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‘Let the jackass bray,’ the man said

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How Trinidad and Tobago’s first and longest serving prime minister, Dr. Eric Williams, once responded to a particular vexation to the spirit decades ago, it turns out, is a seamless fit with the side show we’re currently forced to endure as politics American style, for which one A-class jerk, above all else, bears responsibility. “Let the jackass bray,” Williams said of some sad-sack, would-be tormentor back then. Fast forward to today’s presidential contest in this country, and a more appropriate designation for the Trump travesty might be well-nigh impossible to come by.

We have taken issue in this space with the willingness of the media to be Donald Trump’s pawns in this bizarre ambition of his to make America his plaything. Never mind there being a disoriented portion of the electorate for whom the Trump presence has validity other than as mega hustler, it’s obvious that most of us have him correctly placed where he needs to be. As we’ve indicated before, the Republican Party must live with the infamy of coddling someone who brazenly employed xenophobic rants and other scummy tactics that would have gotten him the boot from any principled body. Republicans having not done as they should, it has been our contention that responsible media coverage of Trump should not have media folk dancing to every tune he calls, but being a lot more circumspect about what legitimately is newsworthy and what is sheer Trumpian fluff. But more sober reflection determines that at Trump’s level of classlessness and narcissism, “let the jackass bray” clearly becomes the most effective tool at the people’s disposal.

It’s evidently pointless to berate the media for marching in lock step with the tiresome rollout of pseudo news surrounding Trump, so it’s best we just let it be. Somehow, he’s seemingly not yet convinced, or maybe just refuses to be, that opening his mouth about anything only reinforces, for those still needing it, that being a candidate for president is light years away from where he belongs. The flap that has triggered harsh criticism, not least from GOP headliners, about Trump’s denigration of the respected federal judge assigned to the case of “Trump University” and its alleged scamming practices, has added to the pile-on of sick stuff from this hate monger. Among reports making the rounds was the putdown of Trump by GOP big cheese Newt Gingrich. Trump’s typically nonsensical firing back at Gingrich for calling him out surprised no one, of course. Not even referring to the Gingrich slam of him, with a straight face, as “inappropri­ate.”

When he announced last year that he would be a candidate for the Republican nomination, Trump tore into the party’s two prior nominees, John McCain and Mitt Romney as abject failures whose pitiful performances as standard bearers were the reason he felt compelled to run. But like so many of the Trump blowhard utterances, we suspect that the reason he got into the fray for 2016 wasn’t really about looking better than McCain and Romney. Trump was probably driven to this year’s nomination hunt by the same impetus that lured the cast of other forgettable characters vying for the GOP nod: that if a man named Obama could serve two presidential terms, they should be a shoo-in. And given his unrestrained dismissiveness towards this president ever since he assumed office, Trump was probably more convinced than any of his GOP rivals that the presidency is his to claim.

It’s difficult to imagine any serious contender for the presidency who is so indifferent about continuously showing off how miscast he is. It makes one reach back to a comment someone made (presumably) in jest the other day, that at the GOP convention Trump will end the joke and announce to the assembled Trump fanatics and nervous nellies both, that he wasn’t serious about any of this nomination-seeking stuff. Who knows, maybe there could be a picture emerging by then that prompts him to seriously consider going there.

With Hillary Clinton wrapping up the Democratic nomination and Bernie Sanders hopefully moving promptly to play a unifying role, rather than prolong what would only be both senseless and selfish, Democrats can get to the real business of 2016. Disabusing even those hopelessly lost pilgrims who misguidedly believe it, of the notion that Trump possesses the wherewithal to assume intelligent stewardship of this country, becomes the focus not just of political pros, but all who think themselves responsible. We may be tempted to leave it to Trump to self-destruct, which he’s already doing quite handily. But we shouldn’t.

Updated 3:05 am, July 10, 2018
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