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Primary Concerns Episode 23: How Asymmetry Fries the Circuits of the Political Machine


Donald Trump is shattering civic norms at a terrifying clip. Since the end of the Democratic convention last week, he has lobbed Islamophobic insults at the family of a Muslim soldier killed in Iraq; tried to weasel out of the presidential debates; encouraged women being sexually harassed at work to find new careers; attempted to delegitimize any election result in which he doesn’t win—he even booted a crying baby from his rally.

The pace of his outrages, and their unconventional nature make covering him difficult for the media, and running against him an unusual task for Hillary Clinton. All of this raises a question on which the future of American democracy hangs: can our institutions fend off Trump, without fundamentally changing themselves? NYU journalism professor, media critic, and editor of Jay Rosen joins from New York to assess the challenge.

Further Reading:

  • At the Washington Post, Jay Rosen challenges the political press to alert the public that Trump is a “special case” to whom “normal rules do not apply.
  • In an interview at Slate, Glenn Greenwald claims the media is already “essentially 100 percent united, vehemently, against Trump, and preventing him from being elected president.”
  • In the New Republic, Brian Beutler explores how Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are approaching this election not as a contest between a Democrat and a Republican, but between a democrat and an authoritarian.