Imagine what a candidate like the presumptive Republican nominee would sound like, if he were discussed on the stump by Donald Trump.
Look, the Republican Party is being led by a man with some dark secrets. Scary dark stuff—you know people can’t believe it. There’s something going on with Donald Trump. It’s inconceivable.
Trump seems to operate by three ground rules. First, facts don’t matter. Second, innuendo is wonderful. Third, “there are a lot of people that think …” counts as a credible source of information.
This is the code by which Trump suggested that President Obama is a traitor—or at least sympathetic to the vile ideology embraced by the terrorist who killed 49 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla. My colleague David A. Graham reported:
“He doesn’t get it or he gets it better than anybody understands—it’s one or the other and either one is unacceptable,” Trump said on Fox News. He had already called in a statement Sunday for Obama to resign from office. Trump added on Monday:
“Look, we’re led by a man that either is not tough, not smart, or he’s got something else in mind. And the something else in mind—you know, people can’t believe it. People cannot, they cannot believe that President Obama is acting the way he acts and can’t even mention the words “radical Islamic terrorism.” There’s something going on. It’s inconceivable. There’s something going on.”
During an interview on NBC’s Today show, Trump offered a slightly softer version of the accusation, suggesting Obama was willfully blind: “There are a lot of people that think maybe he doesn’t want to get it.”
So what would it look like if I applied those same ground rules to Trump?
Look, the guy wants Hillary Clinton to be president. He’s a stalking horse. A Trojan horse. A Manchurian candidate astride a stalking Trojan horse!
You want proof? Trump talked to Bill Clinton before he entered the presidential race. It was long phone call. An absolutely amazing call. This is what the Washington Post said about their little chat: “Four Trump allies and one Clinton associate familiar with the exchange said that Clinton encouraged Trump’s efforts to play a larger role in the Republican Party and offered his own views of the political landscape.”
There are a lot of people that say this whole campaign is a sham—that Bill Clinton got Trump to run for president so he could mess with the Republican Party and make it impossible for Hillary Clinton to lose the presidency, even with the email thing.
Look at how Trump has melted down since sewing up the GOP nomination. “Mexican judge” … “My African American” … “Appreciate the congrats for being right on radical Islamic terrorism”… . There’s something going on. Sad!
Maybe Trump is a Nazi sympathizer. Some people think that’s what’s behind his new campaign slogan. “America First” was the motto of Nazi-friendly Americans in the 1930s, who, like Trump today, appealed to white nativism.
I’m not saying Trump is a Nazi, but there’s something going on. Maybe he is. I don’t know.
Trump won’t release his taxes because he’s lying about his wealth. Nobody believes him when he says he’s worth “in excess” of $10 billion. Nobody. The experts say his net worth is more like $3 billion.
But who believes experts, right? What I hear is he’s barely a millionaire—you know, people can’t believe it but Trump might be borrowing money from his kids! I’m not saying I know that for a fact but I’m not saying I don’t.
Did you know Trump is secretly for amnesty? A lot of people tell me this. They point to the fact that he was missing in action during the immigration fight in Congress—you know, it wasn’t that long ago he spoke in favor of liberal immigration laws.
Trump says he’s going to build a wall. Really? He’s going to keep Mexicans out of the United States? Trump can’t even keep the Washington Post out of his rallies! He made a big deal about banning them, right? Wrong. Did you see this in the paper today?
“A Post reporter in Greensboro on Tuesday was denied a press credential but was able to enter the rally with the general public and watch Trump's remarks from the stands.”
Weak! Trump is weak. He’s small, too. Have you seen his hands? Everybody knows what’s going on there.
Are these accusations responsible? Well, no. That’s the point. Once you discard the ordinary rules of evidence and argument, anything goes. And if Trump succeeds in reshaping the bounds of acceptable political speech, and starts to face attacks like these, he’ll have only himself to blame.