all the way down.. a look at the Republican Party today
Donald Trump is 70 years old. He has always, clearly, been an incoherent thinker, contradictory and prone to self-gratifying delusions. But if, for much of his life, he was able to pass as an intelligent and well-informed man, it was probably just because he religiously read newspapers, especially the New York Times. That was and is a decent way to sound like a smart person, at least for a few minutes, which is long enough to impress most rich people. Now, though, Trump is older, his thinking more rigid, his favored media outlets less trustworthy and more likely to reinforce reactionary tendencies. Cable news has largely replaced newspapers as his primary source of information about the world. He has also taken to reading conspiratorial websites run by kooks and con artists. Perhaps, if you have a white parent or grandparent over 60, this sounds familiar?
Trump was always venal, dishonest, genuinely deluded about his financial acumen and business success, and, you know, a wildly misogynistic accused rapist and sexual harasser. But for most of his public life, he also clearly knew the right sorts of things to say to sound like a reasonable person, albeit a mostly ridiculous one. Donald Trump the deranged believer of bizarre untruths about the world at large is actually a fairly recent development. This is why, when he flirted with presidential runs in the past, he spoke positively of universal healthcare. This is why, when he planned to win the nomination of the Reform Party in 2000, he attacked Pat Buchanan as a right-wing extremist. This is why he spent many years claiming to have opposed the Iraq War—which he did, albeit after it was too late, and not before. Trump learned what to think about the world at large from the media, and for most of his life, he was a consumer of the mainstream media.
Donald Trump today is a cruel dolt turned into a raving madman by cable news and Breitbart.com. You could see the descent happen during the Obama era, in concert with the broader maddening of the GOP. The major difference between Trump and the other old white men who’ve been radicalized by the conservative press is that his was a strangely self-directed conversion, based on his desire to make himself known as a plausible Republican presidential candidate.
a tip of the hat to Jim