Donald Trump managed to ride through the Republican primary and the early stages of the general election on a wave of audacity. He has cloaked his ignorance and ineptitude behind brash, anti-PC rhetoric with which he ignites the underlying fears and disaffections of his supporters. As one might expect from a celebrity business mogul, he is a hustler who is accustomed to controlling the conversation with a steady stream of lies, half-truths and obfuscation. Now, politicians do lie and certainly bend the truth in their favor, but it is tactically more strategic and sparse. After all, they do have a long-term career to think about. Trump randomly saturates his message with ‘bullshit’ in a manner more acceptable in big business, where, in the end, money will assuage indignation. The rise and success of Trump as a presidential candidate is due to many factors, many of which I’ve discussed in my blog, but his fall is going to result from the increased scrutiny that naturally occurs in the last weeks of an election.
Transparency has been a hot topic this week in the media, though, when it comes to Hillary Clinton, it has been a hot topic for a long time. In response to wave after wave of conspiracies fueled by the echo chamber of conservative fake-news, the press have excavated her health, financials, political history and charitable works. The irony here is that the end result of this tacit distrust is not only a high-level of transparency, but a record cleared of any criminal corruption or wrong-doing. Meanwhile, the press has allowed Trump to go on about his business, utilizing his outrageous behavior as a source of entertainment news and high ratings. They have, openly and admittedly, mollycoddled him and his surrogates through interviews, giving a pass for his lies, ignorance, and lack of transparency. But, in the past few days, there has been a change.
As we move into the final stretch of the election, when more of the public will be paying avid attention, the press is starting to take a more serious approach to Trump. Articles have been published exposing his vast ties to foreign actors and the massive conflict of interest he would bring into office. The Trump Foundation has been exposed as an operation to bribe elected officials with other people’s money. Interviewers are pushing for real answers, evoking much surprise and stammering from Trump’s ill-prepared surrogates. Trump, himself, best demonstrates the fear he has of serious scrutiny when he suggested that the debates should not be moderated, because they will be ‘hard’ on him. His refusal to release tax returns, divorce records, or real medical records point to an inevitable end to his charade. He can’t shine people on forever. His site-unseen, buyer-beware approach is not going to fly for America’s highest office. The American public has needed the press to show them the truth about Donald Trump, and I believe they are finally ready to do that.