When President Trump spoke at Luther Strange’s rally on Friday, he knew exactly what he was doing, and I am not just talking about setting up the Strange loss, or opening way for supporting Moore afterwards either. He knew what he was doing calling out the NFL on protests.
The president telling NFL owners to “get that son of a bitch off the field right now” if any of their players take a knee during the national anthem immediately sparked one of the biggest battles in America’s culture war to date.
Ever since Colin Kaepernick started taking a knee when the anthem played last season, Americans have argued fiercely on the merits of this particular brand of protest.
Conservatives have seen it as outrageous disrespect for the troops and the nation itself. Liberals and ESPN have portrayed it as a courageous act of defiance against racism and police brutality.
CBS Sports reported on a poll, where 72 percent found Kaepernick’s antics to be unpatriotic (via CBS Sports)
The debate hasn’t gone away this season, with more players participating in the protest while Kaepernick remains out of work. (Related: Sports Versus America and Trump — ESPN, NFL, NBA, Lebron, Curry, Goodell, Kaepernicks Mom)
Standing on the sidelines during the anthem is a rule in the NFL rule book. NFL selectively enforces their “rules”.
#TakeTheKnee is about freedom of speech. Players are fined for dancing in the end zone. The NFL is choosing to be political.
Trump has spent time this weekend doubling down on his comments, as well as bringing the NBA into the battle, in the face of liberal outrage. The president’s opinion brought forth accusations that he was trying to take away the constitutional rights of Americans and that his sentiment was racist by nature.
Cause when you can’t actually argue, or make a valid point, just throw out the word ‘racist’ and you win right? No.
In response to the president attacks, NFL players publicly criticized the president and joined in the anthem protests on Sunday. As one example, multiple players from both the Baltimore Ravens and Jacksonville Jaguars took the knee while the anthem played during their game in London. Curiously, they all stood for “God Save the Queen.”
Several commentators, mostly from the Left, saw more players joining the protest as a major defeat for the president, but they’re off the mark. Folks like New York magazine’s Jonathan Chait think that Trump has turned the kneel into a free speech issue, which is going to naturally earn the sympathy of average Americans.
Now, here is what really happened when you take your bias goggles off and look at this situation from the outside in.
In reality, Trump has taken the side of the flag and provoked millionaire athletes into opposing patriotism.
When several players for the New England Patriots took a knee during the anthem on Sunday, the entire arena of fans booed them. So did fans of the Buffalo Bills and the Washington Redskins when members of those respective teams knelt during the anthem.
Two of the most liberal, anti-Trump areas in America are the Boston and D.C. metropolitan areas. Yet even football fans who live there can’t stand protests against the anthem.
Rather than garnering sympathy for free speech, more players joining in the protest is more likely to alienate NFL fans from the game. Polling last year showed that an overwhelming majority of Americans thought that politics should be kept off the field. The number one reason for declining NFL ratings was due to national anthem protests, according to ESPN, of all places.
New England Patriots fans booing their own team is not a good sign that the NFL is going to win in its war with the president.
President Trump’s involvement in the battle over national anthem protests shows him once again stepping into his kind of cultural war. No longer tied to religious or moral concerns, Trump’s forays into the culture war typically revolve around questions of national identity and pit middle Americans against various elites.
During Trump’s presidential campaign, Trump’s hardline views on immigration and the Muslim ban earned him unprecedented scorn from the media and the political establishment, but also support and votes from Conservative voters. Most recently, Trump faced a barrage of anger over his comments on the violence in Charlottesville, Va. where he blamed “both sides” and issued his support for Confederate statues.
Those statements earned him extreme opprobrium from DNC and GOP establishment leaders in both parties, nearly all of Hollywood and the media elite. Yet, polling showed a majority of Americans agreed with his comments, especially in regards to the statues.
What happened a couple weeks after Trump made these comments on statues and Charlottesville? Nancy Pelosi, journalists, mainstream media outlets, and various other establishment politicians came out and spoke out against Antifa for the first time. Also, Trump Right Again: Black Lives Matter protesters in Charlottesville cover Thomas Jefferson statue.
In the fight over taking a knee, Trump is facing off against out-of-touch athletes who appear to be opposing the flag and the troops. ESPN and most political pundits may think he is a dummy for engaging in this fight, but if NFL continues to lose fans over it, Trump will come out as the victor.
There is the other issue of whether the President of the United States should even be involving himself in such a matter, regardless of whether it will be to his advantage or not. In years past, the answer would have been a “no” to the question of whether it was presidential behavior.
Against something needs to been pointed out, and said numerous times. Donald Trump was elected president. Not a priest, not the dean of some prestigious college, not a career politician. Donald Trump. Trump voters didn’t vote in some spiritual guide, someone who can give a solid speech, or someone who caters to PC rhetoric. They voted in someone they see as an outsider, to reign in the culture war, and make America great again.
But we increasingly expect our president to take sides in these cultural battles. Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama frequently weighed in on such topics as the name of the Redskins and Kaepernick taking a knee, albeit in a much more subdued manner.
Trump is embracing his status as an Oval Office cultural warrior to a much greater degree than Barack Obama, for some good reason. His legislative agenda is almost entirely stalled, and he has little to show in terms of accomplishments for his base. In fact, the only thing he might accomplish legislatively this year is giving millions of illegal aliens legal status in exchange for nothing. And it isn’t solely Trump’s fault as establishment on both sides want Trump to fail. (Related: Trump Pushes Tax Reform — Attacks Establishment Congress — GDP And Job Growth Shatter…)
Fighting in the culture war on behalf of his base is the one area where Trump can do as he pleases. He doesn’t have to go through Congress to reduce the ratings of the NFL, he just needs a few tweets to do so.
At the same time, the culture is getting weaponized at unimaginable level against the president and his supporters by elites. Every single awards show now resembles a Resistance rally where each speaker makes sure to bash Trump and red state America every other sentence. Late night talk shows act more as venting chambers for liberal resentment than light-hearted comedy. A large number of celebrities dedicate their social media accounts almost entirely to politics and hating on Trump.
Last week saw a new height for our new, politicized culture. A bunch of Hollywood A-listers such as Morgan Freeman and Rob Reiner got together to promote an initiative to make the public believe Russia hacked the election and we’re at war with Vladimir Putin.
The Republican’s latest attempt to repeal Obamacare found its greatest foe not among the Democrats, but with late night host Jimmy Kimmel. Kimmel spent most of his opening monologues this week attacking Republicans for their bill and regurgitating talking points given to him by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.
The comic’s advocacy earned him plaudits from the media and he was able to get the message of the bill’s opponents out to the general public. It’s possible that the cultural elites’ intense rejection of the latest Obamacare repeal encouraged Arizona Sen. John McCain to say he would vote against it.
While Trump does battle with the GOP and DNC, expect more on the culture war battle front. Trump will win this round.
The president literally just associated the left with being anti-American. It has worked in the past, and will work now. Couple that with the Antifa association, and it looks like a clear victory in 2020.
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