Atlantic Magazine Goes Full Coyote on Road Runner Trump

February 26th, 2024 9:51 AM

It is difficult to read former Newsweek reporter David Graham's "Trump the  Survivor" which was published in The Atlantic magazine on Sunday without conjuring up images of Wile E. Coyote in perpetual pursuit of the Road Runner, who always manages to evade doom. In fact, the subtitle of Graham's story just reinforces the image of Trump as the Road Runner: "He always manages to find a way."

You can almost feel Graham's Coyote level of frustration as his Road Runner Trump "always manages to find a way" over and over and over again to escape carefully planned doom. BEEP! BEEP! consumer of the mainstream press can miss that he is a liar and a racist, nor that courts have found him to have committed fraud and sexual abuse. Outlets large and small have done impressive work ferreting out his history of sexual harassment, financial chicanery, and poor decision-making. At some moments, it seemed like not a word could be spoken in the Oval Office without The New York Times or The Washington Post producing a scathing report within days. Nor can any reader or viewer have missed the fear and dislike of Trump that much of the press evinces. Nevertheless, Trump persists. He’s also used the negative coverage to deprecate the media and lower its impact among his supporters.


January 6 also resulted in Trump’s banishment from Twitter and Facebook. This was hailed in bien-pensant circles as well past due—an appropriate penalty for spreading misinformation and inciting violence, and one that would help shuffle Trump out of relevance. As with the journalism critiques, this sentiment may have been morally right, but the expectation that it would hurt Trump was unfounded. In fact, the bans may have helped him politically, becoming a rallying point for his supporters, who called them censorship. Moreover, his disappearance from mainstream platforms (and retreat to his own Truth Social) has made it easier to miss or tune out his eruptions, even as his rhetoric has become ever more authoritarian. (This effect also casts doubt on the idea that with less press coverage, Trump would fade.)


With all of these Trump-stoppers having failed, some people have attached their hopes to the courts to stop Trump. Trump is facing legal challenges on many fronts. He owes nearly $500 million total from civil judgment for defamation, sexual abuse, and fraud in New York State. A trial on falsifying business records in Manhattan is expected to begin next month. He has been indicted on felony charges in federal court and in Georgia connected to his election-subversion efforts, and on separate federal felony charges over alleged hoarding of classified documents.

Once again, these proceedings have been morally and legally appropriate, establishing that no one is beyond the reach of the law, even if he is a star. But the barrage of indictments has done nothing to hurt Trump politically. a turn that is astonishing but somewhat predictable, the cases against Trump have actually improved his political position, at least with Republican voters. He saw his poll numbers rise after his first felony indictment, in Manhattan.


A common thread that unites each of these failed tricks to sink Trump is how existing American institutions—the Republican Party, the press, congressional oversight, and the justice system—are ill-equipped to handle an authoritarian demagogue of Trump’s variety. That leaves the ballot as maybe the only thing that could stop Trump.

Notice how the Left always thinks "existing institutions are ill-equipped" when they don't accomplish the Left's objectives. They can't imagine that overwhelmingly nasty media bias and weaponizing the justice system create a backlash. Trump must be an "authoritarian" when he aggressively fights back and denounces "fake news" and fake justice. 

Wow! What a novel idea! Maybe the ultimate arbiter for choosing our leaders should be the (gasp!) ballot box.