That the current US president is clinically bonkers is not an unpopular opinion. Shortly after the chap’s inauguration, diagnoses were widely shared. Today, the amateur shrinks of press continue their public assessment and we should all be very worried. Not for Donald Trump, who seems perfectly suited to the role of Malignant Narcissist in Chief. We should worry for the mental wellbeing of all those liberal US journalists soon to enter their third year of erratic delusion. An occasion they celebrate by writing about the pop singer, Taylor Swift.

You’ve got to feel for the poor bastards. They teeter each week between hope and despair. One minute, they’re buoyed with their daydreams of impeachment and in the next, paralysed by the nightmare of Kavanaugh. That Republican voters have been energised by the grubby appointment just in time for the midterms should be a matter for some introspection. Nah. Today’s denial takes the form: Why It Matters So Much When Taylor Swift Speaks.

This past Sunday, Swift gave her support by Instagram to Dem candidates in Tennessee, a state this daughter of a Pennsylvania financier liked to pretend she lived in during her country music phase. Sure, she’s a popular lass, and one not previously given to endorsement. But, seriously, Washington Post? She is “revered” by young Americans?

One need only remember as far back as Hillary to know the value of celebrity endorsement. Bruce Springsteen, Lady Gaga, Bon Jovi, Jay-Z and Katy Perry and gathered to sing for Clinton on the eve of the 2016 election. And Beyoncé! Beyoncé. Yes, Clinton won the popular vote. She nonetheless remains history’s second-least thrilling US presidential nominee. And she had Beyoncé.

But, let’s buy today’s claims that Swift “breaking her silence” is important. Let’s make-believe this milquetoast millennial is actually respected for her views. Let’s tell the terrible lie that Swift is more persuasive than Beyoncé.

Let’s cop all this and forget Clinton’s own star-studded catastrophic loss to a man with marginally less appeal than a bag of sick. Still. Someone should remember how ineffective celebrity endorsement has been in the past, shouldn’t they?

In unsurprising news, one can enjoy the looks, quips and works of a celebrity very much while remaining entirely unmoved by their political advice. Young people just don’t buy their economic and social policy from the person who enjoined them to “Shake it off“. Young people who do vote tend to be informed by real people with whom they have real-life connections. In this way, young people are very much like people.

Still. This seems easy to forget, even for millennial-run outlets like Vox, which is coming over today like your uncle to whom The Youth are an inscrutable mystery.  

Currently in the US, Conde Nast, NPR and CNN all continue their nervous delusion and write about Swift as though she’s the hinge on which the midterms will swing. I just don’t get it. This is not a big story. It’s a side-bar, at best, and not cause for sincere optimism, any more than $100,000 worth of slipshod Facebook ads was cause for real fear of “electoral interference”. And, if this entire Swift will save the Democrats thing must be a story, then, surely, some mention must be made that Phil Bredesen, the Senate candidate she mentions in her fluffy Instagram post, broke ranks with other Dems and gave his support to Brett Kavanaugh. There’s plenty of praise for Swift’s #MeToo credentials, but none of this lapse.

Honestly, I feel for these poor, sick journalists. At first, I was irritated by what I saw as the dereliction of their duty. Now, I understand they have a clinical case of false consciousness. Some form of faux-progressive breakdown in which immunity to ignorance is on the fritz.

It’s all hope or despair. It’s impeachment or it’s America’s Darkest Hour. It is Trump the Sociopath or Clinton, the Most Qualified and the Most Reasonable.

Between these extremes, no analysis is possible. All rational memory of how an election is won is lost. The incapacity of DNC-aligned media to see Trump as anything but aberrant means that we won’t get any more sense from press than Taylor Swift matters.

Peter Fray

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