You jerks! I said this was going to happen. I told you months ago that Donald Trump was going to be the Republican presidential nominee. I wrote about it in my column (a lot), I recorded podcasts about it, I serial-texted friends about it. I wouldn't shut up about it. For at least the first few months, when names like J.E.B. Bush and Ted Cruz still seemed like candidates the public might not completely hate, most of what I got in return, be it on the internet or in real life, was comments like these:
That last guy wasn't wrong.
The nomination wasn't the only thing I said would definitely happen, though, and a lot of those other things came to pass as well. So now I get comments like this:
Also not wrong.
I should probably follow that guy back. What an asshole I am. Anyway, we talk about some of the other things I got right on this week's Unpopular Opinion podcast ...
... where I'm joined by my Cracked co-workers Tom Reimann, Randall Maynard, and Josh Sargent. I'm going to take a slightly different direction with the column. Instead of dwelling on the details I got right, I want to talk about a few of the things I learned from accurately "predicting" the course of the Trump campaign.
#5. The "Media" Doesn't Read Anything
Right off the bat, the first thing to know is that, apparently, the media doesn't read shit. I didn't actually predict anything. I'm not Miss Cleo (RIP), you know? Instead, when Trump released his first batch of policy papers online in September (the immigration plan was posted in April), I just read them. I'll note here that I read them from beginning to end, while also acknowledging that, as a complete set, they still amounted to less reading than the average Cracked article.
I will accept your medals, though.
Nevertheless, I did read them. I highly doubt that I'm literally the only person who read them, but there were definitely times when it kind of felt that way. What bothered me the most about the media coverage that followed after Trump unveiled his immigration policy is that, for the most part, the "reporting" just kind of conformed to whatever his favorite talking points on the subject happened to be at the time. Most news stories pointed out that the policy included a section about building the wall and making Mexico pay for it. There were plenty of outlets whose coverage included detailed statistics about the impact deporting millions of undocumented workers would have on our economy. However, to this day, not a single news outlet has even casually mentioned stuff like this:
I mean none. No one. Go ahead and Google it. Run the phrase "refugee program for American children" through your Google box and see how many stories you get about intrepid reporters cornering Trump and asking him to explain exactly what this program would entail or why it's in the middle of his immigration policy. You won't find any. You'll find a ton of links about Obama's refugee program for Central American kids, but the only evidence you'll find of Trump's plan is a link to his site.
That's a problem, right? You don't come to me for news. There is an entire wing of society whose job is to deliver news and information. Not a single one of them have even brought up what, at least to me, seems like a pretty big deal -- especially when you consider it in the context of his immigration plan as a whole. That leads me to the next point ...
#4. We Wait For The Candidates To Tell Us Things
Deporting millions of undocumented workers would leave a huge hole in the workforce and ultimately cripple our economy. At no point during this campaign has Donald Trump told us how he'd address that problem. Except he has. He totally has. Goddammit, people. He has.
The problem is that he hasn't said it during a speech or an interview, and that's all that gets analyzed on your nightly news and late-night talk shows in any kind of detail. Meanwhile, do you remember any point in time when a legitimate news person sat down and went through any of the candidates' plans point by point, on the air? I don't, and I imagine it's because that would be insanely boring to watch, and the subsequent ratings drop would lead to the producer who decided to green-light that segment getting replaced with someone who isn't afraid to get some titties on the screen during an election cycle.
Or leg titties!
The problem is, that kind of detailed analysis is exactly what we should be getting from our legitimate news sources. Not everyone has time to read every candidates' policies in detail. If they did, there would probably be a lot fewer of us wondering how Donald Trump plans to fill all those holes in the job market. Unfortunately, covering speeches, town hall appearances, debates, and anything else that isn't a long-winded document on a website is way more pleasing to the eye.
So because Donald Trump hasn't explicitly said in public how he he'll address that concern, we just assume he doesn't have a plan and write off his deportation talk as something that's too crazy to ever happen. Well, like I've been saying for months, a perusal of his immigration plan should tell you exactly what he has in mind when it comes to filling the jobs that mass deportation will leave behind. Here's another clue:
Please read that slowly and as many times as you need to for it to register. This is at least the third column in which I've included that passage from Trump's immigration policy. It could not be written any plainer. I've been saying for as long as anyone would listen that Trump's plan is to take jobs from immigrant workers, undocumented or otherwise, and give them to inner-city residents. I didn't say it because I was guessing. It just literally says on his website that this is his plan.
Nevertheless, when Trump's RNC acceptance speech at several points veered off into promises of all the good things he'll do for inner-city residents, specifically naming places like Baltimore, Chicago, and Ferguson, people were still surprised for some reason.
This marks the first time in history I've wanted to use an emoji as a caption.
This should not have caught anyone off-guard. At the very least, I hope it wasn't a shock to the Clinton campaign. He put his plan in writing a long time ago, and a requirement of that plan involves directly addressing inner-city residents. But it still took Trump saying it on television before anyone believed he would.
Also, please note that the foreign workers in question in that blurb I posted above aren't even in the country illegally. In fact, the J-1 visa program makes for a fine segue into the next point ...
#3. We Focus On The Wrong Details
So now that Trump is on record as saying he intends for his wacky plans to benefit inner-city residents, the legitimate news sources of the world have surely started looking into what he might mean by that, right? If you've been reading Cracked for any length of time at all, you should know by now that when we put "right?" at the end of a sentence like that, it's because what we're saying is definitely wrong.
Instead of wondering what he might have been implying with his words, as usual, the speech was turned over to the fact-checkers of the world, who immediately decided that some of the statistics and figures Trump cited were actually incorrect. Don't get me wrong -- truth and accuracy are important -- but it strikes me as borderline insane that the conversation seems to have stopped there. Is no one in the media the least bit interested in how Trump's seemingly weird shift toward caring about black people for the first time in his entire fucking life might relate to his dastardly deportation plans? Are we not at all curious if this bit from his speech ...
... might be a reference to Chris Christie's terrifying claim that Trump said his first Hitler-esque order of business upon taking office will be to purge the government of anyone who doesn't agree with him? None of that is important? Just the accuracy of the statistics he quoted? I'm positive that's not how any of this is actually supposed to work.
The release of his immigration plan represents another example of the media as a whole focusing on the wrong thing. All of the talk and column space was dedicated to how catastrophic deporting undocumented immigrants would be for the country, but they aren't the only target of his plans. The entire last third of his proposal is all about workers here legally under various visa programs. Take the J-1 program, for example. Here's a rundown of the jobs and opportunities available to participants in that program:
They run the gamut from au pair (professional babysitter) to physician (professional doctor), and there isn't a single farming job in the bunch. He has similar plans for the H-1B visa program, which covers STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) jobs. But bring up that Trump is planning to take jobs from immigrant workers and give them to inner-city workers, and you're almost guaranteed to get a smug reply about how those are jobs Americans don't want and would never do. Hell, that's not even true of all the jobs undocumented immigrants will leave behind, much less workers who are here legally.
So when I said way back in October that he'd sell his hate as hope for the poorest citizens in this country, it wasn't a guess. Anyone who read his immigration plan thoroughly enough could have connected those dots and written their very own article about all the ways Trump mirrors Hitler. Oh, and speaking of that ...