileaks in that election showed that the Hilary Clinton campaign promoted Donald Trump because it thought he would be the easiest Republican to beat. Those emails at least partially explain the favorable media coverage he got at corporate outlets (but not the volume of total coverage) in the primaries. Since Hilary Clinton was an uninspiring hero, to say the least, Democrats needed to promote her as a desperate hope, and to do that, she needed to face off against the biggest villain they could find in the main event on the card.
Of course, we all know how that turned out (and some of us knew how it would turn out at the time). It turned out that fire-breathing badass and pro-America Donald Trump was the hero to the voters who mattered and that they would rather see the corrupt establishment failure Hilary Clinton get beaten instead. It was something of an evolution on the people’s billionaire character he showed at WrestleMania 23.
This rejection by the electorate and the new President’s mercurial nature did indeed terrify them, to the point that the establishment turned the Russia hoax from a promotional tactic for the campaign into the biggest scandal in the history of American politics. They feared what he would do without that handicap on his administration.
Yet, in 2017, you could notice that fear gradually waning and turning to confidence. Did you notice it at the time? From the spring of 2017 onward, they were slowly getting bolder, as Donald Trump hired people who undermined him and seemed to lack discipline. He was in fact governing too timidly, while Robert Mueller and the “intelligence community” acted as an outside forces to hobble him.
By 2018, Democrats were much more confident and began to promote Trump hatred as their main selling point. The idea was to polarize Trump as the ultimate bad guy, make it socially unacceptable to like him, and make everything a referendum on him. That had always been the case of course, but the raw fear was gone.
Some of the hatred was genuinely deranged, but it was also a clever promotional tactic, particularly because Donald Trump lent so easily to confirmation bias for it. It wouldn’t have been enough without covid and its consequences, mind you, but once covid hit and Donald Trump lost his primary strength in the good economy, the dynamic proved fatal. The Democratic strategy and Trump’s response to it got just enough white men to vote against him to cost him the election.
The Brandon Presidency
In 2020, Democrats promoted Brandon as the kindly, non-threatening grandpa who would restore normalcy. Even his dementia was part of the act. I didn’t pick up on it at the time, but it was not just a feature that made him amenable to control by his woke puppetmasters. His dementia was a logical concern, but on an emotional level, it added a layer to the non-threatening grandpa gimmick. You probably wouldn’t put your senile grandpa in charge of something and you might be surprised by his sudden bursts of anger, but rarely are you afraid of him. Since the brain seeks patterns and makes decisions through comparison and contrast, the non-threatening grandpa gimmick was, at least to the people that mattered, superior to the directionless and impotent blowhard that Donald Trump had become in the wake of covid and its social aftereffects.
Yet, much like the fire-breathing badass gimmick, the non-threatening grandpa gimmick was good as a challenger, but less good as a champion (in Brandon’s case, much worse). The Brandon regime is an utter and still-growing disaster and Democrats know it. Trump’s defeat proved a Pyrrhic victory for Democrats and might well lead to long-term strategic catastrophe for the party.
They have one and only one option: get Donald Trump into the main event on the 2024 card. They need to promote him as the bad guy again. If they can’t get Americans to cheer for their champion, they can at least make him the hero by default against a villainous character most Americans don’t like.
This is the purpose of the January 6 hearings and the other criminal investigations. Smarter Democrats know that these investigations won’t see Donald Trump charged. Perhaps they hoped for it once, but know it’s not going to happen now. However, the theater is still useful. It elevates Trump in attention and importance, and because what’s focal is presumed causal, they can make him seem like the cause of lawless behavior and chaos just because of his elevation in consciousness in association with riots and criminality. Read Robert Cialdini’s Pre-Suasion for an entire chapter on this.
In simpler terms, the January 6 hearings and other investigations are a promotional tactic. They keep their preferred opponent elevated in consciousness. They add to his backstory as a villainous character. They use psychological warfare on him and his supporters by encouraging him to run to get revenge. They rile up their own base to keep the hate going, and with it, support and fundraising.
The hearings are a giant promo, nothing more. They are not being done out of fear, but out of hatred and calculation.
When you’re in politics, you’re promoting fights, from local fighters all the way up to the world title level. Because Brandon has failed so badly, the Democratic camp knows that the only way they can feasibly win in 2024, barring a miraculous comeback, is to have a washed-up Donald Trump for their fighter (whoever it is) to play off of. Hence, they are promoting him and hatred of him. Their actions are not a sign of fear.
Naturally, the answer is for Republicans to put another fighter in the world title match instead, and we all know who the best one would be. He will headline the card in 2022, and when he easily defends his midcard/regional title, I suspect his victory speech will be a look-ahead, a “subtle” announcement that he’s coming for the world title.
The question is: will the Republican Party be smart enough to avoid sending Democrats the fighter they want to face?
Character determines fate. For much more on this truth, see how it has worked in practice over 5,000 years.
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