A few years ago, gay activists decided the best way to win arguments in favor of same-sex marriage was to shut up their opponents. All they had to do was lob a charge of homophobia and the argument was won. Or they tweeted at the companies that employed the “homophobes” until they were fired. Conservatives were bullied on social media and mocked for being ass-backward (and indeed, some of them were and are). But they were never taken seriously.
They were simply dismissed with a snarky Ru Paul GIF. At the time, this seemed like a good strategy because, well, Hillary Clinton was a shoo-in, and the country was only becoming more and more liberal, and those kinds of hillbillies were being left in the dark.
Enter Trump — the voice of all of the people liberals and activists have been shutting up for the past eight years. It’s no secret that part of Trump’s success is owed to how skillfully he invalidated the media’s authority in the eyes of his conservative followers. The message was very clearly: The media doesn’t like me because I’m conservative, and they don’t like you because you’re conservative, and they’re going to try to ruin all of us, so let’s just ignore them.
And then, like clockwork, BuzzFeed published a story proving him right.