First, let’s briefly analyze the latest pro wrestling spectacle surrounding Donald Trump’s presidential candidacy. There is better, and more important, material on the other side of this column.
Trump is more showman than leader, more carnival barker than politician. As such, he will flourish in the early stages of his White House run so long as he manages to entertain the masses — and when the public’s expectations change from “keep me interested” to “look presidential,” he’s no longer going to be a major factor in the GOP race.
What Trump is doing, and what he did again in scoffing at ancient establishmentarian senator John McCain’s Vietnam record (“He’s a war hero because he was captured; I like people who weren’t captured,” a direct plagiarism of a 2008 Chris Rock comedy bit), isn’t just political theater. He’s sticking pins in the political establishment.
The immigration issue, as Trump raised it, sent the D.C. cocktail-party circuit into conniptions. Why, after the flaccid Mitt Romney campaign fell to Barack Obama in 2012, did not the GOP spend a fortune for the same consultants who found a way to lose that race to tell them how not to lose the next one, and one of the chief recommendations was to make outreach to nonwhite voters? Isn’t Trump destroying the party’s chances to make an outreach to the Hispanic vote?
It’s comical, frankly, to see the writhing in agony. Who suffers most from the presence of Mexican criminals illegally in America? Obviously it’s their neighbors, American citizens living in Hispanic neighborhoods being turned into war zones by gangs like MS-13 and the Latin Kings as the latter’s ranks are swelled by fresh recruits from across the border. While the consultants in D.C. pontificate about “outreach” and how to scam GOP donors into funding expensive and worthless media offensives, Trump actually may appeal to those people by addressing real problems in their communities. If nothing else, his statements are memorable even if his arguments are weak.
And with McCain, Trump’s statement was similarly entertaining if not incisive. Trump actually did say, during his appearance at the Family Leadership Summit, that he at least grudgingly admitted McCain’s war hero status. But he did so in a rather disrespectful fashion — and understandably so since McCain acted similarly in denigrating Trump’s attendees at a Phoenix event on illegal immigration as “crazies.”
McCain’s war record is laudable, and there shouldn’t be any breath wasted in attacking it. That said, there are few politicians extant in America who deserve a good tongue-lashing more than he does. For three decades he has led the Republican league in backstabbing, shameless media whoring, and name-calling. No political figure in America has emptied more clips inside the tent than McCain has, so when someone finally returns the favor and sucks him into a WWF trash-talking war, the rest of us should simply make popcorn and enjoy the show.
The sideshow, that is. Because Trump’s shots at McCain may have happened in Iowa, but the main event took place in McCain’s hometown of Phoenix.
There the annual Netroots Nation conference took place last weekend, and among the participants on stage were a pair of second-level Democrat presidential contenders. Martin O’Malley and Bernie Sanders took turns being interviewed by the perplexing Jose Antonio Vargas, an illegal alien who has nonetheless managed to craft a journalistic career around the concept of oppression and injustice done to his compatriots.
The attendees weren’t the usual cast of unionists, coffeehouse socialists, and soreheads of exotic sexual proclivity. More prominent at this year’s Netroots gathering were the radicals of the #BlackLivesMatter variety, who proceeded in hooting and hectoring O’Malley and Sanders after assaulting the stage and hijacking Vargas’s presentation.
The scene of Sanders’ tribulation, bizarre as it was, was best described by the Washington Free Beacon’s Andrew Stiles…
An avowed socialist was heckled by #BlackLivesMatter protestors while being interviewed by an illegal immigrant and author of a recent documentary about white privilege.
Worse than Sanders’ ordeal was that endured by O’Malley, who made the unpardonable mistake of challenging the #BlackLivesMatter narrative by noting that, in fact, white lives also matter — for which he soon issued a groveling apology.
Sanders and O’Malley are less likely to end up with the Democratic nomination than Trump is to earn the GOP nod, but the #BlackLivesMatter intrusion is a far more significant development than the latter’s various expositions of competitive urination.
Our readers might be familiar with these people owing to their frequent appearances in places like Ferguson and Baltimore, where riot scenes develop as a result of unfortunate encounters between street thugs and police. But the movement has begun gaining steam, progressing to a series of invasions of upscale eateries to disrupt the consumption of brunch with racist harangues through to the weekend’s theatrics. Now, #BlackLivesMatter has proclaimed a list of demands on its website, and a less serious collection of aims you will struggle to find.
When Mother Jones’ Kevin Drum, hardly an apologist for the unjust racist capitalist oligarchy, saw the demands — including the “release of all U.S. political prisoners,” “freedom from mass incarceration and an end to the prison industrial complex,” “a racial justice agenda from the White House that is inclusive of our shared fate as Black men, women, trans and gender-nonconforming people” and “a public education system that teaches the rich history of Black people and celebrates the contributions we have made to this country and the world” — he found himself perplexed. “At the risk of being yet another clueless white guy, I’d be curious to know how this translates into concrete initiatives,” Drum mused.
But while the stupidity and amateurishness of the #BlackLivesMatter crowd continues its display, the Democrats are in no position to squelch their radical agenda. That party, in the age of Obama, has made itself dependent not only on a near-unanimous vote from the black community but also in generating unprecedented turnout from that community. As a result, they’ve seized upon every opportunity to stoke the fires of racial resentment — from Trayvon to Mike Brown to exhuming the graves of dead Confederate military figures, and in doing so they’ve created an entitled class of social justice warriors inside the black community who now constitute a massive electoral liability.
Because while no one truly cares about how Martin O’Malley and Bernie Sanders fare in placating the #BlackLivesMatter mob, the Democrats’ frontrunner Hillary Clinton isn’t succeeding in solving them either.
Back in June, Clinton made the same “error” O’Malley did in saying “All lives matter” at a forum in a Missouri church. But while she dodged the Netroots Nation event (she concocted a scheduling conflict, in no small part thanks to memories of being booed in 2007 when she last addressed it as a presidential candidate), on Monday during a Facebook Q&A she reversed herself and repeated the “Black Lives Matter” mantra, and added this…
Black lives matter. Everyone in this country should stand firmly behind that. We need to acknowledge some hard truths about race and justice in this country, and one of those hard truths is that that racial inequality is not merely a symptom of economic inequality. Black people across America still experience racism every day. Since this campaign started, I’ve been talking about the work we must do to address the systemic inequities that persist in education, in economic opportunity, in our justice system. But we have to do more than talk — we have to take action. For example — we should make sure every police department in the US has body cameras. We should provide alternatives to incarceration for low-level offenders. We should invest in early childhood education for every child. We should fight for voting rights and universal voter registration. You will continue to hear me talking about these issues throughout this campaign and pushing for real solutions. —H
It’s a pabulum statement designed to make the mob go away, but their agenda — which will be formalized at a conference in Cleveland this weekend — doesn’t stop at body cameras and pre-kindergarten. The more the #BlackLivesMatter movement goes beyond a simple urban grievance rabble and begins to look like a well-organized lobby group for street criminals and the race industry, the worse things will be for the Democrats.
There is no way a Hillary Clinton can pander to these people and cultivate the political center. And while an Obama could trade on the good faith of the voting majority and the novelty of being the first black president as a vehicle for (unrealized) racial harmony, the current and likely candidates in the Democrat field don’t have the same ability.
The media largely ignored what happened in Phoenix and wasted your time on a meaningless Trump-vs.-McCain dustup. But the events there have a far more lasting potential effect. #BlackLivesMatter is a weed that will, if it’s allowed to grow, choke the Democrats and break their party.