It's like that horribly clichéd scene in the movies or on TV where the bad guy is going to pull the trigger or the innocent person is unwittingly going to drink the cyanide-laced ginger ale. The hero(ine) leaps to the rescue, but does so in slow-motion while yelling, in a voice that sounds like the noise that a hippo's intestines makes while adjusting to a bad meal:
I've been hearing that sound in my head a lot lately as I watch my fellow Democrats try to figure out a way to hand the presidential election to an oozing racist putrescence who wouldn't be able to win a majority of votes if he ran against a dented can of lentil soup. And yet people in my party keep throwing him lifelines.
Hey, I've got a great idea. Let's give free health care to all the people who come across the border illegally, even though there are tens of millions of people who were born in this country who don't have access to health care.
Let's have free college and pay off everybody's student debt.
Wait! Let's get every person in the country who's even part African-American and give them the financial equivalent of 40 acres and a mule, with interest compounded over the past 170 years.
Oh, hell N-O-O-O-O-O-o-o-o-o-o!
In case that last one wasn't dumb-ass enough, how about decriminalizing illegal entry into our country?
No. (That idea is so stupid, I don't even want to waste all those extra o's.)
This stuff has to stop and it has to stop now. It's so ridiculously counterproductive and self-destructive. I don't know which is worse. Do the people who are spewing this nonsense not know how it makes the Democratic Party look like a coalition of nutbirds, or do they know but just don't care?
I'm reminded of the story of baseball legend Dizzy Dean. Back in the 1930s, Dean, Babe Ruth and others would barnstorm across the South during the offseason. The Southerner Dean developed a friendship with Negro League legend Satchel Paige and actually tried to get the St. Louis Cardinals to sign Paige, saying, "If me and Satchel were on the same team, we'd clinch the pennant by the Fourth of July and go fishing until World Series time."
If we could just get the fringe people to shut up for the next 453 days, Donald Trump would go down to a crushing defeat. His base is there and is willing to march through the gates of hell with him. But their numbers aren't increasing. They're stuck in the low 40s and their numbers actually shrank between 2016 and 2018 as suburban women opened their eyes, scrubbed off the stench, and then peeled away.
There is very little for Trump supporters to cheer about. His kids-in-cages policy was (is) offensive to people across the political spectrum. His signature tax cut for the rich and the corporations really hasn't trickled down to the middle class in any significant way. His "roaring" economy is back down to around 2 percent growth, mirroring the economy under Barack Obama (who didn't need a massive tax cut to act like a boost of nitrous oxide). And while he continues to take a bulldozer to the Environmental Protection Agency, the fact remains that the vast majority of Americans really do want clean air and clean water. Those members of his base who are left behind are basically just in clean-up mode, contorting themselves to try to explain away his racist tweets and to shrug off his vile personal behavior.
The other day, the guy on the local morning right-wing talk radio show referred to Robert Mueller as a racist. Obviously, the talker didn't understand the message that came to his secret decoder watch from Alt-Right headquarters. The upper echelon of majestic white folks couldn't come up with a way to defend Donald Trump's blatant racism, so they decided that the best strategy was that of a second grader—No, I'm not one! YOU'RE one!
However, seeing as how Robert Mueller has never called anybody a racist—or said anything EVEN REMOTELY INTERESTING!!!—in his entire gray-washed life, one wonders why a Trump minion would throw that word at Mueller.
The fact remains that Trump is not going to gain any more supporters, especially not from among suburban independents. The only way that those people would vote for Trump, after witnessing his vulgar antics these past few years, is that they would get pushed into the Trump camp by crazy-ass Democrats saying crazy-ass things.
Having once been a wild youth, bent on changing the world, I understand the passion of these firebrands with their wild ideas. But, as one of my football coaches once explained, "You're young, and therefore stupid." To this day, when I'm coaching, I'll have a kid ask, "Can we try this, this and this?" To which the answer is, invariably, "No, I'd rather win."
It's hard to tell fired-up people to temper their enthusiasm; you risk losing them. But America's soul is on the line here. We have to win and if that means backing a middle-of-the-road guy who will be in his 80s as he completes his first (and, we hope, only) term, then so be it. All that other stuff can be debated (and mostly discarded) later. ■