Writing for the Washington Post on Thursday, columnist Greg Sargent broke down President Donald Trump's viral video attacking Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) — and how it reveals the simple message at the core of Trump's propaganda to keep the GOP in line.
"If you want to see how Trump’s propagandists will continue enforcing the cult of loyalty to Trump, watch the viral video that Trump tweeted on Wednesday night. It’s a remarkable statement that exposes Trumpism’s ugly core," wrote Sargent. "Many attacks on Romney have been built on the simple premise that Romney is a loser, and Trump is a winner. As the White House press secretary suggested, Romney, who gave a powerful speech explaining his vote to convict Trump for abuse of power, was driven by bitterness, as a 'failed Republican presidential candidate.'"
In particular, Sargent noted, the video contrasted Romney's failure to win the Midwest with Trump's shattering of the "Blue Wall." And the messaging went even deeper than that.
"Trump campaigned heavily on the idea that the Obama presidency was a form of national humiliation," wrote Sargent. "Everything was about how 'we' are 'losing' on every front — we’re getting ripped off by other countries; immigrants are scamming their way in to steal Americans’ jobs; the industrial Midwestern and Appalachian heartlands are graveyards of carnage."
In short, Sargent wrote, "Trump won the GOP primary in part because he campaigned on the idea that Obama himself was humiliating the country by occupying the Oval Office as an impostor, the central subplot of the 'birther' conspiracy that Trump promoted for years ... Romney lost to Obama. Trump redeemed this humiliation. Are you with the team that made you feel like a loser, or like a winner?"
"Beyond this message, though, is the larger one that the treatment of Romney sends: It telegraphs what awaits any Republicans who get queasy about any future revelations of Trump’s misconduct," wrote Sargent. "And there will be more such revelations."
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