There's a lot of money to be made in being a political turncoat.
Over the past eight years, we've seen a number of "progressive" pundits come forth and express their concerns over the policies of President Barack Obama. Among these so-called pundits are people like Bill Press, Thom Hartmann, H.A. Goodman, and Cenk Uygur among others. Despite President Obama being the most progressive presidents since FDR, these armchair warriors still feel that President Obama hasn't done enough and they have made their feelings perfectly clear on their media platform of choice. During the Democratic primary, these pundits gleefully cast their lot with Bernie Sanders, a man whose candidacy was based on the fact that Sanders himself stated that Barack Obama had not done enough for the progressive movement. After Hillary Clinton secured the Democratic nomination, rather than focus their attention on Donald Trump, these pundits instead chose to cry foul before finally settling on a third party candidate. Despite Hillary Clinton getting more votes than any White man in history, these pundits are still insisting that none of this would have happened if Bernie Sanders had been the nominee.
Which we all know is complete and utter malarkey.
But it is this sentiment that the pundits will continue to believe, or, more importantly, will have their viewers or listeners continue to believe. Because for the next four years, there will be no shortage of people who will be willing to express their anti-Trump sentiments. Hating Trump will be the political equivalent of hating Nickelback; everybody will want to do it. Our media knows this and because of this, they will want to bring on "experts" with different points of view. Our media loves drama and is perfectly content to manufacture drama for ratings. What better way to create drama over these next four years than to have on a pundit who thinks the Democratic Party is exploding in front of our very own eyes? It's not hard to imagine pundits like Bill Press and Thom Hartmann foaming at the mouth in anticipation of coming on the Sunday shows and saying how there is a "battle for the soul of the Democratic Party." Having been opposed to the Democratic Party's presidential nominee means that these pundits clearly know what they're talking about.
And so it is with this idea in mind that we shouldn't buy recent converts to the anti-Trump train. Starting off, we should be concerned about the transformation of former Secretary of Labor, Robert Reich. Despite having worked in Bill Clinton's administration, Reich showed his true colors this past year in promoting Bernie Sanders over Hillary Clinton. Reich made headlines in January by stating that Hillary Clinton "is the most qualified candidate for the system we now have, but Bernie Sanders is the most qualified candidate for the system we should have, because he's leading a political movement for change." By February, Reich had openly endorsed Bernie Sanders on his Facebook page and Reich maintained his support of Sanders even though he had been mathematically eliminated from the race in mid-May. After the California primary, Reich even went so far as to writing a thank-you note to Sanders on his website. A week after the election, Reich offered an eight-point plan which included such suggestions as overhauling the DNC, embracing populism, and educating the base.
Yet now that it is finally sinking in that Donald J. Trump will be our country's 45th president, Reich has been making the rounds speaking out against him. He has questioned the legitimacy of Trump's election. His most recent article in Newsweek served as a warning sign that Trump's post-election rallies show an impending presidency that is moving dangerously close to tyranny. He has called for a boycott of Trump products and brands and has recently suggested a "Freedom Concert" on January 20th made up of big name celebrities and hosted by Alec Baldwin in an effort to counter Donald Trump's inauguration. It's as if a flip has been switched and Reich has suddenly seen the light regarding just how dangerous Donald Trump will be.
On the opposite end of the political spectrum, we've also seen conservative talk show host and founder of TheBlaze, Glenn Beck, emerge as a vocal critic of Donald Trump. Beck made a name for himself in conservative circles for his outrageous and offensive behavior with his radio show as well as his Fox New appearances over the past decade. Among other things, Beck has openly advocated for the killing of Michael Moore, he has compared Barack Obama's treatment of Fox News to the Holocaust, he has called Hurricane Katrina survivors "scumbags," he has implied that Muslim congressman Keith Ellison is associated with terrorists, and has told the families of 9/11 victims to "shut up." He has been an outspoken critic of President Obama, having started in 2009 by calling the president "racist" and continuing the criticism over the course of the past eight years.
So imagine the surprise of Democrats now that Beck has emerged as one of the leading anti-Trump voices of reason within the Republican Party. Not only did Beck speak out against Trump in the wake of his Access Hollywood tape but he also wrote an op-ed in The New York Times expressing empathy(!) for the Black Lives Matter movement. Most recently, Beck emerged on the television program Full Frontal with Samantha Bee to apologize for his role in creating such a polarized political climate. The segment was created by Bee in an effort to show how diametrically opposed forces must combine to fight "Trumpism." By showing that even an extreme conservative like Beck could come around, Bee hoped to show us all that there would be multiple unlikely alliances that would be needed to challenge a Donald Trump presidency.
I, for one, am simply not buying either so-called transformation.
Because as we've seen, there's money to be made in opposing the political status quo. Robert Reich made a name for himself with his Inequality for All documentary, the content of which would largely be used to drive Bernie Sanders' candidacy. Like Sanders, Reich believed that addressing wealth inequality would be the hallmark of a progressive democratic platform. So when Bernie Sanders lost by 3.7 million votes, it was a direct affront to Reich's so-called "expertise." It's easy to sell faux liberals and political neophytes on a political platform but when that platform gets overwhelmingly rejected by the American people then somebody has some explaining to do. Not only that, but Reich knew he had alienated many people in Democratic circles for turning his back on not only Hillary Clinton but also Bill Clinton, who was gracious enough to involve Reich in his inner circle as Secretary of Labor. By now openly opposing Trump, Reich feels he has an opportunity to speak on behalf of the Democratic Party and try to get back in their good graces.
On the opposite side, Glenn Beck can no longer sell the snake oil he has been selling over the past eight years. It will be quite difficult to convince conservative listeners and viewers that President Trump is about to give in to Sharia law, allow millions of illegals to cross the border, take everybody's guns, and advocate the overthrow of our government through Jade Helm military exercises. As an October interview with Rolling Stone Magazine seemed to indicate, Beck saw the writing on the wall and, unlike Reich, he had crossed a bridge too far to get back on the good side of his party elite. Beck had rolled the die and lost; by throwing his support behind Ted Cruz he was banking on the fact that the Trump bubble would eventually burst. When it didn't, Beck was left as a political vagabond and saw no option but to go all in with the anti-Trump crowd which just so happened to be the Democratic Party.
Yet Reich and Beck share one thing in common: they will be relatively unaffected by a Donald Trump presidency. They are both rich, White men and thus don't have to worry about Trump's hateful rhetoric. Reich's net worth is $4 million and he receives yearly income from both his six-figure teaching gig at UC Berkeley as well as proceeds from his 14 published books. Beck, thanks to his media conglomerate, is worth well over $100 million. These two men may seem to be patriotic in their opposition of Donald Trump and they may want to appear to love the red, white, and blue. However, when push comes to shove, both Reich and Beck and much more interested in another color, one that keeps their names on the air and their pockets lined. That color is green, the color of money, and is the driving force behind their newfound revelation.
Democrats undeniably need allies in their upcoming battle against Donald Trump. What they don't need is a fairweather progressive like Robert Reich or a former conservative hitman like Glenn Beck. Both Reich and Beck had their chances and threw them away. We saw Reich willing to forgo a lifetime of goodwill with the Clinton family to support the "it" candidacy of Bernie Sanders. We saw Beck willing to promote fear and hatred of Barack Obama over the past eight years, something he now bizarrely finds troubling with the current president-elect. Moving forward, we need true Democrats on the frontlines against Donald Trump and neither Robert Reich or Glenn Beck fit this description. The sooner Democrats can assemble their true allies, the sooner they can get to work.
And the sooner people like Robert Reich and Glenn Beck can be exposed for the true frauds that they are.
There's a lot of money to be made in being a political turncoat.