Monday, September 19, 2016

Birtherism And Basket Cases

This weekend proved that the mainstream media is incapable of handling the sheer volume of dishonesty and deceit that oozes out of the Trump campaign.  After Donald Trump brazenly lied about his role in the birther movement on Friday, blaming Hillary Clinton for originating this easily discredited racist conspiracy theory and crediting himself for putting an end to it -- his surrogates went on the national teevee talk shows over the weekend and doubled-down, pushing the same blatant falsehoods.  The sheer audacity of Republican party stalwarts, from Chris Christie to Reince Preibus, lying to their incredulous hosts who did little more than stammer in response, demonstrated more clearly than ever that we have gone through the looking glass.  The truth no longer seems to matter.

In sum,
  • The notion that Barack Obama was born in Kenya was an insidious, racist conspiracy theory launched from the fringes of the right wing in order to delegitimize the first African American president. 
  • Donald Trump's transformation from real estate tycoon/reality TV star to a presidential candidate was triggered by his endorsement of the birther conspiracy; it has been a key part of his political identity that he continued to nurture for five years -- until Friday.
  • On Friday, he grudgingly conceded that Obama was, in fact, born in the United States without explaining what happened to the clear and convincing evidence he claimed to have to the contrary.  And he falsely claimed that Clinton was responsible for initiating birtherism and he, Trump, put a stop to it. 
  • Over the weekend, his campaign and surrogates continued to lie about Trump's and Clinton's respective roles in the birther movement.  
40% of Americans of voting age are Republicans who will vote for any Republican candidate regardless of their racist, misogynist, xenophobic or anti-Muslim views (and, Clinton is right that about half of the 40% will do so because of those views).  This 40% also doesn't care that he lies about virtually everything, has a long and dishonorable history of corruption, is remarkably ignorant and unable to articulate any policy proposal without lapsing into gibberish, and leans heavily towards fascism as a governing principle.  They certainly are not troubled that he will never release his tax returns or provide further details about his Foundation or the Trump Organization, or truthfully answer questions about his finances, his philanthropy (or lack thereof) or his entanglements with foreign governments and businesses that may conflict with U.S. policy prerogatives.

Deplorable, but whatever.

Trump still needs 51% to win, right?  So what about the other 11% who seem to float back and forth between the two candidates depending on the news cycle? 

What's up with these folks? Are they too pure to vote for Clinton because she is not the perfect progressive candidate and they are fed up with voting for what they see as the lesser of two evils?  Are they too disillusioned to believe there is any real difference between Trump and Clinton and they assume that our government will put adequate checks on potential abuses of power?  Are they so frustrated with the political system that they want to shake things up or tear it all down despite the damage a Trump presidency would do to the environment, the economy, the courts and justice system and our relations with the world. 

This latest round of utter mendacity should be a wake up call to every decent person who somehow has missed the fact that Trump's entire campaign is based on racism and lies.  To vote for Trump because you are a Republican who believes that his presidency will advance your political philosophy is one thing.  To vote for Trump -- or to vote for a "protest" candidate or no one at all, thereby increasing his electoral odds -- out of  frustration or cynicism or apathy is truly deplorable.


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