Sunday, July 14, 2019

Crime-Infested Places From Which They Came

By now, everyone has seen President Trump, in a series of three tweets, has proclaimed

So interesting to see 'progressive' Democrat congresswomen, who originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe, the worst, most corrupt and inept anywhere in the world (if they even have a functioning government at all), now loudly and viciously telling the people of the United States, the greatest and most powerful nation on earth, how our government is to be run.

Why don't they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime-infested places from which they came. Then come back and show us how it is done.

These places need your help badly, you can't leave fast enough. I'm sure that Nancy Pelosi would be very happy to quickly work out free travel arrangements!

In response, the Washington Post's Philip Rucker tweeted

During the 2016 campaign, whenever Trump made racist or xenophobic comments there was a small but reliable chorus of Republican office holders who spoke out. Today, there’s silence, nine hours later.

Of course, there is little reason for GOP members of Congress to respond. If they condemn Mr. Trump for these remarks, they may face the wrath of the President. By keeping silent, they avoid a Trump-approved primary opponent. And otherwise excellent journalists such as Rucker imply that, just maybe, Republicans finally have regained their probity.

But of course they haven't. They know they merely have to sit back and watch Democrats remind voters already convinced that Donald Trump is a racist that he is a racist... and voters who resist that conclusion once more get annoyed at Democrats for seemingly attacking as a racist anyone they disagree with.

One of Trump's (unspecified) targets was Representative Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, who referred to the President's "hate filled agenda" and accused him of "stoking white nationalism." No kidding. Another, Representative Ayanna Presley of Massachusetts put out a screenshot of Trump's tweets, remarking (emphasis hers) "THIS is what racism looks like. WE are what democracy looks like."  Nothing new there, either.

Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders noted "when I call the President a racist, this is what I'm talking about." The Speaker's reaction may have been most emblematic of the instinctive Democratic response to, well, almost anything:

However,what they will not see Democrats do is linking Trump's condemnation of the four Democratic congresswomen as attacks on their own Americanism. The New York Times explains

.... only one of the women, Ms. Omar, who is from Somalia, was born outside the United States. Ms. Ocasio-Cortez was born in the Bronx to parents of Puerto Rican descent. Ms. Pressley, who is black, was born in Cincinnati and raised in Chicago. And Ms. Tlaib was born in Detroit to Palestinian immigrants.

New York City. Ohio. Michigan. These are the states of birth of three of the four subjects of Trump's invective. Two of these  states cast their lot for the winning nominee in each of the last three elections, for Obama in 2008 and 2012 and Trump in 2016.

It shouldn't take a marketing genius to craft an ad, maybe even a campaign, charging the President- plausibly- with having denigrated the residents of Ohio and Michigan as being a "complete and total catastrophe" and "crime-infested." Though Trump ran successfully in 2016 on the "Obama and the Democrats have made the USA into a hellhole" platform, he was then a challenger. Now he is the incumbent.

It's conceivable that it won't work. Politics now may be completely bipolar, with Democrats infuriated by the odor of racism and misogyny, and Republicans determined to look the other way no matter the affront.

Nonetheless, much of the mainstream media, never-Trump Republicans, and centrist Democrats  portray voters, especially those of the rust belt central to electoral victory in presidential elections, as hungry for a Democrat who blisters Trump yet is not very liberal. If there is any- any- validity to that argument, Democrats would prosper by an argument that a president fond of Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong-un, and other anti-American despots is contemptuous of his fellow Americans.

Meanwhile, the image of the Democratic Party among many voters in the "heartland" as one which sees not one country but gay vs. straight, women vs. men, "people of color" vs. white would be undermined.  If Democrats don't even recognize that Donald Trump has given them an opening, they're placing their faith in the notion that the nation's changing demographics, which was almost to guarantee them a victory in 2016, is their ticket to victory in 2020.

Or maybe these well-healed critics mean only that the Democratic Party must not nominate Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, or anyone else who would upset the economic status quo. But give it a try.

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