February 26, 2016
Full disclosure: I fell asleep before the very end of Thursday night’s GOP presidential debate, so I know not whether somebody won – in the overwrought words of CNN’s introductory hype segment – THE EPIC BATTLE FOR THE SOUL OF THE REPUBLICAN PARTY.
I’m running on the assumption that soul possession is still up for grabs even if the nomination remains so in theory alone.
Here’s what I think I know: Donald Trump is untouchable. Huff and puff and try to blow Trump Tower down with zingers and legitimate gripes as Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz might – and did – their words won’t sway many folks’ ballot-box behavior during primary season.
Trump’s gimmick works with the angry white-dude audience that it’s designed to instill mental lockstep within. The way he talks to establishment suits makes them feel as if they’re talking down to the man, and they’re doing so for them.
The same can be said for stories that delve into Trump’s “orgy of irresponsibility," deconstruct his debating style, note that a former KKK grand wizard is aboard the Trump train or wonder aloud whether a quote can be attributed to the orange-hued former Atlantic City bankruptcy-protection seeker or Adolf Hitler, Frank Rizzo or Frank Reynolds from "It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia."
No sane mind should be comfortable with discussions about instituting a “Deportation Force” and the hooting and hollering that accompany Orangeman’s ignorantly belittling response to Mexico’s former president declaring, in no uncertain terms, that he will “not pay for that f------ wall.”
But here’s the thing: Trump’s gimmick works with the angry white-dude audience that it’s designed to instill mental lockstep within. The way he talks to establishment suits makes them feel as if they’re talking down to the man, and they’re doing so for them.
One needn’t look any further than a conversation I had recently at a Philadelphia watering hole for evidence. It went something like this:
Two white dudes: Trump is the best.
Me: No, he most certainly is not.
Two white dudes: Shut up, libtard. Donald Trump worked his way up from the curbside to real-estate success with no help, and enough about the immigration talk. Jimmy Carter banned Muslims from the country. Why isn’t anybody talking about that, dude?
Me: Because it’s 2016. And, oh yeah, that didn’t happen. [Back to eating a burger – cheddar and bacon – and internally debating whether Paris, France, or Barcelona, Spain, is a better destination to move the family in November.]
So, yeah, we’re going to be dealing with Trump – and his poorly educated, in-need-of-a-daily-Stuart-Smalley-pep-talk minions – through, at a minimum, early November.
All of which is to say get used to it. Still, it’s incumbent upon sane folk not to react with either stunned silence or dismissive giggling.
This is why Trump’s comments on Planned Parenthood at Thursday night’s big show, in a state that Cruz calls home but will be mercilessly mocked in after losing to Orangeman, warrant further probing.
Amid a discussion about the bench vacancy left by late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s death among hunting-club frat bros, Trump’s chirpy foes returned to what they hope is their money line: The front-runner totally digs abortion because he defends Planned Parenthood.
Trump’s response captured my attention before dozing off shortly thereafter. Take a look:
"As far as Planned Parenthood is concerned, I'm pro-life, I'm totally against abortion having to do with Planned Parenthood, but millions and millions of women – cervical cancer, breast cancer – are helped by Planned Parenthood.
“So you can say whatever you want, but they have millions of women going through Planned Parenthood that are helped greatly."
It was at this point that I started thinking to myself: “Whoa, Trump is really leaving GOP orthodoxy behind and actually stepping up for women’s health care access despite sticking to the requisite pro-life banner. Clarity and empathy have seeped into his wandering inner monologue. Good for him. Good for America. USA! USA! USA!”
Well, that theory flew out the window when he didn’t turn the quote faucet to the off position.
"And I wouldn't fund it. I would defund it because of the abortion factor, which they say is 3 percent – I don't know what percentage it is, but I would defund it because I'm pro-life. But millions of women are helped by Planned Parenthood."
Are you (insert word from former Mexican president’s “fence” quote here) kidding me?
Here we have a human being who acknowledges a valuable service for millions upon millions of American women yet, because it provides a legal procedure, he’d strip it of funding?
This is the height of double-talk, unpredictable hypocrisy and predictable political pandering. It represents the true danger Trump presents to citizens of a nation born in this here city in 1776.
Here’s how I translate Trump’s quote: Sure, women facing potential life-or-death diagnoses benefit from Planned Parenthood’s services, but they should be sacrificed at the altar of inserting politics into medicine. Final score: Cancer 2,000,000, Women, 0.
That probably plays well in the minds of Republicans who would never admit they voted for the tax-return-shielding “outsider,” even though they will, especially if he faces Hillary Clinton in the general election.
If you’re the type of person who’s willing to let “morality” politics outweigh compassion for a gender’s medical necessities, you’re not the type of person who should be in a position of any power.
But I’ll give Trump and his low-IQ fanboys one thing: They’re bringing me closer and closer to the day where I’ll be able take the Metro to the Collblanc station, stroll over to the Camp Nou and regularly watch Lionel Messi, Neymar, Luis Suarez and the rest of the Blaugrana represent my new hometown on the pitch.