Thursday, July 20, 2017

Coaching Trump (Part 5)

"Why'd you say that?" I shouted at Donald Trump.
"Say what?" he asked innocently.
"The thing about shooting people on Fifth Avenue."
"But David, you said that a few weeks ago," Trump answered.
"Right, but that was just between me and you. Don't give away the game!" I scolded.

We lost Iowa to that smarmy lowlife Ted Cruz. I knew we would lose the caucus because our campaign was based on Trump's fame and charisma, so we didn't have any kind of ground game. We won New Hampshire and I knew we were on to something. Primaries were to be our bread and butter, because the American electorate is so disengaged it's possible Trump was the only Republican candidate some people had ever even heard of.

At the end of February, notorious white supremacist David Duke endorsed Trump. This reminded me of when Louis Farrakhan endorsed Barack Obama in '08. After an initial stumble, Obama handled it perfectly. He disavowed the endorsement. A handful of people for whom Farrakhan's endorsement actually means something might be pissed, but ultimately, the endorsement showed fence-sitting black voters that even a radical black nationalist supported him while not turning off white voters by shunning the endorsement.

That was our plan for the David Duke endorsement. Secret racists would love that Duke endorsed Trump, but we wouldn't alienate the vast majority of our supporters who feel David Duke takes it too far.

Instead, Trump rambled, "Just so you understand, I don't know anything about David Duke, OK? I don't know anything about what you're even talking about with white supremacy or white supremacists. So I don't know. I don't know. Did he endorse me, or what's going on? Because I know nothing about David Duke; I know nothing about white supremacists."

Oh, fuck! Trump actually ran against David Duke for the Reform Party's nomination in 2000, so there's no way anyone would buy that he didn't know who David Duke was. I was sure this would be undoing. I was already pissed that he kept retweeting white supremacists' praise for him.

"But David, you said race-baiting will help win the nom," Trump explained.
"Yeah, but with dog whistles. Not so explicitly."

Then I told him a little story: "Ronald Reagan started his 1980 general election campaign in Philadelphia, Mississippi. It's only claim to fame is it's the location where three civil rights workers were murdered in 1965.The local authorities were complicit in the murder. No one was charged at the time. There he talked about his belief in states' rights and the need for local empowerment. Reagan didn't just come out and say, 'You should be allowed to kill black people and get away with it.' That's what he meant, but he used coded language. That's what we need to do."

But he wasn't doing it. More and more I felt that I was losing control of the campaign and the attention of the candidate. After winning the Florida primary, Trump had a bunch of steaks and magazines on a table next to him. He claimed that they were Trump Steaks and Trump Magazine even though both had long been out of business. I had nothing to do with that ridiculous stunt. I wanted to get back to the core themes of the campaign: hating Mexicans and Muslims.

No comments: