Trump Unchained

By Mike Whitney. Originally published at CounterPunch (republished with permission of the author).

Photo by Evan Guest | CC BY 2.0

Photo by Evan Guest | CC BY 2.0


“For any minimally conscious American citizen, it is absolutely evident that Donald Trump is not only facing the mammoth Clinton political machine, but, also the combined forces of the viciously dishonest Mainstream Media.”

-Boyd D. Cathey, “The Tape, the Conspiracy, and the Death of the Old Politics”, Unz Review

“The election is absolutely being rigged by the dishonest and distorted media pushing Crooked Hillary.”

-Donald Trump, Twitter

When was the last time the media threw 100% of its support behind one party’s presidential candidate? What does that say about the media?

Do you feel comfortable with the idea that a handful of TV and print-news executives are inserting themselves into the process and choosing our leaders for us? Is that the way democracy is supposed to work?

Check out this blurb from The Hill:

“The broadcast evening news programs ABC, NBC and CBS covered allegations against Trump by several women who claim he sexually assaulted them for more than 23 minutes on Thursday night. But revelations in the WikiLeaks dump of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta which included…sympathy for Wall Street, advocation for open borders and blatant examples of media collusion ….got a whole 1 minute and 7 seconds combined.”

Ratio of negative coverage of Trump to Clinton: 23:1

In print on Thursday, it was no better. The New York Times had 11 negative stories on Trump…But zero on Clinton/WikiLeaks.

Ratio: 11:0.” (Media and Trump bias; Not even trying to hide it anymore, The Hill)

The article in The Hill also refers to a survey by the Washington Post and ABC News that asks participants six questions about allegations of sexual misconduct by Trump, but zero questions about Podesta’s incriminating emails.

Is that what you call “balance”?

I should state out-front, that I don’t plan to vote for either candidate, Trump or Clinton, so my claims of “bias” are not grounded in support for one candidate or the other. I am simply ticked-off by the fact that the media honchos have pulled out all the stops and are inserting themselves in the process to produce the outcome they want.

That’s what you call “rigging” an election. When you turn on Washington Week (Gwen Ifil) on public TV and see an assembled panel of six pundits–three conservatives and three liberals–and all six turn out to love Hillary and hate Trump; you can be reasonably certain that the election is rigged, because that’s what rigging is. Rather than providing background information about the candidate’s position on the issues so voters can make an informed decision, the media uses opinionmakers to heap praise on one candidate while savagely denigrating the other. The obvious goal is to shape public opinion in the way that best suits the interests of the people who own the media and who belong to the establishment of rich and powerful elites who run the country, the 1 percent. In this case, the ruling class unanimously backs Hillary Clinton, that much is obvious.

Fortunately, the tide is turning on the mainstream media as people look to other, more reliable sources for their information. It should come as no surprise that people are more distrustful of media than ever before and that that a great many feel that the media is conducting a brutal class war against ordinary working people. Surely, anyone who has followed economic developments at all in the last seven years, knows that the policies of the Fed have created a yawning chasm between rich and poor that is only getting worse as long as the levers of power stay in the hands of establishment politicians. Hillary Clinton is certainly the worst of these establishment politicos. Aside from being the most widely-reviled candidate the Democrats have ever nominated, she is the embodiment of political corruption and cronyism. How is it, you may ask, that someone like Clinton was able to nab “upwards of $225,000 per speech” from Goldman Sachs if she wasn’t influence peddling?

Does it really matter what she said in these speeches?

Not to me. The huge sums of money prove beyond any reasonable doubt that Clinton is selling access, tacitly agreeing to “go easy” on the big Wall Street investment banks provided they keep her foundation’s coffers overflowing. What other possible explanation could there be?

Do as many Americans know about Hillary’s sordid dealings with Wall Street as know about Trump’s “alleged” sexual dalliances?

Of course not. It’s not even close.

Do they know that Clinton was the driving force behind the intervention in Libya and Syria, where hundreds of thousands of civilians have died and seven million have been internally displaced? Do they know she was involved in the toppling of a democratically-elected government in Honduras or that a number of prominent neocons, who dragged the US into war in Iraq based on WMD lies, now support her?


Do people know that Hillary had proof that ISIS –America’s arch enemy– was being funded and supported by our allies, Saudi Arabia and Qatar and, yet, she never reported the news to the American people??

Here’s a damning clip from one of the Podesta emails:

“We need to use our diplomatic and more traditional intelligence assets to bring pressure on the governments of Qatar and Saudi Arabia, which are providing clandestine financial and logistic support to Isis and other radical groups in the region.”

Remember when George W. Bush said that ‘We will treat the terrorists and the people who support the terrorists the same”?

Hillary must not have gotten that memo or we would have bombed Riyadh by now.

Do people know that there has never been a war that Hillary didn’t support, a job-killing “free trade” bill she didn’t back, or a civil liberties-eviscerating piece of legislation (Clinton voted for the original USA PATRIOT Act in 2001, as well as the revised version in 2006.) she wasn’t eager to sign?

Oh, but she does support “women’s reproductive rights” which makes her a big champion of personal freedom among her narrow demographic of successful, educated, white women. Excuse me, for not doing handstands.

Here’s another short clip from the WSWS:

“Hillary and Bill Clinton have accumulated a total of $153 million in speaking fees since Bill Clinton left the White House. Only the very naïve could believe that these vast sums were paid for the speeches themselves. They were payment for services rendered to the American financial aristocracy over a protracted period.” (In secret Goldman Sachs speeches, Clinton explains why the rich should rule, World socialist Web Site)

Get the picture? Hillary Clinton isn’t a candidate, she’s a franchise, a walking ATM machine. And her shady Foundation is nothing more than a vast recycling bin for illicit funds that pour into the political sausage-making machine in the form of contributions and magically transform themselves into special favors for the billionaire class.

Is the system rigged?

You’re damn right it is! Check this out from Zero Hedge under the heading of “73% Of Republicans Say Election Could Be “Stolen” As Trump Slams “Rigged Elections”:

“A Politico/Morning Consult Poll found that 41% of registered voters say that the election cold be stolen from Trump while 73% of Republicans fear the same.

The American electorate has turned deeply skeptical about the integrity of the nation’s election apparatus, with 41 percent of voters saying November’s election could be “stolen” from Donald Trump due to widespread voter fraud.

The new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll — conducted among 1,999 registered voters Oct. 13 through Oct. 15 — shows that Trump’s repeated warnings about a “rigged” election are having effect: 73 percent of Republicans think the election could be swiped from him. Just 17 percent of Democrats agree with the prospect of massive fraud at the ballot box.” (Zero Hedge)

Should we be worried about the election being rigged? Should we be concerned that a significant number of Americans no longer trust the “integrity of the electoral process”?

And how are these allegations (that the election was stolen) going to impact Hillary’s ability to govern?

It’s going to impact it dramatically, in fact, it could stop her dead in her tracks. It could even precipitate a Constitutional crisis. And that’s where all this is headed, isn’t it?

Consider this: Maybe Trump isn’t really trying to win any more. Maybe he knows he can’t overcome a 12 point deficit this late in the game, so he’s going to pull a Samson. He’s going to shake the pillars and bring the whole rotten temple crashing down around him. He’s going use all his influence to discredit this fake democratic system the elites have painstakingly put together to control the public, he’s going to grow his throng of angry supporters into a small army, and he’s going to spearhead a (mainly) right wing populist movement that is going impose gridlock on Washington, deepen the political divisions, acrimony and polarization across the country, and make Clinton’s tenure as president a living hell.

That’s the gameplan. He’s going to marshal enough grassroots support that Clinton will spend her entire four years bogged down in endless investigations, fending off charges of criminal misconduct, and leap-frogging from one seedy scandal to the next.

No, Trump isn’t planning on winning. He doesn’t want to be president. He wants to be a modern-day Braveheart leading the peasants into battle against a thoroughly-corrupt and heinous ruling class establishment. That’s what he wants, and that’s why political has-beens like Gingrich and Giuliani have attached themselves to him like the plague. They see an opening for resurrecting their own dismal careers.

In any event, Hillary’s going to win the election, that’s for sure. But don’t count Trump out just yet. He’s just getting warmed up.

MIKE WHITNEY lives in Washington state. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press). Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition. He can be reached at

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  • That’s the gameplan….leap-frogging from one seedy scandal to the next.

    Exactly. And anybody who doesn’t see this is the worst fool. Clinton will “get nothing done”, aside from starting wars. The Constitutional crisis is the least of our problems.

  • jo6pac
    • You will be voting Green if you are able. Where I live it is all electronic voting so nobody actually has to count votes and options are limited to the predetermined selected.

      Here is a thought exercise for you. Aug 16, 2011 The Tale of the Slave – Robert Nozick

      “Anarchy, State and Utopia”. I would recommend re-watching the video to see clearly if Nozick’s question is answerable.

      • jo6pac

        Thanks I’ll pass this around.

  • October 20, 2016 Trump vs. “American Democracy” The Donald SHREDS the Big Lie of “fair elections and peaceful transitions”

    I watched the entire Trump v. Clinton debate with my family and the only thing I enjoyed was the pizza. The thought that Americans are going to anoint one of these two individuals as “leader of the free world” almost made me lose that pizza. But fortunately, just as I was about to projectile-vomit all over the screen, Trump did something interesting: He suggested the US ought to be friends, not enemies, with Russia.

  • Jul 7, 2016 The Close Relationship Between Donald Trump and the Clintons

    Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton act as if they are arch enemies. But is it all just politics?

  • David Schultz

    The Republican primary voters selected Trump without equivocation as their champion. They picked him despite Trump’s self aggrandized history as a womanizing billionaire playboy. They rejected numerous “safe” candidates and have faithfully stood by Trump after taking unheard of and unfair abuse. The just want jobs and no tax increase. It is not a lot to ask.

    At some point are the wealthy elites of this country going to stop telling the people of America what they want?


    Nice hypotheses loaded with hyperbole but nope, not buying it. Those polls which report a victory with Hillary, those electoral maps online, etc, all run by major media. When nearly all media outlets provide only one opinion, that is not media that is not unbiased journalism, that is advocacy. Now with wikileaks and we know it’s paid advocacy. It’s not over until it’s over. One person cannot change the world. We all must vote with our wallets. I’ve been a political force for some time now but nobody knows my name. I vote as an ethically conscious consumer with my wallet. If you despise clinton, simply scroll down her list of donors and do not purchase their services or products from their shell companies. It’s not mystic pizza or flying spaghetti monsters, it’s just the power of the purse. If none of us changed our spending habits to punish those companies whom usurp representative democracy, our chosen candidate would remain ineffective regardless. Your vote is in your wallet. Always has been, always will be. It’s about damned time we had someone not for sale in office. These guys really should be forced to wear name tags like nascar, illustrating their sponsors. Trump’s already wearing his sponsor, himself. If you think you can do better I dare you to try.

  • Kansas_Voter

    Thomas Frank (author of “What’s The Matter With Kansas?”) has a great
    essay about how the media rigged the 2016 democratic primary:

    “To Washington Democrats, and possibly to many Republicans, she is not
    just a candidate but a colleague, the living embodiment of their
    professional worldview.

    In Bernie Sanders and his “political revolution,” on the other hand, I
    believe these same people saw something kind of horrifying: a throwback
    to the low-rent Democratic politics of many decades ago. Sanders may
    refer to himself as a progressive, but to the affluent white-collar
    class, what he represented was atavism, a regression to a time when
    demagogues in rumpled jackets pandered to vulgar public prejudices
    against banks and capitalists and foreign factory owners. Ugh.

    Choosing Clinton over Sanders was, I think, a no-brainer for this
    group. They understand modern economics, they know not to fear Wall
    Street or free trade. And they addressed themselves to the Sanders
    campaign by doing what professionals always do: defining the boundaries
    of legitimacy, by which I mean, defining Sanders out.”

    • Kansas_Voter

      “I have never before seen the press take sides like they did this year, openly and even gleefully bad-mouthing candidates who did not meet with their approval. This shocked me when I first noticed it. It felt like the news stories went out of their way to mock Sanders or to twist his words, while the op-ed pages, which of course don’t pretend to be balanced, seemed to be of one voice in denouncing my candidate.” Thomas Frank, 2016

  • Both sides are responsible

    I disagree with the assertion that HRC is the predetermined winner and next president elect. I also challenge the assertion that Trump is part of the ruling elite. To be blunt, the Presidency is a step
    down from his current status and lifestyle. His 757 is a better plane than the 747 used for Air Force One. The Whitehouse is a physically smaller domicile than his Mira Lago estate. Not to mention the parasites called the Whitehouse press corps that he will have to deal with.

    Trump made his fortune without the assistance of the faceless they’s in the smoke filled room. He built his company through force of will and shrewd business practices. Fortunately for him, real estate has always been a game ruled by the management of leveraged debt. He learned the secrets from his
    father. He wasn’t part of the Nixon cabal that changed our national economy from one based on the production and sale of tangible goods with transactions conducted with cash; to a global economy that relies upon the arbitrage of imported goods, providing professional and consumer services, and brokering information (principally financial); where transactions occur by incurring debt. Trump was
    permitted to exist as an outlier, where he grew ubber wealthy, but was never part of the Hamptons ruling elite. Trump is, and I believe, remains a political class outsider. Fortunately for us, the majority of US citizens, Trump’s considerable fortune (based on real property) insulates him from the repercussions and wrath of the ruling class.

    I speak from experience. I was an outsider when I ran for political office. Ibroke every tradition and rule governing the “how to” of conducting a successful municipal campaign; as determined by the political elite. Sitting public officials openly called me trailer trash. I had none of the puppet masters “seal of approval” political endorsements; hell I didn’t even get the courtesy of interviewing with their PAC’s. I received no assistance from either political party. All of the local professional pundits openly and derisively stated I had no chance of winning. They called me a nobody, with no money, no meaningful endorsements, and no name recognition. They said I lacked the pedigree to hold public office. My name appeared on a ballot along with the names of 18 other “more deserving and qualified” candidates for the four at large City Council seats. The local print media labelled me the “angry
    man” and not one reporter was assigned to cover my campaign party on election night. After all, the results of that election had been predetermined by the “experts”. Everyone knew the four anointed candidates that had been pre-selected and generously funded by the city’s power brokers, would be
    ushered into office. Counting the ballots was merely a formality.

    Sound familiar?

    What the ruling class and their political system failed to acknowledge, severely discounted or chose to ignore was the general public’s dissatisfaction with the status quo. I only made 2 campaign promises
    and neither involved the traditional pledge to (re)direct city resources to satisfy and appease the community’s vocal special interest groups. I simply promised to ask the hard questions that should have but never did get asked and I swore that I would never lie to the public. (I kept those promises)

    Sound familiar?

    On Election Day, after the dust cleared and the votes were tallied, the unthinkable had happened. I, the unwashed nobody, had earned one of the four coveted citywide City Council seats. Traditionally the office I sought was decided by a plurality of the voters; meaning the top 4 candidates were awarded the seats regardless of the percentage of votes they received. That’s the typical outcome for this type of municipal election.

    However, I am far from typical. Not only was I the top vote recipient; I won public office with a true majority of the votes cast, receiving over 8,000 more votes than were received by the candidate elected mayor. It didn’t end there. I won my office by the largest margins ever posted in the history of the city; carrying over 97% of the city’s voter precincts. I took my oath of office with a clear mandate, beholden to no one other than the citizens of the city.

    The puppet masters were fit to be tied. They still owned the other 7 Council members and the Mayor who promptly ignored the voter mandate. What they couldn’t do, was to keep me from pointing at all of the elephants in the room and asking “what’s up with that?” When I ran for re-election, Iearned the honor of being the first candidate for city office that had to overcome an assault of baseless attacks launched by donor protected 527 political organizations. The puppet masters tried to swift boat me; throwing more than $250,000 into their “Don’t vote for Him” effort. The result? I beat the next sitting incumbent by more than 2,500 votes.

    I was smeared in the press at every opportunity. In the end they succeeded in crushing me financially, but they didn’t chase me out of office and they didn’t silence me. My wife was my anchor. Bed ridden from two massive strokes, she constantly told me that “I couldn’t let the bastards win”. I stopped their
    corporate welfare and exposed the cronyism rampant within city government. One result of all the sunshine was a voter approved citizen initiative that changed the form of governance controlling municipal government. The change increased both the transparency of decision making and day to day operations and dramatically increased the level of accountability municipal employees have to the public they serve.

    This didn’t happen in a small town. The community I represented is one of the 50 largest cities in the country. I served a constituency of more than 420,000 people. I realize it is far from the head count of a national election, but it is large enough for parallels to be drawn.

    The moral? Don’t count the Donald out. I believe he is the last, best chance we have of keeping the country I grew up in.