Sunday, August 02, 2015

Trump Supporters Want A Daddy Even More Than A President


Truman Capote, from his unfinished book Answered Prayers: "In fact, I was a kind of Hershey Bar whore-- there wasn't much I wouldn't do for a nickel's worth of chocolate."

Yesterday, the NYTimes fleshed out the conventional wisdom about Trump being a racist and a latter-day Know-Nothing. They pointed out, as an example, that when he wanted to prevent a rival casino from getting into business 15 years ago, he ran ugly ads that said, "The St. Regis Mohawk Indian record of criminal activity is well documented... Are these the new neighbors we want?" This morning on ABC's This Week said if the GOP Establishment doesn't treat him fairly and he felt burned, he might run as a third-party candidate-- a potent threat since it would virtually guarantee that Bernie or Hillary win the White House.

Long before Mr. Trump announced his bid for the Republican presidential nomination, roiling the 2016 election with his pugnacious style and speeches in which he has branded many undocumented immigrants as rapists and murderers, he had proved himself in New York as an expert political provocateur with an instinct for racially charged rhetoric.

...Mr. Trump acknowledged that his style can be offensive to some, but he defended it as essential for communicating his message.

“It would be nice to be somewhat gentler,” he said in an interview this week, “but at the same time, I don’t think I would be able to make the point nearly as well, whether it’s the death penalty or other things, totally unrelated.”

Mr. Trump said it was “not my intention” to speak in racially provocative terms, but expressed little interest in softening his language. “It’s very time-consuming to be politically correct,” he said, “and I don’t like wasting a lot of time.”

...Rowena General, who was chief of staff for the St. Regis Mohawks in 2000, said Mr. Trump’s ad campaign was a cynical attempt to use fear about race and crime to protect his business investments. The tenor of his presidential campaign, she said, was “not surprising at all, considering our experience with him.”

Eleven years earlier, Mr. Trump had financed what was perhaps an even more charged advertisement days after the brutal assault on the jogger in Central Park. The ad, in the form of an open letter from Mr. Trump, was topped with two sentences that blared: “Bring Back the Death Penalty. Bring Back Our Police!”

The message, which appeared in four publications, including the New York Times, channeled widespread anger and fear about violent crime. Invoking the image of “roving bands of wild criminals” wreaking havoc on the streets, Mr. Trump’s letter rebuked Mayor Edward I. Koch, a Democrat who supported the death penalty, for urging New Yorkers not to turn to hate in the aftermath of the Central Park assault.

“I want to hate these muggers and murderers,” Mr. Trump wrote in the ad. “They should be forced to suffer and, when they kill, they should be executed for their crimes.”

The rape and near-murder in Central Park rocked New York in the midst of the 1989 mayoral race, becoming a chilling symbol of a city seemingly out of control. Over time, it also came to represent the flaws in the criminal justice system. Five young, black men who were arrested and imprisoned for carrying out the attack, known as the Central Park Five, had their convictions vacated years later after another man, Matias Reyes, confessed to the crime.

State Senator Bill Perkins, a Democrat who at the time was president of the tenants’ association at Schomburg Plaza, the Manhattan apartment complex where several of the defendants lived, said he was horrified to see Mr. Trump emerge as a contender for the presidency. A framed copy of Mr. Trump’s 1989 newspaper ad hangs in Mr. Perkins’s Harlem office as a reminder, he said, of an ugly moment in the city’s recent past.

“This was taking a moment, a very unfortunate and one might say racially tense moment in our city, and fueling a lynch mob,” Mr. Perkins, who is black, said of the ad. “This is the Donald Trump that we have to remember as we pay attention to his ranting, his continuous ranting and carrying on.”

...Two years after running the ads about the Central Park case, Mr. Trump drew accusations of racism during a lobbying effort in Palm Beach, where he was seeking to subdivide the palatial estate known as Mar-a-Lago. As he faced considerable opposition from the town, articles appeared almost simultaneously in both The New York Post and The Palm Beach Daily News reporting, based on anonymous sources, that he might sell the property to the Unification Church.

The church, which was founded by the Rev. Sun Myung Moon and viewed by many at the time as a cult, roundly denied any interest in the property and accused Mr. Trump of using the faith as a racial and religious cudgel against officials in the Florida town. Dr. James A. Baughman, who led the church’s branch in the United States at the time, said then that the church had no interest in the property. Mr. Trump, he said, was using “the Unification Church as a scare tactic in an attempt to compel Palm Beach officials to submit to the will of Mr. Trump.”

...In the presidential campaign, Mr. Trump has discussed crime and immigration in explicitly alarmist terms. He has highlighted murders committed by undocumented immigrants, and has repeatedly referred to an undocumented Mexican immigrant who has been charged with killing a young woman in San Francisco as “this animal.”

The furor over his comments led NBC to sever its ties with him: He will no longer be associated with the “Apprentice” franchise, and NBC’s parent, NBCUniversal, said the network would no longer carry the Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants, part of a joint venture with Mr. Trump.

He said that there might be some value in speaking with greater restraint, but that that would exact its own price: “I might not get my point across nearly as well.”

“The interesting thing is,” he said, “I am probably the least racist person that you will ever speak to.”
Probably not. But one thing is for sure, Trump is the least self-aware person running for president, perhaps ever. Not that that keeps the dregs of the uneducated Republican base from flocking to his Know-Nothing banner. 

A new Gravis poll in Iowa shows he's even upending the strategy for victory the Koch brothers have laid out for their puppet candidate, Scott Walker, the conveniently located governor of neighboring Wisconsin. Walker was supposed to gain big momentum by winning in Iowa. He's now in second place, with 15.4% to Trump's 30.9%. Wisconsin broadcast media makes Walker a familiar figure to many Iowans, especially in Dubuque, Cedar Rapids, Waterloo, Iowa City, and the Decorah area. His support among Iowa Republicans is more than double the support of religious-right contenders like Huckabee (6.0%) and Bobby Jindal (7.2%), and he absolutely trounces nationally known figures like Senator Ted Cruz (5.5%), Governor John Kasich (5.0), Senator Marco Rubio (2.8%) and Governor Chris Christie (0.8%). 

But his lead over these candidates proved inconsequential when Trump denounced him last week in no uncertain terms. "Wisconsin’s doing terribly. It’s in turmoil," he told Iowa voters, who already know this from Wisconsin media reports. "The roads are a disaster because they don’t have any money to rebuild them. They’re borrowing money like crazy. They projected a $1 billion surplus, and it turns out to be a deficit of $2.2 billion. The schools are a disaster. The hospitals and education was a disaster. And he was totally in favor of Common Core!" And Walker began crashing.

What was that about Trump manufacturing his signature overpriced ties in China? Did you think it was hypocrisy? Reuters reports that Trump owns companies that have sought to import at least 1,100 foreign workers on temporary visas since 2000.

Nine companies majority-owned by Trump have sought to bring in foreign waitresses, cooks, vineyard workers and other laborers on temporary work-visa programs administered by the Labor Department.

The candidate's foreign talent hunt included applications for an assistant golf-course superintendent, an assistant hotel manager and a banquet manager.

Two of his companies, Trump Model Management and Trump Management Group LLC, have sought visas for nearly 250 foreign fashion models, the records show... Trump has positioned himself as a champion of American workers whose livelihoods are threatened by illegal foreign laborers and the offshoring of U.S. jobs.

“I will be the greatest jobs president that God every created," he said in announcing his candidacy on June 16. "I will bring back our jobs from China, Mexico and other places. I will bring back jobs and our money."
Trump's cheap jingoism was made for these backward Iowa Republicans. As Joan Walsh pointed out at Salon yesterday, Trump's supporters "are not thinking. They want to be entertained." She was talking about a Republican focus group in New Hampshire. One in Iowa, for all the differences between the two states, is likely to be identical. Because those differences don't affect the low end of the GOP base.
But actually listening to those voters, it’s hard to take much they said seriously. Their Trump praise frequently reflects their Obama disdain-- calling a potential Trump White House “classy” is an implicit assertion that the current occupants of the White House aren’t “classy”-- and their support of Trump’s “solutions” makes no sense.

Bloomberg quotes “Roger, who works with the elderly,” saying: “Specifically, he said he’ll put a wall on the southern border. When you talk about common sense, that’s a common-sense thing to do.”

If Roger thinks erecting a wall on our 2,000-mile southern border with Mexico is “a common-sense thing to do,” I worry a little bit about the elderly he works with.

There’s a childlike wishful thinking in these voters’ belief that Trump can solve all the country’s problems by being “tough.” And that’s what I meant with my reference to the “lowest common denominator”-- I actually wasn’t referring to the voters themselves (in fact, that makes no sense); I was talking about the solutions they seem to embrace for the country’s woes. Pining for a “tough” guy who’s done well in “business” but is “one of us” is simplistic and a little scary. Most of that New Hampshire focus group seemed to want a daddy, not a president.
The new Trump and the old Trump are the same Trump-- predictably attractive to sad GOP rubes. "He talks a good game but he lacks character" comes out of this documentary about the ridiculous huckster:

Labels: , , , , , ,


At 6:20 PM, Blogger ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

But one thing is for sure, Trump is the least self-aware person running for president, perhaps ever.

I cast asparagus on your assertion, Howie!

Compared to Ricky Santorum? How about Governor Smart Glasses?


Post a Comment

<< Home