By George E. Curry, Media Columnist
President Obama has seen this horror movie before. His political opponents not only distorted his positions when he first ran for president, but deliberately lied about his place of birth, asserting that because he – according to their fiction – was not a U.S. citizen, he was not qualified to be president.
Donald Trump, who actually sent a private investigator to Hawaii in an attempt to prove that Obama was not born there, is now the leading Republican presidential contender. And now that he is eliminating his competitors with the irresponsible language and Demolition Derby-style tactics that he hurled at Obama, party leaders are in a panic because it might cost them this year’s election.
Meanwhile, Obama is wondering why anyone is surprised.
“How can you be shocked?” he asked in a speech to the Democratic National Committee event in Austin, Texas. “This is the guy, remember, who was sure that I was born in Kenya – who just wouldn’t let it go. And all this same Republican establishment, they weren’t saying nothing. As long as it was directed at me, they were fine with it. They thought it was a hoot, wanted to get his endorsement. And then now, suddenly, we’re shocked that there’s gambling going on in this establishment.”
He explained, “So they can’t be surprised when somebody suddenly looks and says, you know what, I can do that even better. I can make stuff up better than that. I can be more outrageous than that. I can insult people even better than that. I can be even more uncivil. I mean, conservative outlets have been feeding their base constantly the notion that everything is a disaster, that everybody else is to blame, that Obamacare is destroying the country. And it doesn’t matter whether it’s true or not. It’s not, we disagree with this program, we think we can do it better – it’s, oh, this is a crisis!
“So if you don’t care about the facts, or the evidence, or civility, in general in making your arguments, you will end up with candidates who will say just about anything and do just about anything.”
Among those who didn’t “care about the facts” at the time were former Republican presidential nominees John McCain, Mitt Romney and Romney’s running mate, House Speaker Paul Ryan.
David Remnick, editor of the New Yorker, described Trump as an “American Demagogue” and said he is “the beneficiary of a long process of Republican intellectual decadence.”
He wrote, “Paul Ryan denounces Trump but not the Tea Party rhetoric that propelled his own political ascent. John McCain holds Trump in contempt, but selected as his running mate Sarah Palin, the Know-Nothing of Wasilla, one of Trump’s most vivid forerunners and supporters. Mitt Romney last week righteously slammed Trump as a ‘phony’ and a misogynist, and yet in 2012 he embraced Trump’s endorsement and praised his ‘extraordinary’ understanding of economics.”
Trump outmaneuvered the Republican competition with outright racist appeals that would have derailed any other candidate.
The Republican front-runner has become a favorite of White supremacists, largely by insulting women, “the blacks,” Muslims, the physically disabled while delivering one simple-minded message, according to Ted Koppel: “ ‘We’re gonna be the best, we’re gonna be the greatest, I’m gonna negotiate the best deals you’ve ever seen.’”
Koppel explained, “There is no substance in any of that, and nobody among his followers seems to care about that.”
As Sam Stein and Dana Liebelson reported in The Huffington Post, “Racial slurs, nasty rhetoric and violence at Trump rallies have become commonplace against protesters, bystanders, and reporters. Assaults are committed not only by rowdy Trump fans, but by the staff he employs to keep the events safe. But rather than denounce these incidents, Trump is making them part of his brand, and uses them to rev up crowds.
“‘There may be somebody with tomatoes in the audience,’ Trump warned people at a rally in Iowa last month. “If you see somebody getting ready to throw a tomato, knock the crap out of them, would you? Seriously. Okay? Just knock the hell – I promise you, I will pay for the legal fees.”
“Trump has even threatened to personally get in on the action. ‘I’d like to punch him in the face, I’ll tell ya,’ he said of a protester on Feb. 22.”
Trump has become the Republican Party’s Frankenstein monster. In the horror movie, Victor Frankenstein creates a creature from the body parts of the deceased. He discovers his experiment has gone awry and expects the creature to die, but he doesn’t. Once the creature is rejected by society, he extracts revenge by killing everyone Frankenstein loves.
There is no doubt that the person who has been referred to as “Frankentrump” is killing the Republican Party.
Historian Nina Turner said on CNN, “It is ironic to me that some of the same Republicans right now, some of them who are calling out Mr. Trump, did not call him out when he pushed the birther movement on our African American President Barack Obama. They were nowhere to be found, they thought it was cute. Now that it’s plaguing their house, it’s not so cute anymore.”
George E. Curry, former editor-in-chief of Emerge: Black America’s Newsmagazine, is editor-in-chief of EmergeNewsOnline.com, an African American-oriented news website and monthly digital magazine. A popular keynote speaker, Curry can be reached through his Web site, georgecurry.com You can also follow him at www.twitter.com/currygeorge, George E. Curry Fan Page on Facebook, and Periscope.