The trauma of the 2016 election is ripe as ever, and we’re still being gaslit. So DAME’s launching a podcast to talk about it.
By Andrea Chalupa and Sarah Kendzior
Welcome to Gaslit Nation, a podcast to help cut through the noise in the most important midterm election year of our lives. The last most important election year of our lives was 2016, a gaslit election: The mainstream media gave Donald Trump a reality show by ceaselessly broadcasting his nationalist rallies, presenting Hillary Clinton’s emails as a scandal worse than Trump’s decades of sex abuse and corruption, dismissing the racism driving Trump’s base as “economic anxiety,” and overlooking or lying about Russia’s many ties with the Trump campaign.
Two years later, a gaslit nation has gone up in flames, but we’re here to remind you that even in the hardest times, resistance is never futile. The Trump regime wants to wear us down. The constant reality show of terror broadcast by the Kidnapper-in-Chief—his rage-filled rallies, his deference to dictators and aggression toward our allies, his demonization and persecution of ordinary Americans and asylum seekers—intends to destabilize the public, the press, and America itself.
Despite inflicting plenty of damage, Trump has not yet succeeded in completely destabilizing our democracy, thanks to the refusal of Americans to submit. From the day Trump took office, most of us have rejected the administration’s aims, but we know constant propaganda and brutal policies take a toll. We’re here to to give you a comprehensive view of how this regime got here and what may happen next, so you can head into the midterms informed and empowered.
Unlike many journalists, we were not surprised by Trump’s win or by his regime’s blatant corruption: Who Trump is was already out in the open—it’s been in the public record for decades. His ties to criminals, Kremlin agents, sleazeball GOP operatives, white supremacists, and other morally bankrupt individuals are documented but understudied, which is why we plan to discuss them in detail.
The first episodes of Gaslit Nation look back to 2016—the surreal warning signs of Brexit, the fascist pageantry of the Republican Convention in Cleveland, and the Trump team’s open deference to the Kremlin—because it’s all still relevant today. The campaign that swept the Trump family and its lackeys into the White House has since produced 20 indictments, five guilty pleas, and over 100 criminal charges including conspiracy against the United States.
We have a Constitutional crisis on our hands. This level of conspiracy, aided and abetted by a regime hostile to the United States and guilty of human rights abuses against its own people and neighbors, is unprecedented in the history of our country. Behaving otherwise is just another form of gaslighting.
This season of Gaslit Nation will explore the domestic conditions that gave rise to this Frankenstein’s Monster of a presidency. After all, the Russians could not have successfully hacked the 2016 election if American institutions were not already in decline. We will discuss the crisis of income inequality that has rightfully created distrust of public officials and the media, the decline of voting rights and election security, why Mark Zuckerberg should never run for president (and other problems unleashed by Silicon Valley), the decline of newsrooms and the corporate consolidation of media, Trump’s long history of sexual assault and his ties to pedophiles and sex traffickers, the death cult of the Evangelical movement, the epidemic of fake news and far-right propaganda coming out of Russia and the U.S., and the original sin of slavery in America and its many incarnations today, including militarized ICE agents and the prison industrial complex.
Sound fun? Probably not! But it’s honest, so it’s necessary. We’re in this struggle together—and the truth shall set us free.
Andrea Chalupa is a journalist and the author of Orwell and The Refugees: The Untold Story of Animal Farm. She has written for TIME, The Atlantic, The Daily Beast, and Forbes. She is a founder of DigitalMaidan, an online movement that made the Ukrainian protests the #1 trending topic on Twitter worldwide. Her first film, about the story behind George Orwell’s Animal Farm, just finished shooting in Europe.
Sarah Kendzior is best known for her reporting on St. Louis, her coverage of the 2016 election, and her academic research on authoritarian states. She is the author of The View from Flyover Country, a regular commentator on MSNBC, and an op-ed columnist for The Globe and Mail. She was named by Foreign Policy one of the “100 people you should be following on Twitter to make sense of global events.”
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