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In The Beginning Was Trump's False Birther Tweet

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In the beginning was Donald J. Trump's false birther tweet, posted four years ago.

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The Los Angeles Times' Matt Pearce remembers: "On Aug. 6, 2012, the Twitter account @realDonaldTrump posted an important public announcement: "An 'extremely credible source' called my office and told me that @BarackObama's birth certificate is a fraud.'"

Donald Trump's presidential campaign began with that false statement from an "extremely credible source."

The birther allegation was so obviously false that it should have fallen into the trash heap of absurdity. Instead, an alarming number of Republican voters took the birther nonsense seriously enough to launch Trump's campaign for president, a campaign one final election away from placing "birther" Trump in the White House.

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Trump's style of short falsehoods embellished with insulting adjectives ("crooked Hillary"), is tailor-made for Twitter. The Times' Mike Pearce points to August 6, four years ago, and asks:

"Who was the source? (Why was 'extremely credible source' in quotation marks?) Donald Trump didn't say. Nor did he offer evidence to back up his claim. But out it went to his millions of Twitter followers."

Trump's style has not changed. His tweets and public speeches continue with the same misleading bellicosity with the hashtag "@realDonaldTrump. Here is one recent 2016 tweet:

"The failing @nytimes has become a newspaper of fiction. Their stories about me always quote non-existent unnamed sources. Very dishonest!"

The polls, state by state, show that Trump is headed for a blowout defeat. In a normal campaign this would be a call for shift in strategy. Trump, however, is not running a normal campaign. Why won't he change?

Peter Danou, former advisor to both Hillary Clinton and John Kerry, writes in his Blue Nation Review:

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"Donald Trump is not running a campaign to win the American presidency. Rather, he is using his presidential run as a vehicle to achieve a larger personal ambition: To be seen as the leader of a 'white [nationalist] awakening' -- the term David Duke used to describe his campaign."

Accustomed to political campaigns run to be won, Danou's proposition appears far-fetched. But is it? Danou again:

"By accident or design, Trump is now seeking what he sees as a greater glory than the mere presidency. His strategy could be described as 'lose at all costs.' That's not to say he wants to lose. Far from it. He'd happily advance his agenda from the Oval Office."

That makes more sense. Trump wants to win. He is gambling that his twitter style campaigning could put him in the White House. If he loses?

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James Wall served as a Contributing Editor of The Christian Century magazine, based in Chicago, Illinois, from 1999 through 2017. From 1972 through 1999, he was editor and publisher of the Christian Century magazine. Many sources have influenced (more...)
 

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