Apologists for the Trump campaign, such as former campaign manager, Cory Lewandowski, are trying deflect criticism of the campaign’s use of blatantly anti-Semitic imagery by claiming that the star used in the now infamous “history made” tweet is the same as the star used by American law enforcement.
Let’s see if I understand. When Trump uses imagery that’s meant to reinforce his message that Hillary Clinton is deeply corrupt, he wants to imply she’s as corrupt as what he views as that other widely recognized symbol of corruption… the American sheriff?
That’s strange. I thought Trump was a big fan of the police.
Lewandowski says the reaction to the tweet is ‘political correctness run amok.’
If so, why did the Trump campaign kowtow to their critics by altering the tweet to remove an innocent “sheriff’s star”?
And how come the first place this image is known to have been used before it was co-opted by Trump was a neo-Nazi message board?
What’s really going on inside the campaign?
Does Trump actually feel like he needs to strengthen and expand the coalition of support he already has among neo-Nazis, white supremacists, anti-Semites and every other stripe of bigotry woven into the tapestry of American politics?
Although I think it’s dangerous to underestimate how large a place bigotry holds in American culture, I don’t actually believe that a realistic presidential campaign — even one led by a quintessentially ugly racist American — can conceivably win by appealing to this diseased fragment of the American psyche.
And given that Twitter has had such an important role in Trump’s media strategy, it’s highly implausible that the latest “unforced error” was really that.
Firstly, it seems much more likely that, in part, this is the latest example of what Trump has been doing all along: baiting the media in order to get free publicity.
A campaign that’s already financially stretched is likely to become increasingly desperate in its use of stunts designed to grab headlines.
But wait a minute, some people may be thinking: Why would Trump risk alienating some extremely wealthy Jewish donors — especially Sheldon Adelson — just for a couple of days free but politically costly media attention?
Back in May, Adelson was reported to be “poised” to donate $100 million or more to the Trump campaign at a time that Trump estimated he might need to raise $1 billion.
The money never came through.
The Los Angeles Times reports:
Many [inside the Trump campaign] were hoping casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, who spent nearly $100 million in the 2012 presidential race, would save the day by starting his own pro-Trump super PAC to provide a trusted safe haven for donors.
But after Trump’s polling numbers tanked with his race-based criticism of a federal judge and response to the Orlando shooting, Adelson has put his plans on hold. The Las Vegas billionaire is “not actually starting a PAC despite what has been reported,” his spokesman said.
So, perhaps Trump’s anti-Semitic tweet might be better understood not as dog whistle to bigots whose loyalty he’s already won, but instead as a counterpunch aimed at Jewish donors like Adelson who now find it impossible to deny Trump’s inherent toxicity.
Trump’s biggest lie was that he would never need anyone else’s money, so nothing now eats his heart out more with bitterness and envy than the sight of his competitor sitting on piles of cash while he has close to none.
As much as Trump may have appeared to possess an extraordinary capacity to avoid being penalized for his irrepressible racism, the reality seems to be that it is driving his campaign to bankruptcy.