Bless you, S.E. Cupp!

This conservative commentator and Donald Trump critic had the sense to say what I’ve been thinking for months: The continual media mania over whether Trump will “pivot” away from his scorched earth approach to campaigning – to instead adopt a more moderate tone and more sensible proposals – is ridiculous and irresponsible.

Posting at on Monday, Cupp recapped how, after over a year of journalists wondering whether Trump is “ever going to become a smart, serious and disciplined candidate,” the recent upheavals in his campaign have them all aflutter again about whether he’ll finally reset his campaign in a positive way.

As Cupp asks, “When did we construct this new version of the political pivot, whereby a year’s worth of garbage is erased or forgiven, and why do we apply it only to Donald Trump?”

She takes her point a powerful step further:

“What is particularly disturbing about all this is that we in the media are feeding into this idea that what a candidate says over the course of an election is somehow meaningless, malleable, temporary and transposable. In doing so, we are telegraphing to voters the exact opposite of how to hold a person seeking public office accountable. If we’re not, why should they?”

Thus, why should anyone take seriously today’s news about Trump yet again supposedly resetting his campaign, this time to try to prove he’s not a racist?

What does this would-be pivot mean, in the wake of his accusing Mexican immigrants of being rapists, New Jersey Muslims of celebrating 9/11, a Mexican-American judge of being biased against him because of the judge’s ethnicity, a grieving Muslim Gold Star mother of being silenced by her religion and the President of the United States of not being born here? What does Trump’s move mean, when this quick list of his greatest racist hits just scratches the surface of his persistent pattern of outrageous attacks?

What does it mean? It’s meaningless.

Pretending that a supposed pivot means anything gives cable news talking heads something to talk about – which is really what’s driving this reset silliness. But it’s a real disservice to the public and a real debasement of our political process.

For a funny take on this pivot nonsense, check out this Seth Meyers dis.

Now, will Cupp’s criticism do any good in curbing the media’s reset infatuation? Consider this piece, also posted at on the same day as her lament: Donald Trump’s reset: Can it last?




Based in Oakland, California, Stephen Golub writes, consults and teaches about international development, with a particular focus on justice, democracy, human rights and governance issues. Currently teaching part-time at Central European University in Budapest and previously at the University of California at Berkeley, he has worked in over 40 countries and with such organizations as Amnesty International, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the Ford and Open Society Foundations, the U.K. Department for International Development, the U.N. Development Program and the World Bank

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