One of the ironies in Donald Trump’s elevation to something more than presidential candidate – to a veritable Trumpope – is that he was the best of the 17 guys vying for the nomination.
It is easy not to see this under the impression of misogyny and racism that he naturally projects. But compare him to his rivals, and it soon becomes apparent.
As Cruz astutely put it (in tones that would have made Uriah Heep blush), Trump has long been a Democrat on the issues that tickle the cold dead heart of the usual GOP constituency. Trump will be, in public, a horrible misogynist, treating women the way, well, Cruz’s elbow treats his wife. But on policy issues, Trump is actually much better for women than his rivals. His opposition to abortion is a conversion of convenience; where his rivals talked of shutting down Planned Parenthood and maybe lynching the people who work for it, Trump doesn’t care.
On race, of course, Trump has shown himself to be the most overtly racist candidate since George Wallace. But again, his rivals, the mealymouthed Minis, whilst giving lip service to white Euphemism culture, have long been fully on board the vote suppression policy. It is not Trump, but GOP governors, who have been wildly promoting IDs for voters and cutting funds for voting. We already know how Jeb Bush handled the voter issue when he was governor of Florida – with exemplary corruption.
On immigration, Trump’s hallmark issue, he is of course a fascist. But the temper of the fascism of his rivals can be measured by how quickly they picked up on his proposals – from the Rubio who turned his back on his only (little) achievement in Congress to Cruz, they have all pledged to be hunters of the immigrant, expellers of the immigrant, and sworn enemy of “anchor babies”.
Trump’s penchant for turning a dog whistle into a Bronx cheer has turned the heads of the pundits, put them in a sweat. Many have written that Trump represents a never before seen white nativist political phenomenon.
Hmm. I’ve actually seen this white nativist political phenomenon before. It was both parties before 1965. And it has been the standard and pundit accepted factor in GOP victories since 1968.
It is this that makes me think that Trump is playing a part not in some Shakespeare comedy, but in an Ibsen melodrama, in which the community’s repressed but vigorously pursued life is suddenly put on display, for all to see. Ghosts. The GOP and a goodly portion of the Dems have been racist and sexist for years – in fact, all those years trickling back to the foundation of this slaveholding republic.
We can’t pretend, at the moment, that this ain’t so, hence the weird media panic. Which is, it should be noted, a very white panic. This has not been a secret to African Americans, with the exception of Judge Thomas.
So I am relieved that Clinton’s opponent, on the off chance that she loses, is going to be Trump. Cruz or Rubio would really have been alarming.