Thursday, March 3, 2016

Gassen: Don't fall for 'at least they're not Trump'

Sarah Geracht Gassen's article in the Daily Star this morning is a spot-on indictment of Trump and his competitors. The problem is that the competitors are merely Trump-lite. Here is what Gassen has to say.

Donald Trump knows how to fire up a crowd by insulting people, especially those who dare to disagree with him. Scenes from his rallies where protesters and journalists are assaulted and forcefully ejected by his supporters or security guards have become disturbingly commonplace.

The recent example from a rally in Kentucky shows a young black woman pushed through an angry crowd to throw her out. Grown white men shove the woman again and again. One pushes her backward, and then points and screams at her as she passes him.

A young man, who looks to be a teenager, reaches around the man next to him to get his hands on her and shove her.

She’s talking, and at one point turns to face the gray-haired man who is pushing her through the crowd. He keeps shoving.

That’s not a campaign crowd. That’s a mob.

And Trump is a pro at pulling the puppet strings. He knows what sells to the lowest common denominator and he provides it. Insults are his stock and trade, the signature of a salesman who knows you’ll never lose a sale by making your customer feel superior to those idiots buying the other brand.

So Marco Rubio is trying to break out of his Ken-doll-like preprogrammed plastic-ness with a “No I’m not, YOU are” attempt at insulting Trump back. He’s trying his hand at the cheap currency of degradation, but his punches aren’t landing.

One of his recent attempts:

“He’s (Trump) like 6’2” which is why I don’t understand why his hands are the size of someone who is 5’2”. Have you seen his hands?” Rubio said during a rally in Roanoke, Virgina.

“You know what they say about men with small hands? You can’t trust them. You can’t trust them.”

That’s not what they say about men with small hands. And Sen. Rubio, I think you know that.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz has been trying to get in on the insult action, but he’s just so disagreeable it’s hard to tell if he’s trying to get in a zinger or is just being himself.

When did the ability to insult someone in the most goober-y, juvenile and obvious way possible become a qualification for president?

We should not be sucked into the insult-a-thon at the expense of real issues.

With all three rings under the Republican primary circus tent going full steam, the most attention is paid to the surface of what is an extremely consequential election.

One of the serious dangers of Trump is that because he gets so much attention and the focus is on his outrageous statements, behavior and personal appearance, the equally extreme positions of Cruz and Rubio are made to appear more middle-of-the-road.

They get the benefit of “well, at least they’re not like Trump.”

But Cruz and Rubio are like Trump. Both want more immigration enforcement, not immigration reform. Both would revoke President Obama’s decision to protect from deportation people brought into the U.S. illegally when they were children.

Both have economic ideas that favor the rich and are draconian to the poor.

Cruz has demonstrated his contempt for Americans and ruthlessness by being so doctrinaire anti-Obamacare that he forced a shutdown of the federal government in 2013. Rubio often skips votes and hearings in the Senate.

Rubio and Cruz both want governmental power over a woman’s personal health-care decisions.

As the Republican primary continues to descend into the depths, as it no doubt will, don’t make the mistake of thinking that Trump is the outlier.

He’s flashier and more adept than the others at playing to the anti-everything-and-everyone crowd.

Trump is dangerous. But he’s not alone.

Let me add this: don't let anyone tell you they are on board with Trump because of his principles. Beyond racist insults, Trump has nothing positive to offer. Channeling anger of the mob is not a policy. He is an insult to conservatism and a danger to our Democracy.

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