Thursday, July 18, 2019


President Trump wants America to focus its attention on the allegedly radical, socialist, anti-Semitic policy positions of the four congresswomen known as the Squad. So how is Trump's attention-focusing project working out?

Let's look at some current headlines.

* AP: "Trump Leans On Issue of Race in Bid for a 2nd Term in 2020"

* Daily Beast: "Trump Rally Crowd Launches Into ‘Send Her Back’ Chant Over Ilhan Omar"

* Mediaite: "Trump Rally Crowd Chants ‘SEND HER BACK!’ as POTUS Tears Into Ilhan Omar"

* CNN: "'Send Her Back!' Chant Shows Trump's Ugly Plan to Get Reelected"

* New York Times:

What happened last night? At a rally, Trump attacked the members of the Squad, explaining why they're bad for America. What are we talking about today? Not the Squad. We're talking about Trump. We're talking about his supporters chanting "Send her back!" during Trump's attack on Ilhan Omar. We're talking about the racism, McCarthyism, and mob mentality of Trump and his base.

We're talking about Trump's racism for the fifth consecutive day.

A separate article in the Times tries to argue that the story of this week is Democratic failure, but this isn't what we're talking about -- in fact, it's all being buried by Trump's race-baiting:
But in recent days, thanks to Mr. Trump’s penchant for stirring up the hottest of political controversies and simmering divisions within their own ranks, House Democrats have not seemed to be able to get out of their own way. This week has been a case in point.

Mr. Trump’s tweets prompted a rush by Democratic leaders to press a resolution condemning him. The vote on the measure took place on Tuesday, and the floor debate devolved into an extraordinarily polarizing spectacle as Republicans and Democrats argued about whether it was appropriate for [Nancy] Pelosi to have branded the president’s tweets “racist.”

Then [Texas congressman Al] Green’s decision to force action on his impeachment resolution stretched the narrative into Wednesday, overshadowing marquee Democratic issues, including a vote this week to raise the minimum wage to $15 and one to repeal a tax on high-cost employer-sponsored health plans.
But Democratic votes on bread-and-butter issues were being ignored even at times earlier this year when Trump wasn't trying to hog the spotlight. What's noteworthy right now is that the impeachment vote, which split the Democratic caucus, could have been today's lead story -- message: Dems are in disarray and Trump is triumphant -- but instead we're talking about the thuggish menace of Trump and his voters.

I see Republicans on TV desperately trying to argue that this is really all about the fear of socialism, but Trump just keeps making it personal -- it's all about attacking the members of the Squad, and it's all about sustaining his own pleasure in being the most important person in the news cycle.

Does this work on Trump's base the way he intends it to work? Sure. They're lying to themseves and insisting that the real issue is socialism or anti-Semitism or whatever. Race, they'll tell you, is the furthest thing from their minds. They're patriots, not a mob exulting in the idea of purging an undesirable. I'm sure they'd all tell you that.

But they were going to vote for Trump anyway. The rest of us are just being reminded every day of what Trump is like at his absolute worst.

A skilled demagogue could get out of his own way and let the anti-Squad talking points be the story. But Trump can't do that. He wants to be the center of attention. He wants to outrage his enemies and exult in the love of his mob.

He wants that too much. It's keeping him from getting his message out. All we're talking about is him.

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