Trumplicate, Or The Gift That Keeps On Giving

« December 2015 »


When I hear people talking about Donald Trump these days, one common refrain is that "it's not funny anymore". That's wrong. It's exactly as funny as it's always been. It's not my fault you overestimated the American public in general and the Republican base in particular. Some of us have been paying attention to the response trend to IDIOTS SAYING THE DAMNDEST THINGS!

"Politifact is a group that if I said something right down the middle they are always going to be negative. They are leaning in a certain direction, and no matter what you do with them, I mean they are a very dishonest group in my opinion.” - Donald Trump, responding to Politifact essentially awarding Lie of the Year to everything that's ever come out of Trump's mouth.

The key to Trump's success in this campaign, you see, is the same as the key to what success he's had in business. It's recognizing when an environment has lax or no enforcement, and taking shameless advantage of that at every opportunity. And there's no enforcement system in place for lying or being a complete non-stop dickbag in politics.

And as with most other rules and the enforcement thereof, it's Republicans who've gradually eroded that enforcement away, through cries of liberal bias, constant effort to delegitimize the very concept of a fact, and of course, their own parallel disinformation apparatus. Trump's just running an advanced iteration of the Sarah Palin playbook, and it's working like gangbusters because one, he has a penis, and two, he knows enough to know not to try using too many big words.

"Even a race to Obama, she was gonna beat Obama. I don't know who would be worse, I don't know, how could it be worse? But she was going to beat -- she was favored to win -- and she got schlonged, she lost, I mean she lost," - Donald Trump, staying classy.

Since this quote made the rounds, I've seen a fair amount of analysis detailing the specific sexism of a woman getting hit by a man's penis, or schlong. Which, I think, misses the point, because it assumes a level of intent behind Trump's phrasing that there has never, ever been any evidence for. I mean, sure, Trump's a sexist. Just like he's a racist. He's just not, you know. trying to be.

In many ways, Trump's sexism (and racism) is the world's worst example of Malcolm Gladwell's 10,000 Hours thing. Trump's belittling of women is so practiced that it's essentially muscle memory at this point. He didn't say "schlonged" because he was trying to reinforce a masculine-feminine, strong-weak power dynamic that would play off common stereotypes to give him an edge over Hillary Clinton amongst those who hold to those stereotypes. He said "schlonged" because he's the kind of guy who says "schlonged".

"You look at the attack in California the other day — numerous people, including the mother that knew what was going on. They saw a pipe bomb sitting all over the floor. They saw ammunition all over the place. They knew exactly what was going on. I would be very, very firm with families. Frankly, that will make people think, because they may not care much about their lives, but they do care, believe it or not, about their families’ lives.” - Donald Trump, defending his plan to commit war crimes.

Pundits keep saying that eventually, the American electorate will stop focusing on spectacle and start focusing on temperament and policy. And this is true. And they say this will be Trump's downfall. And that's where they keep going horribly wrong.

Killing terrorists' families is, in fact, a temperament. And a policy initiative. Sure, deliberately targeting civilians is a war crime, but it's a war crime that's supported by the Republican base. It's a temperament and a policy they agree with, because fuck me, they're brown and they probably knew what was going on anyway so they're not really innocent. But mostly, they're brown. This, ultimately, is the hurdle Ted Cruz needs to overcome. Because Cruz positions himself as the candidate for racists who aren't comfortable admitting they're racists. And Donald Trump is making it a lot more comfortable to be racist.