Reprinted from Consortium News
The racism of that myth was hard to miss (especially after many conservatives saw nothing wrong with right-wing and light-skinned Sen. Ted Cruz running for president though he actually was born outside the United States, in Canada, to an American mother and a Cuban father).
Despite the growing ugliness of U.S. politics, Republicans continued to see political value in delegitimizing and demonizing Democratic presidents. The rise of the Tea Party in 2009 cemented the GOP bond to this idea that "real America" was under assault by people of color and "politically correct" advocates of multiculturalism.
Pandering to this angry crowd, the Republican congressional establishment sought to block virtually every initiative proposed by Obama, most notably a health-insurance program modeled after a plan first developed by the conservative Heritage Foundation.
But GOP leaders weren't as fluent in the language of this seething Republican base as Donald Trump was. Trump had mastered the sharp-edged lingo from his experience in "reality TV" and from his frequent appearances on shock-jock and conspiratorial radio shows. Trump knew the code words and the appeal of hyperbole.
The wealthy real-estate mogul understood that these Tea Party types liked their red meat served very rare and were accustomed to the style of Rush Limbaugh, with his locker-room conservatism; Howard Stern, with his lewd rants; and Alex Jones, with his dark world of conspiracy theories.
In large part, that was why Trump was able to outmaneuver the Republican establishment which favored more tepid language to create greater deniability if someone called them on their implicit racism and bigotry.
So, it is not surprising that Trump would slip back into this rhetoric -- with its macho fantasies about going to war with a corrupt "guv-mint" -- when he speaks extemporaneously to his adoring audiences. There is a video-game unreality to this posturing, a pretense of masculine toughness but it's mostly empty bravado.
Though most of his followers surely get the theatrics of his violent references, there is the real possibility that -- by seeming to invite violence as the way to protect "gun rights" -- Trump is encouraging some unbalanced individual to take matters into his or her own hands.
After all, some gun zealots believe the mythical sanctity of the Second Amendment must be defended at all costs, much as Benjamin Netanyahu's campaign rhetoric in 1995 about Israel's sacred right to Palestinian lands contributed to a young Zionist extremist assassinating Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.
Words do have consequences and politicians should be held accountable for their intemperate remarks. Yet, my impression on Tuesday was that Trump was running off at the mouth, much as he regularly did in making himself popular on talk-radio shows.
The fact, however, that Trump can't seem to turn off that side of his personality and control his mouth is arguably disqualifying for someone who aspires to be President of the United States.