When a mass murderer dies, what is the first thing Big Media does? Of course: figure out how they can write a click-baity headline that ties the news to Donald Trump. And so, we have NEWSWEEK with the following actual not-from-the-Onion headline:
That is . . . that is special, isn’t it?
Please note, the author of the piece hastens to say, that the hook of the piece is not that Trump and Manson are similar. Heavens, no! NEWSWEEK never meant to imply anything like that at all! No, what NEWSWEEK is saying, you understand, is that both Trump and Manson use psychological techniques to appeal to the marginalized in society:
According to psychoanalyst Mark Smaller, past president of the American Psychoanalytic Association, part of Manson’s power lay in the type of language he used. Notably, Manson was able to speak in a way that engaged those who felt marginalized or alienated.
“A charismatic leader knows how to speak to people in a way that will emotionally engage those people,” Smaller told Newsweek.
Smaller is clear that he does not believe President Donald Trump is similar to the convicted killer, or that their followers have any shared beliefs or characteristics, but he did say we can look to the current president to see how language is used to form a bond with followers.
“Our current president speaks in an emotional or affective way to large numbers of people in our country who feel a kind of alienation or disconnection from the government,” he said. “They feel very responded to and become his political base.”
Fact: politicians everywhere use psychological techniques to appeal to the disaffected. You could have said the same thing about Barack Obama. But somehow I feel certain that it never would have occurred to the editors of NEWSWEEK to compare Obama’s rhetorical techniques to those of Charlie Manson. Maybe NEWSMAX might have done that. But not a “respectable” (are they really?) news organization like NEWSWEEK.
WARNING: ABRUPT SHIFT IN TONE THAT DIEHARD TRUMPERS WILL NOT LIKE: Yes, it’s silly to compare Donald Trump to Charlie Manson.
And yet . . .
And yet there is one valid comparison you could make between the followers of Charlie Manson and the most extremely devoted followers of Donald Trump: they would both vote for Charlie Manson over Hillary Clinton.
Some of you are getting mad that I just said that, but some of you are nodding your head and saying: “You bet I would!” In September 2016, I ran a poll, which was admittedly somewhat tongue in cheek, asking people whether they would vote for the worst mass murderer in history (Chairman Mao) or Hillary Clinton, given that binary choice. The small response size (compared to polls I usually run) reflected the poll’s lack of seriousness, but it was still remarkable to me at the time that Chairman Mao won a solid majority of votes, 61% to 39%.
And hey, Charlie Manson was convicted of only nine murders!
And we are in the middle of the Roy Moore scandal right now, and plenty of Moore supporters — from David Horowitz to the governor of Alabama to pastors — are saying that even if the allegations are true, you gotta vote for Moore. Meaning that even if Roy Moore is a child molester, the only moral thing to do is to vote for him.
The argument for Moore is presented as a Flight 93 imperative: they’re killing our babies! They’re taking our guns! And you want to worry about a little thing like character? In the face of that, what are a few allegations of child molestation from 40 years ago?
Or, the case of Charlie Manson, a few convictions of murder from 50 years ago? After all, once you head down that road that says past crimes are irrelevant when it comes to keeping our majorities, where is the logical ending point?
And so, it amuses me to envision Charlie Manson declaring himself to be a Republican and running against Hillary Clinton. Wouldn’t it be fun to hear the political debate that would ensue?
In that vein, I present to you the Top Ten Reasons Manson Followers Would Have Voted for Charlie Manson Instead of Hillary Clinton:
- 10. True, Manson said he wants a national race war, but if you want to repeal ObamaCare, you gotta break a few eggs.
- 9. What, you think Hillary never murdered anyone?
- 8. Let’s keep in mind that the so-called “victims” here were Hollywood degenerates.
- 7. Justice Tex Watson will vote to repeal Roe v. Wade.
- 6. I like people who don’t get brutally murdered.
- 5. Manson could order a pregnant woman to be gutted like a fish on Fifth Avenue and I’d still vote for him over Hillary Clinton.
- 4. Manson’s “murders” (most of which he didn’t even commit himself) happened 50 years ago. Hillary’s criminality is happening now.
- 3. I don’t support Manson’s plan to release all convicted murderers in the United States, but it will make more room in prison for the DREAMers.
- 2. He’s not my favorite, but he’s surrounded himself with some pretty good people.
And the Number One Reason Manson Followers Would Have Voted for Charlie Manson Instead of Hillary Clinton is:
- 1. Look, the guy with the swastika in his forehead wasn’t my preference. I wanted Ted Cruz. But it’s a binary choice.
[Cross-posted at RedState.]