He preached upon “Breadth” till it argued him narrow —
The Broad are too broad to define
And of “Truth” until it proclaimed him a Liar —
The Truth never flaunted a Sign . . .
Those are Emily Dickinson’s words from roughly 150 yrs ago, but when one reads them today, it’s a really good trick to not find oneself immediately ‘thinking’ about Donald Trump. Perfect summation, I’d say; brief, but amazingly cogent and accurate.
Meanwhile, I’ve more or less analyzed the situation as it’s been presented, and have come up with a mere seven words which, to my mind at least, summarize the vast bulk of what Donald Trump really is. For clarity’s sake, I’ve included common definitions of each, which, taken together, result in what’s commonly known as a closed loop:
Stated another way, Trump is a Stupid, Narcissistic, Xenophobic, Racist, Misogynistic and Bigoted Idiot. Not exactly poetic I know, but still a (highly accurate) foolish and senseless closed loop — the very definition of the pinnacle of human crud. Something like that.
Others have their own notions as well, and some even use different words than I’ve noted above. For example:
So it has come to this: Trump 2016.
What first seemed a joke, then an unsettling possibility and then a troubling likelihood, became a grim certainty last week as Donald Trump, real estate developer turned reality show ringmaster turned would-be president, won an emphatic victory in Indiana’s Republican primary. His last remaining rivals, Ted Cruz and John Kasich, both dropped out within 24 hours, leaving Trump the de facto nominee of what used to be called, with some pride, the Party of Lincoln.
[. . .]
When you spend decades stoking people’s insecurities, resentment and outrage, when you devote thousands of radio and television hours to scapegoating the marginalized and demonizing the vulnerable, when you campaign on coded appeals to xenophobia, racism and misogyny, when you make facts optional and lies routine, when you prioritize expedience above integrity and embrace ignorance as somehow more authentically American, you may not credibly profess surprise when you produce a candidate who embodies all those traits.
Mark Sumner at Daily Kos indicts the Republican Party for Trump’s emergence from the political swamp. I can’t disagree.
When it turned out that their policies weren’t enough, Republicans made a bargain with racism to get the votes they needed to stay competitive. And when racism no longer made up the difference, they made a bargain with misogyny to get an edge. And when racism and misogyny together would no longer guarantee a victory, they added xenophobia and religious bigotry. They tacked on bullying, and mockery of science, and the politics of personal destruction.
Then someone forgot that there were supposed to be policies. And here we are. If you go long enough thinking that the ends justify the means, someone is bound to prove you wrong.
I note that both Pitts and Sumner left out Stupid, Narcissistic, and Idiot, but by golly they got the rest right!
1. Conservative operative Roger Stone (who has called for Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders to be killed):
A longtime political operative, Stone has built his reputation on controversy and dirty tricks. During his time on the Nixon campaign, for example, he reportedly created a fake identity, and made multiple donations to Nixon’s opponent from the Young Socialist Alliance. He then tipped off a local newspaper about those donations, to prove Nixon’s opponent was a left-wing extremist.
In 2008, he created an anti-Hillary Clinton group called C.U.N.T., which he said stood for Citizens United Not Timid. Stone later lamented that he could not think of a good acronym for B.I.T.C.H.
2. Katrina Pierson, the face of the Donald Trump campaign:
A former Democrat, [Trump Spokesperson Katrina] Pierson voted for President Obama in 2008, but decided to switch her affiliation to Tea Party Republican after hearing that Obama did not wear an American flag pin on his lapel.
3. Carl Paladino, 2010 (Republican) candidate for Governor of New York:
As a politician, Paladino was one of the original Tea Party heroes. He made headlines more than a few times for what many considered outlandish behavior — He once forwarded emails to colleagues containing racist memes and horse porn; he brandished baseball bats in the state capitol; he bragged about boycotting a gay pride parade; and claimed people on welfare need to be taught personal hygiene. While campaigning for Trump last month, he referred to president Obama as “raccoon in the basement.”
4. Sam Clovis . . . campaign’s national co-chair and senior policy adviser:
Clovis was well-known as a college professor and far-right radio host. He made waves during his time as a radio host for suggesting that President Obama only “claims to be black,” and that Obama’s racial makeup would make it difficult to impeach him.
Shortly after Clovis joined Trump’s campaign as a senior policy adviser, Trump announced his controversial plan to temporarily ban all Muslims from entering the United States. In an interview with the Guardian, Clovis defended the policy, calling it a “reasonable precaution.” “Our view [is that] there is nothing wrong with stepping back and taking a break,” he said.
There are numerous others involved, of course, but just those four seem to amply describe the “Stupid” and the “idiot” parts (resp.) of Trump’s campaign persona to date. Add to them the rest of his staff — Steve Mnuchin, Corey Lewandowski, Carter Page, Edward Klein, Paul Manafort, Michael Glassner, Don McGahn, Hope Hicks, Joseph Schmitz, Daniel Scavino Jr., Gen. Keith Kellogg, Dr. Ben Carson, George Papadopoulos, and Walid Phares — and the presentation of Trump as a Stupid, Narcissistic, Xenophobic, Racist, Misogynistic and Bigoted Idiot is fully explained. The lowest of the low — “foolish and senseless” — now clarified. Trump Summarized.
Or, stated a better and more poetic way,
Simplicity fled from his counterfeit presence
As Gold the Pyrites would shun —
What confusion would cover the innocent Jesus
To meet so enabled a Man!
My suggestion for the New Trump Slogan:
The Best Offense is to be Offensive!