Hillary Clinton will never be a great orator. But she still gave a great, important speech last night. Its main theme: She blasted Donald Trump for the racism he promotes and the racists he embraces.
Here’s a video of the speech.
And you can find transcript here.
Some of what she said may not be new to you. But the speech is still notable for several reasons:
First, she provided as good a summary as I’ve seen of the reasons Trump is so dangerous.
In addition, she said so much about Trump and so little about herself. The speech could have been delivered by any number of Clinton allies. But it was still savvy for her to do so, because the indictment of him gets the most attention by virtue of Hillary delivering it.
TRUMP DOUBLES DOWN
Whatever else emerges from this year’s presidential campaign, one thing is certain: Donald Trump is mainstreaming bigotry.
How could I seriously suggest this, given the widespread outcry against his repeated bigoted belches, and given the political harm they have caused him?
Here’s how: The Republican Party nominee has voiced and validated many voters’ worst instincts, to much tut-tutting but no disavowals of him by his party’s leaders. What’s worse, he recently doubled down by bringing on the far right’s channeler-in-chief, Steve Bannon, to be his campaign’s CEO. Bannon’s contribution to mainstreaming bigotry largely flows from his popular right-wing website (and associated radio program), Breitbart News, which is increasingly promoting the views of the Alt-Right.
At a campaign rally yesterday, Donald Trump seemed to suggest that a way to protect the Second Amendment could be for “Second Amendment people” (i.e., gun owners) to take action against his Democratic rival:
“Hillary wants to abolish, essentially, the Second Amendment,” he said. “By the way, and if she gets the pick—if she gets the pick of her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is, I dunno.”
Was he simply joking? Perhaps. But as The Atlantic points out in analyzing the video of his statement, “At no point in recent American history has the nominee of one of the two major parties even jested about the murder of a rival.”
PICK YOUR PAC
It’s hard for the press to pick which outrageous Donald Trump statement to prioritize, when he erupts so regularly. Still, the transcript of Tuesday’s exceptional Washington Post interview with him had a humdinger that the media (including the Post’s own article summarizing the interview) has overlooked.
Here’s that humdinger: Toward the end of the talk, and out of the blue, Trump matter-of-factly states that at some point after this year’s election “I’m gonna do two or three $10 million PACs at the right time” to selectively go after both Republican (!!!) and Democratic candidates. He specifically mentions Ohio Governor John Kasich as a potential target.
John McCain merits praise for his public statement today, blasting Donald Trump’s attacks on the Muslim American parents of a U.S. Army captain who died a hero in Iraq. As you probably know, Khizr Khan’s dramatic Democratic Convention speech honoring his son and slamming Trump sparked a bitter dispute with him about bigotry and sacrifice.
Nevertheless, McCain’s statement was both bizarre and revealing about the contortions that leading Republicans are going through as they stand with Trump, even as they stand against so much that he stands for. McCain’s strangest line was this: “I cannot emphasize enough how deeply I disagree with Mr. Trump’s statement. I hope Americans understand that the remarks do not represent the views of our Republican Party, its officers, or candidates.”
Your flag flyin’ over the courthouse
Means certain things are set in stone
Who we are, what we’ll do and what we won’t
-Bruce Springsteen, “Long Walk Home”
Perhaps you have heard the Democratic Convention speech by Khizr Khan, the American Muslim whose Army captain son died a hero in Iraq and who is causing Donald Trump to cause himself so much trouble.
If you haven’t, you have to.
The speech and the subsequent media battle with our Bigot in Chief says a lot about the best and worst of who we are as a nation. It’s illuminating, moving stuff that left me both proud and ashamed.