One media outlet called it the “Grande wacky.” I might have referred to the now concluded Republican convention in Cleveland as “bizzaro” as sometimes used to refer to politicians who resemble that remark. Instead, as evidenced by the title above I call it the “Last Hurrah” which is probably correct either way.
Donald J. Trump they said, was too liberal to win the Republican nomination. But he did. He came in from the left and then moved to right with his metaphoric comb-over and landed in the arms of the TEA Party zealots. At first, he at least managed to offend with an ambiguous, equal opportunity style of insult. But then it seemed to me that his bombast became more congealed, less ambiguous and that the ultra right rhetoric seemed more likely to remain his platform.
Then he chose Mike Pence to be his running mate based on the rationale that he needed to appeal to conservative delegates at the convention. But, he already had the nomination in hand, and I thought and I still do, that he needs a moderate to help carry disenfranchised democrats and independents in the general election. Grinch, I thought, would fill the bill because he could have been president eight years ago if he just would’ve agreed to build that wall.
Then, in his acceptance speech, Donald J. Trump promised to protect the LGBTQ community in direct contradiction to the anti-gay, homophobic, non-inclusive platform already chosen by the delegates. The crowd went wild with applause and approbation. There’s nothing like training a heard of penquins to clap right before you give them something they don’t really want to clap about.
So, what’s in gonna be, Trump? Is he going to come back to center leaving Pence to mollify the TEA Party Zealots? Or, is he going to stay on the far right, except for his economically pragmatic decision to love the homos? Trump is a fascination study in how to fascinate the people who are watching you but, as the saying goes, at some point you gotta fish or cut bait.
The New York Times now says that there’s a 75% chance of Hillary winning. I think she could have narrowed that margin if she had chosen Elizabeth Warren for her running mate. Since she didn’t, Trump still has to appeal to the moderates that Pence won’t attract. My gut feeling is that the moderates will read through his ambiguous rhetoric toward the LGBTQ crowd, which is still only a narrow sliver of the issues that moderate voters are concerned with.
Trump’s declaring that he is the “law and Order” candidate, for instance, is recognized by many as an insulting and unambiguous throw back to the racism of the 60’s. And, that illustrates why it will probably be the last hurrah of the uppity white folks either way. Because, even if Trump can pull off his second miracle and win the general election, the demographics that have changed over the last forty years and that made electing Obama president possible, are still changing out of the favor of the “angry white male,” which Trump seems to typify. So, either the convention was the last hurrah, or a presidency marked by the obnoxious and arrogant uppity white man will be.
Don’t misunderstand me. Conservative white men can and still will be elected president in this country. But as a white man, I resent the stereo-typical Trump. It just isn’t necessary. Secure borders aren’t really about racism. Secure airports aren’t really about racism. Fair and effective law-enforcement really isn’t about racism. Inclusiveness doesn’t have to be about whether you agree or understand or make money on the target group, just that you are humane and are willing to accept that your version of heaven isn’t going to be on earth anyway.
Either way it does all add up. If Trump loses, he will be revered as the master of living satire for all eternity. If he wins, he will be the subject of living satire for the next four to eight years. As a journalist – JACKPOT! I win Trumps lotto. As am American, I’m not so sure.
© 2016 – Jim Casey
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