The New York primaries were being touted as pivotal, and to a large extent they were. But on the GOP side, because of the bizarre plot twists that have dogged their nominee search, what they wound up with in New York was altogether a farce, in which the guy who dominated is probably still seen by the party establishment as its worst nightmare. Problem is, the rival who got beaten is a major horror show as well. Does riding high in a farce really change the dynamic?
That thousands of people in the Empire State signified, by casting their ballots for Donald Trump, that they consider him fit to occupy the nation’s highest elective office, is chilling. In typical New York fashion, many of us react with a sneer that is New York’s alone when such a scenario unfolds elsewhere. So, how does winning essentially a “no-contest” qualifier alter the toxic quality that the GOP brass sees in a Trump candidacy?
President Obama, the start of whose tenure was trigger for Trump’s constant dumbing down of the office of president (seeing as how the likes of Obama could occupy it), had it right when he said hardly was this presidential pretender headed for the White House. Being president, Obama pointedly commented, is not like running a game show. It’s serious business. And those benighted souls notwithstanding, who wave a flag for Trump, the overwhelming lot of the American electorate know better. They know the Trump-for-president absurdity, a sick joke when it began, will so remain until it finally flames out. Trump has said he got into it because John McCain and Mitt Romney, the GOP’s last two presidential picks, were sub-par performers. We’re however inclined to bunch Trump with all the other overt and covert racists who were in the once crowded field, buoyed that Obama’s elevation meant they couldn’t possibly fail. Of course, given the noxious brand that is Trump, he evinced pride at being ensconced in the “overtly racist” camp.
And in the midst of all the scummy utterances that have poured from Trump along the way, that might sometimes obscure it, this is the dimension to the Trump persona that is perhaps more concerning to us than any other — that he is a no-doubt-about-it bigot. Lest we forget, he immediately questioned whether the president was really an American, presumably seeing the Obama name as properly belonging in the immigrant community — with which, for him, there’s no love lost — rather than a product of true Americana. He was obviously questioning whether someone of Obama’s ethnicity could accomplish as much as Obama did at Columbia and Harvard, when he demanded that the president produce supporting transcripts. On the night in 2012 that Obama had the temerity to defy Trump and others and win re-election, Trump famously called for a march on Washington in protest. He dismissed basketball legend Kareem Abdul Jabbar’s revelation that he possesses a photograph for which Trump posed with him, Trump insisting it was impossible that he would ever have done so. Those xenophobic rants during the campaign against Mexicans, Muslims et al weren’t aberrational. They come with the Trump territory.
Is it any wonder that David Duke of KKK fame would have endorsed Trump? Assorted pundits, in trying to explain the appeal Trump has for folks on the right, that has propelled him to GOP frontrunner status, frequently reference his being not the conventional politician, “a straight talker” and other summations alluding to how “different” Trump is. But renderings of Trump that focus only on how atypical a political combatant he is and neglect the darker side of the package are in effect a public disservice.
There’s got to be some compromising of the vaunted New York lustre when a certain sector, Republican though it is, manifests a solid preference for one who rates a big thumbs-up from a former grand wizard of the Klan, one who says “No way!” to having once posed for a photograph with a basketball great for the ages. This goes against the grain, surely, of what the best of the best of New York is supposed to be.
So, despicable Ted Cruz, Trump’s main rival, got thrashed, his “New York values” jibe along the campaign trail not helping what was already a mission most impossible. But John Kasich, whose “moderate” tag makes him a persona non grata Republican, beat Trump in Manhattan. Ah, that New York elan. Very difficult, isn’t it, to keep it all the way suppressed?