New Biden ad laughably accuses Trump of destroying the US steel industry
One of Joe Biden's recent commercials features "John" — an alleged steelworker (from an unnamed Pennsylvania steel town) who predictably blames the nation's steel woes on Donald Trump. After making the obligatory claim that he voted for Trump in 2016, he faults Trump for not bringing back the long lost steel industry. John tells us he is now voting for Joe Biden. The script is accompanied by black-and-white film of ancient steel mills.
A quick review of the facts will show how pathetic this accusation is. As most Americans know, the steel industry thrived in the United States for many decades. The disastrous steel strike of 1959 opened the door for foreign steel imports and marked the beginning of a decades-long decline for American steel (Paul Tiffany, The Decline of American Steel, 1988, p. vii). In 1971, the American steel industry furloughed 100,000 workers (John Hoerr, And the Wolf Finally Came, 1988, p. 111). Beginning in 1974, the American steel industry laid off hundreds of thousands of workers over several years. In 1979 alone, U.S. Steel closed 14 plants in the United States. After Ronald Reagan took office in January 1981, all of these problems were suddenly blamed on "Reaganomics." (Some things never change.)
By the 1980s, many of the nation's steel plants (especially those near Pittsburgh) operated with only a skeleton crew or were closed. Most of them would soon be dismantled, leaving empty land and blighted towns. U.S. Steel (now USX) would soon diversify into other industries. The steelworkers' union would do likewise. The USW now represents workers from a variety of industries, including transportation, utilities, containers, pharmaceuticals, call centers, and health care. The steel industry of today bears little resemblance to the one depicted in the black-and-white film of the Biden commercial. The forces that destroyed the old industry were set in motion when Donald Trump was a child (or even earlier) and came to fruition around the time Americans were getting tired of Jimmy Carter. "John" mentions none of these facts or any dates other than his own dubious vote for Trump in 2016. In the radio version, "John the steelworker" sums up by saying "Trump bad — Biden good" — as if he does not trust his listeners to understand the majority of the commercial they have just heard. "John's" scriptwriters have good reason for such cynicism.
It should be no surprise that the party (and its media allies) that spent the past four years on impeachment hoaxes, obstruction of justice, racial warfare, etc. would seek to blame President Trump for the events of the 1970s and before. All of the left's attacks on Trump have necessarily been convoluted and confusing. Its own candidate has been filmed molesting children on stage at many different events. That is a difficult cross for the scriptwriters to bear. They cannot win without taking the voters on a strange odyssey of misdirection, lies, and fantasy. Their stories cannot gain traction without endless repetition by a compliant media establishment and the threat of rioting and plague to silence the opposition. Their steel message is not at all different, as no logical argument can possibly tie Trump to the historical problems in the steel industry.
One commercial does not a campaign make. If this commercial constituted the Democrats' only violation of truth and logic, it would make little difference. It would stand out as unusual. It would be seen as a "gaffe." But in a world where the left blames Trump for the consequences of shutdowns in Democrat-run states and riots by leftist mobs, the steel industry commercial is predictable. We can expect no less than indiscriminate blame for long-ago events from the same party (and its allies) that creates new destruction on a daily basis while pointing fingers at Trump.
Predictably, Trump has been blamed for the coronavirus, derogatory comments about veterans, consequences of Democrat-mandated shutdowns, and slashing Social Security. (The last one is no surprise, as every GOP candidate for decades has been accused of proposing the end of Social Security.) The left no longer even tries to maintain a pretense of believability, as its supporters will accept and enable any negative story about Trump. There are, no doubt, more lies to come.
Every four years, the GOP candidate endures the same treatment. Ronald Reagan was going to start a nuclear war. Bob Dole was going to eliminate Social Security. Mitt Romney was going to reinstitute slavery. Donald Trump is responsible for the vacant lots in the former steel towns around Pittsburgh. Each year, the attacks get more bizarre. But we can immunize ourselves against these tactics. We do not know exactly how they are going to lie to us. But we know they are going to lie.
Leftists have their own fact-proof shield that prevents them from hearing the truth. They shout "racism" or "white privilege" when they want to drown out the facts. The rest of us must develop our own defense against lies. Remembering the lies of the past will immunize us to the lies of the future. We can no longer view each issue or each election as a separate event. Every leftist spin on every issue/campaign must be evaluated in the context of all prior such spin. If we remember not merely that they lie, but the specifics of prior lies, the new lies will be less effective.
In the case of the steel commercial, seeing the actual numbers from the proper decade turns the Democrat attack into a parody of itself. Once we see that we are talking about events in the 1970s, we experience a cleansing effect. We are stronger for having gone through this exercise. Future Democrat "commercials" (whether they appear as TV ads or through biased network "reporting" or a hateful rant of some celebrity) become harmless. We will not know every lie in every commercial, but knowing that there is some lie at the heart of each Democrat argument gives us the composure we need to remain steadfast in the face of the coming attacks.