1. It’s Tuesday, October 11, 2016. The election is 28 days away.
2. I want to commend Michael Luo, a New York Times editor, for his remarkable restraint.
Because if some dopey woman on the Upper East Side yelled “Go back to China!” to my wife and my two children because we blocked the sidewalk in the rain, she would have needed to make that phone call to police.
If you haven’t read Luo’s open letter to the woman and the reaction to it in the Times, here are the links: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/10/nyregion/to-the-woman-who-told-my-family-to-go-back-to-china.html http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/11/nyregion/go-back-to-china-readers-respond-to-racist-insults-shouted-at-a-new-york-times-editor.html
Some might think this is Trumpism manifest, even in a liberal bastion such as Manhattan.
But Trump didn’t create the racism. He used it. It’s there, been there all along, and he knew it.
And this doesn’t just apply to Asian-Americans. African-Americans, Latinos and Latinas, Muslims. People who contribute more to this country than it has a right to hope for. They all get to hear this crap on a routine basis.
Trump says we need to stop being politically correct. I’d like to see this country start.
3. So what would it take for the Trump-pets, the people with the yard signs and the red MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN hats and even the Hillary-hating T-shirts to turn on this guy?
Insulting Muslims and Mexicans and African-Americans and Asian-Americans and the disabled and everyone else actually inspires these people. So it’s not that.
And while chortling about assaulting women might prompt tsk-tsks from some of them, the true believers seem fine with the language and, some of them, with the sentiment expressed.
So what would finally turn off the people who support this guy?
Believe it or not, there’s a blueprint for it.
It’s the 1957 film “A Face in the Crowd.”
Its central character is a man named Larry “Lonesome” Rhodes. He’s an alcoholic drifter from Arkansas who becomes, over the course of the movie, a national media sensation and – unfortunately for him – knows it.
His rampant popularity gives him the ability to advise establishment politicians about how to sell policies that are not necessarily in the people’s best interest.
Now, I’m going to give away the ending. If you’re curious about the film, stop reading here. For you, this blog post is over. You can come back after you’ve seen it – just know, for now, that there’s a Trump comparison coming.
Everybody else staying? OK.
The film’s dramatic conclusion comes when Lonesome finishes a broadcast and begins talking to the rest of the cast. He thinks the microphone is off, and begins ranting about stupid his audience is, calling them “guinea pigs” and “miserable slobs.” But his disillusioned producer/love interest has flipped the switch, and his bitter words are going out to the public.
The audience is furious. The network is swamped with calls demanding Lonesome be taken off the air. He ends the movie atop a penthouse wondering, drunkenly, how this all could have come apart.
So let’s get back to Trump.
He’s a born-and-bred New Yorker. And if there’s one thing I know about most of my fellow New Yorkers, it’s the contempt they have for the rest of the country. New York is the biggest and the best, and the rest of you don’t come close to measuring up.
At his core, that’s what Trump believes about this country. He believes the people in the rest of America are suckers who will fall for his lines of crap. He thinks they’re too dumb not to be impressed by his pseudo display of success and too full of their loathing of others not to suck up the hateful message he spreads.
The good news is – if recent polls are on target – there’s a real chance that a majority of Americans aren’t going to fall for it. Hillary Clinton’s lead has grown since the “Access Hollywood” soured our national discourse.
But for those who might still be with Trump, any evidence of the contempt in which he obviously holds them might – I’ll stress might – make them finally see this huckster for what he is.
I’d love to think that tape is out there somewhere. Somewhere, I’m sure of it, he trashtalks Alabamans and Ohioans and Kansans and Utahns.
Please. If you have a recording of Trump in that mode, share it.
It helps that Trump already has the penthouse.