Bursting our Bubble – Roger Stone, darling of the alt-right, on the Trump Revolution

How do you burst the bubble?

Blindsided by Donald Trump’s surprise election victory in November, liberals and progressives the world over are berating themselves with this question. How did “the smartest people in the room”, as long time Trump friend and advisor Roger Stone smugly observes, fail to see this coming?

Looking for answers, many are turning to the sources themselves: the “alternative” media outlets and political players shunned by the mainstream press in the lead up to the election.

For those with the stomach to read it, Stone’s book outlines some uncomfortable truths.

Stone, the mannequin-like Republican strategist beloved of “alt-right” media outlets like Breitbart, offers one such window onto Trumpland. His book, The Making of the President 2016: How Donald Trump Orchestrated a Revolution hails Trump’s victory as a “miracle” for “middle America”. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Stone’s vision of this so-called “Silent Majority” jars dramatically with how many Democrats understood the American electorate.

For those with the stomach to read it, Stone’s book outlines some uncomfortable truths. It’s very hard to reject Stone’s assertion that “Hillary Clinton was an unattractive presidential candidate who did little to inspire Democratic voters to go to the polls”. Amongst his conspiracy theories and outright insanity (more on that soon), Stone arguably does a better job than many in explaining Clinton’s humiliating defeat.

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Clinton failed to turnout the African American and Latino vote that she needed to win. She failed to appeal to women in sufficient numbers. The email scandal that plagued her entire campaign damaged her credibility and trustworthiness in the eyes of voters. She was out of touch with those Americans who hadn’t seen an increase in their earning power in decades. She could point to years of experience in public office but no significant policy achievements. She was running on a platform of continuity when voters were desperate for change. And on, and on.

Stone, like many of his colleagues, embodies a rank hypocrisy that is unsurprising and yet remains terribly shocking.

If the gleeful exposition of Clinton’s failures were all Stone focused on, the book might have been bearable – maddening, but bearable. As we should already have come to expect from the “alt right”, though, there’s much more to it than that.

Stone, like many of his colleagues, embodies a rank hypocrisy that is unsurprising and yet remains terribly shocking. Positioning himself with Trump as an outsider, Stone is nothing of the sort. He is, in fact, an original “ratfucker” – a political aide to none other than Richard Milhous Nixon, for whom his admiration knows no bounds. That’s right – Richard Nixon, consummate political insider, conspirator and liar.

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It’s a kind of hypocrisy that must require nothing less than total self-delusion to accommodate. Stone spends thousands of words eviscerating Democrats for allegedly paying operatives to incite violence at Trump rallies. Several chapters later, he gleefully outlines how he organised to pay people to wear Bill Clinton “Rape” shirts at Democratic rallies – with a bonus if they got on television.

Even this, though, is arguably a fairly standard tenet of American politics. Republicans and Democrats are constantly engaged in hypocritical political strategies. It’s the extension of this magical thinking into conspiracy and downright insanity by Stone and his “alt-right” colleagues that is really frightening.

The book is littered with conspiracy theories. Some will be familiar – climate change, is of course, a conspiracy of “creeping socialism”. But there’s more. Ted Cruz is connected to the leftist conspiracy to create a “New World Order” and was positioning himself for a coup. The Mexican judge who was presiding over the Trump University case is connected to an organisation that seeks to reclaim California for the Aztecs. John Brennan, former CIA Director, secretly converted to Islam in the 1990s. Hillary Clinton has brain damage and Parkinson’s disease.

Stone’s fear of anyone different, sometimes naked and sometimes obscured, is constant and deep.

That’s just a short list, and reducing Stone’s writing this way of course highlights the insanity of it all. The genius of the “alt-right” and their “alternative facts”, though, is in how these conspiracies are presented. Stone offers pages and pages of “evidence”; figures, sources, names of organisations and operatives, that are seemingly unconnected but raise questions that must be answered. Suddenly, you find yourself engaging in an actual argument about whether Hillary Clinton is taking rat poison to stop her blood from clotting or whether Huma Abedin is a “Saudi spy or terrorist agent?”

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Abedin, given her name and her heritage, is an easy target. Stone’s fear of anyone different, sometimes naked and sometimes obscured, is constant and deep. He and his colleagues who now occupy the White House nurture a visceral hatred of anyone who doesn’t share their vision of America. That’s why Stone can suggest that when you exclude California and New York, which have become so out of touch with the real America as to be completely illegitimate, Trump won the popular vote. The so-called “coastal liberal elite” are nothing less than un-American traitors. The sense that Stone and his friends would welcome, perhaps even encourage, the chance to wage actual violence in a new Civil War against their liberal enemies is not, I think, unreasonable.

The terrifying thing is, these people are now pacing the halls of the most powerful office on Earth.

5 responses to “Bursting our Bubble – Roger Stone, darling of the alt-right, on the Trump Revolution

  1. Good luck with that Brett. We all see and believe what we want to see and believe, unfortunately. How about you look for the truth of an issue rather than what a particular person says. Look at both sides.

    1. I only look for the truth of an issue, Cherie.
      You have to watch Sky News in this country to find an intelligent, nuanced view of Donald Trump.
      No other major media outlet does.

      I have listened to ‘Your ABC’ prattle on denigrating the new US president ad nauseum. In even more superficial ways most of the rest of the commercial media does precisely the same.

      Have you looked at both sides lately? ie. Have you watched Sky News?
      (Two of their guests predicted Trump’s victory months before it happened)

  2. See what you think in six months to a year Brett when the jobs don’t appear and he has destroyed relations with most other countries on the planet. I won’t be surprised to hear that the “rusted flyover people” are out gunning for him, literally. What a travesty the man is. Tragic not only for America but for the whole world.

    1. Cherie, I’m keeping a list of what he says he will do and what he actually does.

      I am also keeping a list of the anti Trump brigade’s predictions too as an exercise in accountability for the media and elites to examine, in case their memories become clouded in later years.

      Interesting first point which emerges is that all of the predictions from the media/elites are entirely negative.
      Pretty much all of the predictions for Obama eight years ago from the media/elites were entirely positive.

      The media has a strong left bias (with the exception of the balanced range of views coming out of Sky News Australia).
      It is therefore impossible to form an accurate and nuanced understanding of Trump’s character and ability to make good decisions.

  3. Don’t worry Emma. There have always been crazy people in power on both sides.
    As you rightly point out there are truths within Roger Stone’s work that the elites need to get their heads around in every country, including here in Australia.

    Trump was been villified and pilloried endlessly, in and by, the media in many countries (before he even entered the Oval Office and made a single decision). Everything he says and everything he does is being presented from this point of view.

    Much of this interpretation gives rise to false and misleading reporting and editorial.
    For example, Trump’s three month temporary ban on people from mainly Muslim countries is presented as ‘Trumps ban on Muslims’. The two are quite different propositions of course (otherwise there would be a ban on people entering the US from Indonesia; the world’s largest ‘muslim country’, and many others) and I don’t believe this is just carelessness.

    The ‘elites’ are giving us this doublethink in the errant belief that no-one of an opposing or more nuanced view can unpack their subtle-ish sleight of tongue. The fact is the term, ‘ban on muslims’ is so incorrect that the embelishment becomes a lie.

    Every US presidential candidate on both sides has promised to be a leader for everyone; to be inclusive. This is a good foundation and mandatory in a democracy. The reality is no president has actively done it for a very long time. Therefore we have people in the disparagingly termed ‘fly-over states’ and the ‘rust belt’ being complacently sneered at by the elites, including from those giving most of the opinions in the media, expressing their own contempt. (Here the ABC is guilty of this in most of its editorial content).

    The fact is people know when they are being lied and condescended to. The elites have underestimated the intelligence of the ‘deplorables’ as well as their worth. No wonder they voted for President Trump.

    After thirty years+ of being ignored and scorned, there was no way the rusted flyover people were going to vote for a coastal Clinton campaigning by dancing with multi millionaire coastal pop stars.

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