Is Donald Trump a Political Genius or a Clown Irrestibly Driven by His Vile Impulses?

I just said the talking heads talk this morning of two silly questions. And the question posed in the headline above is, of course, the second of these. It is occasioned, of course, by the fact that yesterday’s vile tweetstorm took place before Trump’s announcement, in the afternoon, that he was going to replace the competent Director of National Intelligence with a boot licking sycophant, someone inclined to enable Trump more effectively to fulfill his mission as a Russian intelligence asset.

Those focusing only on the vile tweetstorm picked “clown irrestibly driven by his vile impulses.” But other talking heads, looking at the two things together, thought that “political genius” might be the better choice.

The question is silly because the dichotomy is false.

six blind men

The poem tells us that the six blind men were not unintelligent: in fact, they were “to learning much inclined.” Feeling the elephant’s tail and “seeing” a rope was not an act of “genius,” but neither was it evidence that the blind man grasping the rope was a “clown.” What happened, simply, was that each of the six, familiar with only part of the evidence, drew a reasonable but incorrect conclusion from the limited evidence within his grasp.

Donald Trump sees and understands that a large portion of our population are stone cold racists. Because he has no moral limits, and because he, himself, is a stone cold racist, Donald Trump correctly understands that he can maximize the political enthusiasm of those who think like him—by maximizing the vile, racist tweets and the mob chants.

So far, so bad.

But, metaphorically “blinded” by his incapacity to understand the non-racists and anti-racists among us—or, indeed, to count them—Donald  Trump erroneously thinks his race-baiting strategy is the way to win reelection.

And what should progressives do? Progressives should take a lesson from Brer Rabbit. We should take every occasion to shout, “Please, Donald, o please, please don’t throw us into that racist briarpatch!”

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