Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Trump's "dominance politics" reflected in the short-lived Trump-Pence logo

Take a good look at this logo.   It's gone.  After 24 hours of ridicule, the Trump campaign has scrubbed the image from its website and removed any products that contain it.  It's hard to believe that whoever chose this was truly oblivious to the obvious innuendo of sexual dominance and power (the T penetrating the subservient P).  I'd wager dollars to donuts that it was Trump's choice.

First, I know that Paul Manafort and the Trump kids are not that stupid.   Anyone else who tried this, without Trump's approval, would be instantly fired -- or should be.  I also can believe that Trump liked it, even insisted on it, despite advisers pleas.   Why?  Because it fits so perfectly with what Josh Marshall of TPM calls Trump's "dominance politics."
". . .[T]he entirety of Trump's political message is dominance politics. . . .Trump attacks, others comply and submit. . . .  It is simply no accident that those who come into his orbit, who join with him, are rapidly visited with a string of indignities that stand in a bracing contrast to the power and status they earlier enjoyed. On the field of other political actors, other would-be 'alpha males', for Trump you are either his enemy or his property."
Think Jeb Bush.   Marco Rubio.  And then there's Chris Christie.   He's smart enough to realize fairly early that he was not going to win the nomination.   So he dropped out and quickly endorsed the top dog.  And then, almost unbelievably Christie -- the bully, alpha male personified -- became Trump's lap dog, following him around on the campaign trail, standing mutely with a scowl on his face, while Trump ranted on.  Christie bit his tongue, waiting for his promised treat -- even humiliating himself by a last minute phone call in which he reportedly begged Trump to name him his VP.   Even then Trump strung him along while he made late night phone calls to aides to see if there was any way he could get out of the nomination already offered to and accepted by Pence.

Speculation is that Christie was strongly opposed by son-in-law and trusted adviser Jared Kushner.   As U.S. Attorney for New York, Christie had been the prosecutor who sent Jared's father to prison for a very long time for white collar crimes.

In the end, the final humiliation, Christie learned by news leaks and Trump's tweeted announcement that he had not been chosenI was wrong about what Christie had wanted.   I had assumed ever since he endorsed Trump that Christie wanted -- and had been promised -- the Attorney General position.   Which he might still get, if (God forbid) Trump gets elected and Christie escapes indictment himself.  Newt Gingrich fared a little better in that he made his case, lobbied hard, but he never quite grovelled as Christie did.

But then  back to Poor Mike Pence.   Humiliated by leaks that Trump really didn't want to pick him, he then had to endure a 30 minute wait backstage, while Trump talked about himself, bragging about how he had vanquished 16 primary rivals, about all the millions of people who had voted for him.   When he finally got around to introducing his "first choice" for running mate, it seemed pretty tepid.    And then, once the announcement was made, Trump bounded off stage without waiting to listen to Pence's acceptance speech.  It does not bode well that the presidential nominee can't stand to be on the stage with the vice presidential nominee -- and that it is so obvious.

To make matters even worse, Trump and Pence did a joint interview on 60 Minutes on Sunday evening.    It did not go well.   Both of them said the right words of praise for the other;   but there is zero chemistry, zero warmth, zero exultation together that you usually see.   When the interviewer mentioned needing Pence to balance the ticket, Trump just couldn't help himself.   "I didn't need him," and then he bragged again about the millions of votes he'd gotten, including evangelicals.   No, it's not that he needs Pence -- hey, he can do it all by himself.   But, he said, he did it "to unify the party."     Yeeeooowh.   Can you believe it?    Hillary must be turning cartwheels of joy.

Back to Marshall's account of how the Pence pick was rolled out:  
"On its own terms, this turn of events perfectly captures the mix of unsteadiness, cynicism and [stupid decisions] that characterizes everything about the Trump campaign. But the bigger story isn't so much that it happened as that it was leaked, so quickly, and at such a devastating moment for Pence and the ticket. . . .  Yet the precise motivations, the exact origins of the leak pale before a larger reality. . . .  Coming into the orbit of Mr Trump, taking his yoke as it were, requires not only total submission . . . but a farewell to all independence and dignity. . . 

"Trump has already managed to take Pence, the governor of a major state, and recast him as a ridiculous figure, the guy who managed to bag the vice presidential pick only to have the guy at the top of the ticket broadcast to the world that he'd rather not have him. This will hang over Pence regardless of how the ticket fares. He's also now publicly renouncing various past statements about Trump and his policies. . . .  So Trump's Muslim ban goes from being "offensive and unconstitutional" to ... well, awesome. . . .

"None of this is an accident. We can confidently expect a string of new indignities for Pence from now until election day."
So, yes, the now defunct logo -- that symbol of screwing your subordinate -- was 100% perfect to express Trump's feelings and his characteristic way of operating.   Let's hope the voters get it -- before it's too late.

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