One of the most striking dimensions of the current political situation in America is the deep disarray being shown in two institutions which are each of real importance for the overall health of the American political system: the Republican party and journalism.
The Republican party believes deeply that it should be dominating every aspect of the government of the United States, though it fact it proves several times each day that it cannot manage even itself. Remember Pig-pen, the little kid in the Peanuts cartoons who was always dirty? Can you imagine anyone hiring him to clean a house? That’s what it would be like to turn the government over to the Republicans: they cannot manage their own house so it would be foolish to think they can manage America. When they won control of the Senate a couple of years ago, Mitch McConnell promised we’d quickly see just how well Republicans can run things. He was right — we have seen how well they can do and it is a truly dismal picture.
Journalism in America is at a low not seen in many, many decades. As they try in vain to create something of value in the in the badly misnamed “debates” for this presidential campaign, American journalists show no instinct whatsoever for knowing which questions to ask. Frequently, in fact at times almost exclusively on the conservative side, they only know how to stir up animosities. They have no nose for facts and pursue only the feelings of each candidate for the others. They give ridiculous attention not to candidates who actually have something of substance to say but to the one who speaks in the most absurd ways, bolstered by nothing but his own outlandish ego.
Perhaps we ought to add a third important institution which is looking pretty feeble during this campaign: American education. It takes a high degree of ignorance to mistake intimidation for leadership, to fail to see how very like Hitler is the primary Republican candidate, to confuse egoistic confidence with competence, to think it admirable for someone to profit from the bankruptcies of several companies, and to fail to distinguish criticisms from insults.