This is your reminder―
Since launching his presidential campaign, however, Trump has largely ignored what used to be his signature issue. Fox’s Bill O’Reilly broached the subject last night:
O’REILLY: Do you think your birther position has hurt you among African Americans?
TRUMP: I don’t know. I have no idea. I don’t even talk about it anymore, Bill…. I guess with, maybe some. I don’t know why. I really don’t know why. But I don’t think―very few people, you are the first one that’s brought that up in a while.
For the record, Trump fielded a question about this as recently as Monday―the day before this O’Reilly interview. When the candidate said no one has brought up this issue “in a while,” that clearly wasn’t true.
―that Donald Trump is the candidate of the internet troll. The whole pro wrestling metaphor really is tempting, all things considered, but let’s just file that under some manner of reality television. You know, to some degree we’re supposed to believe pro wrestling, too.
Meanwhile, it is worth pointing out a potentially astounding proposition: Quite honestly, just how did experience dealing with internet trolls become nearly prerequisite to comprehending the Republican presidential campaign?
If it seems a breathtaking question, well, fine. But this is actually what it looks like. Watch. Listen. We will never hear actual relevant answers. Try on a weird paradox for size: Though “that clearly wasn’t true”, neither did Mr. Trump lie, because in fact he wasn’t actually saying anything at all, but, rather, speaking meaningless strings of words.
No, really, if you have not witnessed enough of it yourself, this might not make sense as any manner of explanation. But this is how it goes these days around much of the internet. Don’t take me wrongly, please; wise are they who avoid such gutter discourse altogether.α
Still, this only begs the question of how such elements have risen to influence sufficient to make basic comprehension of internet trolling a requisite skill for understanding the presidential contest.
α Some of it seems unavoidable, but when it comes up at the pub, it’s different because at some point people have to look one another in the eye, and the idea that one is too drunk to know better has forestalled many a fight under a self-empowering macho pretense of pity.
Image note: Donald Trump holds a town hall style rally in Aiken, South Carolina, 12 December 2016. (Photo: Jenna Johnson)
Benen, Steve. “Trump has ‘no idea’ if birther theories alienate black voters”. msnbc. 7 September 2016.