After finally getting the endorsement of House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Donald Trump frittered the goodwill away. Trump called a judge born in Indiana a “Mexican.” Rather than apologize, Trump, at first, doubled and tripled down, until finally saying that he didn’t mean that the judge’s ethnicity equaled bias.
That Trump fired his campaign manager shows that he’s not oblivious to criticism. Reportedly, his children came to him and told him that now ex-campaign manager Corey Lewandowski must go. Trump’s critics had called him immune to change, and Lewandowski’s dismissal shows that they were wrong. Most, of course, now say this won’t matter, revealing that their dislike of Trump had little to do with his campaign manager.
But assuming Trump now starts to pay attention to those with more major-league experience, this only addresses problem one.
Problem two is weak-kneed Republicans, deathly afraid of being accused of racism, sexism or any kind of -ism. When Democrats whip out the race card, the Nazi card or the bigot card, Republicans pretend they didn’t see it. Republican leaders said nothing when Al Gore accused then-President George W. Bush of employing “squadrons of digital Brown Shirts” to go after media outlets that were “critical of the president.” Digital Brown Shirts? As in Hitler’s street thugs?
Then-Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., accused George W. Bush of genocide during Hurricane Katrina. Frank said Bush engaged in “ethnic cleansing by inaction.” He later explained that Bush intentionally allowed Katrina to get out of hand so that blacks would leave, making “a much richer, much whiter New Orleans,” ensuring that Louisiana would remain a red state in perpetuity. Republicans said nothing.
Vice President Joe Biden, addressing a group of blacks, said then-Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, if elected, would “unchain” Wall Street and that was “going to put y’all back in chains.” Republicans said virtually nothing.
When then-Sen. Hillary Clinton, before a predominantly black audience, accused Republicans of running the House of Representatives “like a plantation — and you know what I’m talking about,” Republican leaders said nothing.
Rep. Charlie Rangel, D-N.Y., once the chair of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, called George W. Bush “our Bull Connor,” referring to the notorious Birmingham, Alabama, public superintendent of safety who sicced dogs and turned water hoses on civil rights marchers. More recently, he said about Republicans: “They hate. … Some of them believe that slavery isn’t over, and that they won the Civil War.” Republican leaders said nothing.
Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, in 2011, said Republicans “want to literally drag us all the way back to Jim Crow laws” because some Republican states push for photo voter ID. Never mind that the majority of blacks also support voter ID. Republican leaders said nothing.
Donna Brazile, then Al Gore’s 2000 campaign manager, told a Washington Post interviewer that the Republican Party has a “white-boy attitude.” Silence from Republicans.
The list is far too long for an 800-word column. Note that these racist, bigoted, incendiary statements occurred well before Donald Trump arrived on the scene as a candidate, let alone as the presumptive Republican nominee. Rather then defend themselves against these insulting and baseless charges, and teach the voters about the despicable way Democrats play the game, Republicans seldom remind voters of their admirable history as the champions of civil rights for blacks. Instead, they turn on their own in an attempt to show that, “Hey, I’m not a racist.” So Trump has to battle Republicans who have been cowed into submission by the insistent — and effective — race-card playing of the Democratic Party.
Where were Republicans when reportedly, during the 2008 campaign, Bill Clinton told Sen. Ted Kennedy about Barack Obama, “A few years ago, this guy would have been getting us coffee”? Or when a credible book described Hillary Clinton calling her husband’s failed 1974 congressional campaign manager a “f—ing Jew bastard”?
Trump’s third problem is the media’s ever-present, full-blown disdain for Republicans, whether the party’s leader is named Romney, Bush, Reagan or Trump. Give them ammunition, as Trump often does, combine that with Republicans’ refusal to fire back by pointing to the Democrats’ shameless bigot mongering — and Trump finds himself on an island, pretty much alone.
Trump can still win. It’s still the economy, stupid. This remains the worst economic recovery in the lifetime of the voters. Most believe we are on the wrong track economically, and on the wrong track as to foreign policy. Trump must focus on those two main issues, as well on as the deep ethical flaws of his opponent. To drastically understate the case, Hillary Clinton is a target-rich opponent.
But Trump must also give a severe, long overdue tongue-lashing to Republicans. He should offer up example after example from the cesspool of the Democrats’ vulgar, cynical, conniving, race-baiting tactics. He should attack Democrats’ hypocrisy for then pointing to Republicans and screaming “racism”! This double standard must stop.
It’s time for Trump to ask the media and especially his fellow Republicans, “Why the silence?”