Make no mistake, what happened in Texas yesterday was a watershed moment in American politics. The broad brush strokes are that right-wing media spearheaded an intimidation campaign of Texas state senators to vote to acquit Ken Paxton or be primaried. The takeaway here is that it is now possible to do an end run around mainstream media because the right-wingers have their own news outlets. They don’t read the New York Times or watch CNN. They read Breitbart, National Pulse, Epoch Times, listen to Steve Bannon and Charlie Kirk. They live in an alternative reality with alternative media, and they hear what Kellyanne Conway called alternative facts. And elected officials know this and they cave, accordingly. That’s what just happened in Texas. Axios:
Following a secret campaign coordinated by top Trump allies, Texas state senators yesterday acquitted Attorney General Ken Paxton of all impeachment charges, allowing him to return to his post.
- Why it matters: The allegations against Paxton, a close ally of former President Trump, bitterly divided the Texas GOP, Jay R. Jordan of Axios Houston and Nicole Cobler of Axios Austin report.
🔎 Behind the scenes: National Republicans organized an under-the-radar campaign of outside conservative pressure on the Texas senators designed to neutralize mainstream media coverage, top strategists tell me.
- This outside unofficial team operated independently of the Paxton legal operation — like “a super PAC without the money,” a top GOP strategist said.
The team had a “very well-defined target audience … no different than a confirmation battle,” the strategist said.
I cannot overstate how divisive and subversive right-wing media is and that’s its purpose. And Paxton knows it and used it to the hilt to stay in power. He tweeted his thanks to the National Pulse editor.
Thank you, Raheem!
— Attorney General Ken Paxton (@KenPaxtonTX) September 17, 2023
“We didn’t care what the MSM said,” the top GOP strategist said.
- “We basically ignored them from start to finish. Goal was to fire up the grassroots. A story in National Pulse, Post Millennial and similar publications was more valuable than any harm an A1 NYT story could do.”
👂 What we’re hearing: It was made clear to Texas GOP senators that they’d face a very well-funded primary opponent in their next election if they voted to impeach.
They didn’t care what the mainstream media said, because there are enough of the electorate listening to lies from right-wing rags and believing them, to where corruption can now run rampant in America.
I have often cried out, “How can 73 million people vote for Donald Trump?” That’s the power of right-wing media. And the yous and mes laugh at right-wing media, at its stupidity and its excess and its lies. We always have. But who laughed last in 2016? This is why Trump poses an actual threat in 2024. He would not, in any sane universe, where facts were facts and opinions were opinions and people knew the difference, be up for another term. But those days are gone. This is the new abnormal and this is what we’re up against.
Say what you will about Steve Bannon, he knows exactly how to exploit peoples’ unhappiness and feelings of being oppressed and how to manipulate them into voting against their own best interests. That’s the genius of propaganda. Propaganda keeps people agitated, enraged, and on edge. Then they are cued to vote this way or that and they do it, having been told “this is the answer. Here’s how to fight the enemy.” It’s pretty clear that almost everybody in the Texas state senate believed in the power of the right-wing press to put them out of business and they caved accordingly and did the bidding of their dark media masters. This is straight out of Star Wars. Cowards caving to evil.
And I can’t say as I blame them, on the one hand. Everybody in that chamber worked hard to get elected. Of course they want to stay there. But the sad truth is that each time a victory by corrupt forces takes place, the entire body politic becomes that much more corrupt. If our elected leaders don’t have the courage to stand up for what’s right, then who will?
- Turning Point USA’s Charlie Kirk was vital, the strategist said: “He had his people posting senators’ office numbers and was giving them out on his show. Driving the senators absolutely crazy.”
A few days before the vote, Trump called Paxton “one of the TOUGHEST & BEST Attorney Generals in the Country.”
- A day earlier, Paxton posted: “I’m heading to Maine next week to sit down with @TuckerCarlson.”
After the vote, Trump congratulated Paxton on his “Texas sized VICTORY.”
That’s how it works, all right. That’s exactly how it works. Subversives are running right-wing media and this is exactly the result they want to generate. Meanwhile, in the mainstream, so-called legitimate media, the bastion of the Sunday political shows, Meet the Press, is giving Donald Trump a soapbox so they can get some ratings.
Perception is everything, folks. There was a mountain of evidence that Ken Paxton illegally used his office to benefit an Austin real estate developer, then fired some of his top deputies who reported him to the FBI and other agencies. The deputies did what was right. The Texas state house did what was right. The Texas state senate was given the choice of doing what was right or saving their own asses. They chose the latter.
We are in trouble in this country. Make no mistake. This Texas victory will become the template for yet more of this malfeasance. This is what Ronald Reagan hath wrought. This is the fruit of his abrogation of the Fairness Doctrine and the monsters that sprang up to take over the airwaves after he removed that protective gateway. We are now at the mercy of liars and lies.