On Friday, on the advice of a good friend, I listened to the NPR Friday News Roundup, also known as The Diane Rehm Show. The scheduled topics were Donald Trump’s shifting positions on immigration, Hillary Clinton’s pushback on Trump’s racism comments and the continuing email “scandal,” the Clinton Foundation boondoggle, and the EpiPen price-gouging scandal.
Substituting as host was Derek McGinty; panelists were Josh Kraushaar (National Journal), Julie Pace (Associated Press), and Neil King (Wall Street Journal). The topics were discussed in a reasonable, balanced manner, punctuated by the opinions of callers. Five of the six callers provided interesting, reasonable, and balanced opinions. At best, their comments gave me something to consider; at worst, some comments reflected the callers’ Right, Moderate, or Left bias—but this is, after all, a free country, where folks are entitled to their own opinions!
The first caller, a woman, began by discussing the disparities between how Donald Trump’s, Bill Clinton’s, Hillary Clinton’s, and Richard Nixon’s political transgressions were handled in the media and by the government. Nixon, of course, was forced to resign because of the Watergate Scandal, whereas Bill Clinton’s transgressions were censured but did not result in the loss of his presidential office. In the current presidential race, the caller felt that there’s “always something” about Hillary—some unanswered question or near-scandal, for which the Left is always ready to give her cover because it’s Hillary, whereas the Right’s decision to name Donald Trump as its nominee is seen by the Left as a GOP fail. Her bottom line was that Hillary needs to answer the public’s questions about her record and her missteps, such as the never-ending email “scandal” and the “impropriety” of continuing The Clinton Foundation.
The second caller, also a woman, countered this last point with an important question: What about the role of Trump’s children in his many, many personal business holdings? I think it’s an eminently valid point: Why should there be such an uproar about the Clintons’ personal business (the Foundation), which intersects government interests, if Trump’s Empire—that he openly gloats about in the context of his deals with other nations—is not also subject to scrutiny?
The third caller (yet another woman!) came up with a smart analogy for Trump supporters and surrogates. Their defense of Trump is like the defense of an apologist for a “bad boyfriend”: “he doesn’t really mean what he says!” Yet, there are troubling questions below the surface, like how can anyone defend Trump’s immigration “policy,” given his history of hiring undocumented workers?!? And what is Pence’s role in this ill-fated campaign? Having wedded Trump, there is no way he can separate himself from this trainwreck, and his political future [such that it was], is now toast.
The next caller—the first male, from Dallas, had nothing new to add to the foregoing conversation, except to ask, rather disingenuously, “What is this Alt-Right I keep hearing about?” Which the panel dutifully answered in some detail.
The final female caller mused that if the earliest presidents had been subjected to today’s instant Internet access, we’d be dissecting them and finding the same unsavory attributes we are assigning to Clinton and Trump. However, she did lean toward Clinton, noting that Trump, a businessman, is used to telling everyone what to do—bossing people around and never listening to anyone else. Clinton, on the other hand, is a longstanding public servant who does stand up for people. In short, running a government is not the same as running a business. The former requires the art of persuasion; in the latter, the boss calls all the shots. This caller’s only problem with Clinton—much like the other callers’—was that both Hillary and Bill have a bad habit of waffling in the immediate aftermath of one of those pesky questions/scandals; they wait far too long to come clean.
Now, I will grant you that this whole discussion, up to this point, is not so different from any other pundit/caller show you may have heard or seen since this most bizarre presidential race in the history of presidential races started heating up this summer. But, wait for it…. There is a rarely heard- from, much less discussed, entity in the mix, represented by the final caller to this podcast. It’s the reason my friend asked me to listen. It’s the opinion that made her jump out of her chair and exclaim: “For every person who calls in [spouting such nonsense], there are 20 million more out there who think the same thing!”
What follows is the reason we cannot afford to be complacent about Hillary Clinton being the sure winner and Donald Trump being the sure (and sore) loser come November: The Outlier Black Trump Supporter!
The last caller on the morning show was an African-American Democrat from Dallas who proudly told the nation that he supports Donald Trump, because Trump is trustworthy!
Specifically, in regard to his immigration stance, the caller said, “He’s trying to work on it! [Trump] doesn’t want amnesty for undocumented people; they shouldn’t be jumping to the front of the line!” Pressed for an explanation by the stunned panel of commentators, the caller said that he had been talking to his Mexican neighbors, asking them why they can’t wait and enter the U.S. legally. Their answer? According to the caller, it’s because they know they will still get services and support, without papers and without the usual procedures! He added that his non-Mexican friends get quiet when he shares this with them, “because they know what I’m saying.” Pressed further by the commentators about Trump’s birther-ism, the caller replied that it’s not a problem because Trump “TELLS you what he thinks!” [Unlike those two-timing Democrats who “only want the Black vote”? I have to ask.]
The poor commentators sputtered on briefly about the blind loyalty of Trump supporters who admire the outsider “truth tellers” versus the Beltway insiders, before the host of the hour hurriedly signed off.
I implore you—all you sane, thoughtful, reasonable people: Circle the wagons; make sure every like-minded person you know goes to the polls and votes for Hillary Clinton in November. Because for every one of us, there are 20 million more flakes out there—black, white, Latino, and others—who have swallowed Trump’s toxic Kool-Aid in one gulp!