Trump Is Milking the War on Christmas for Every Last PennyJack Holmes•Photo credit: Facebook From Esquire While the stock market tumbles, even after a tremendous tax cut that led to $1 trillion in corporate stock buybacks and a two-cent-per-hour raise for workers, there is no disputing one victory for Donald Trump, American president: he won The War on Christmas. Granted, The War was not real-it was an outbreak of mass delusion that escaped from the fever swamps of right-wing resentment programming on Fox News and talk radio. Nobody stopped saying „Merry Christmas” just because some malls changed their signs to say „Happy Holidays.” And because only some people believed this was happening, only those people were truly fighting The War.Still, The War does appear to be over-if only because the people who made it up don’t talk about it nearly as much anymore. Fox News gave the game away almost two years ago now when the network sent out holiday cards that read „Seasons Greetings”-an egregious break with the channel’s totally good-faith programming on-air. (Perhaps it was an attempt to make Fox employees of all faiths and backgrounds feel included. Weird!) But nobody can match Donald Trump’s commitment to cultural resentment.This is the guy who debuted an improbable Americana mashup this year with The War on Christmas in July. And now his 2020 re-election campaign-which has already been cooking for close to two years-is fundraising off The War.View image on Twitter
Again, Christmas is an absolutely ubiquitous holiday in America, and some people saying „Happy Holidays!” has done literally nothing to diminish it. Suggesting that Christmas stopped in America then restarted after Donald Trump was elected president is legitimately deranged. Christmas is everywhere, and that’s great! Christmas is fun. But more to the point, as Fox News Channel Corporate Communications demonstrated, the use of more general language does not exclude Christmas. It merely attempts to include other faiths as equal participants. When you’re used to privilege, equality feels like oppression and all that.(Meanwhile, Senior-Adviser-Slash-First-Daughter Ivanka Trump and Son-in-Law-in-Chief Jared Kushner are Jewish, but they are part of the First Family referenced in the mailing. Are supporters meant to wish them a Merry Christmas as well? It’s almost like there are other seasonal greetings used as a quick shorthand for situations like this.)It would be fascinating to know how effective this strategy is for the Trump campaign, however. While it’s fun to say someone won The War, you can’t actually win at something that is not happening.The War has faded from Our National Discourse because the people most horrified by the shrinking social and political clout of (white) Christians in America seized control of basically every lever of political power in 2016. The extremely Jesus-like guy they backed-after all, Trump admits the Bible is even better than The Art of the Deal, especially that Two Corinthians part, which is the whole ballgame, folks-got the job done on Election Day and many days since. He’s nominated incredibly retrograde candidates for lifetime appointments to the federal bench who will entrench white Evangelical minority-power for a generation.The capacity for white Christian conservative victimhood is vast, and perhaps bottomless. The defining tone of right-wing discourse over the last two years has focused on the attacks-from The Fake News Media, from The Deep State, from various other Elites-faced by their movement, despite the fact that they hold all the institutional power. And surely Democrats’ sweeping victory in the House this year has raised blood pressures. But it’s still remarkable, and something of an indictment of us all, that a War on Christmas fundraising appeal could still work in this political moment. Someday, we’ll have to re-tether ourselves to reality. A whole lot more than Christmas depends on it.