By Jeb Bladine • President / Publisher • 

Bladine: Regaining sanity in political discourse

Two years after the failed Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, we have the big story for 2023: Will congressional recommendations for criminal charges against former President Donald Trump lead to indictments by the U.S. Department of Justice?

Trump continues touting his candidacy to reclaim the presidency in 2024. Bernard Goldberg, much-honored author and journalist, this month described the pulse of that political heartbeat from Republicans who would vote for Trump again:

“(They) loathe what the Democratic Party has become — which, to them, is a collection of hyper-sensitive woke progressives who care more about pronouns than the surge in violent crime, and who tell themselves that the mess along our southern border is a story invented by Fox News.”

Earlier this year, Goldberg wrote: “Maybe we should have anticipated that if college-educated, supposedly sophisticated liberals looked down their noses at the ‘great unwashed’ who live in ‘flyover country,’ those ‘ordinary’ Americans just might feel disrespected … Enter Donald Trump, who was giving the elite establishment the middle finger, and so were his new acolytes.”

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Jeb Bladine is president and publisher of the News-Register.

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Trump, in January 2016, identified the magnitude of that passion to a rally crowd in Iowa: “My people are so smart – and you know what else they say about my people? The polls? I have the most loyal people – did you ever see that? I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, and I wouldn’t lose any voters, OK? It’s like, incredible.”

Eight months later, Hillary Clinton tossed this lifeline to Trump’s then-declining candidacy:

“You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right? The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic — you name it. And unfortunately there are people like that. And he has lifted them up.”

Half? I almost fell off my stool, knowing how that statement would reverberate with Trump supporters who I had described thusly back in December 2015:

“They look past his unfiltered mouth because he offers them an alternative to the polarized politics that prevent our system from resolving core American problems … Trump uncovered a deep American pool of frustration, resentment and anger. The ripples he created have echoed back a level of support that continues to baffle the media and his opponents.”

It’s Politics 101: Criticize your political opponent, but don’t vilify his/her supporters. That long overdue lesson is a bare-minimum starting point to regaining some sanity in American politics.

Jeb Bladine can be reached at jbladine@newsregister.com or 503-687-1223.

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