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Gail Collins wonders: What if Trump’s early rallies had focused on, say, pre-K?

From Gail Collins’ snide but funny review of President Trump’s big/small/heavy-snorting televised address on the shutdown, headlined “Trump hits the wall”:

Now we know why Trump never made a speech from the Oval Office before. He’s a guy whose great political talent is yelling applause lines to a howling mob of supporters. If they cheer, he goes back again and again.

When he first announced he was running for president, he got an enthusiastic response to a speech that called Mexicans drug-dealing rapists. We will always wonder what would have happened if he’d said “Pre-K, all the way!” and gotten a similar reaction. Maybe this week he’d be on TV refusing to fund the government until he got more money for early childhood education.


Comments (7)

  1. Submitted by ian wade on 01/10/2019 - 01:40 pm.

    He would have received no traction whatsoever. Trump’s appeal to his supporters distills down to the demonetization of people that they hate.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 01/10/2019 - 03:43 pm.

      Maybe. On the one hand, you have people who find his cruelty to be a feature, not a bug. It’s the “gravy” for many of them.

      On the other hand, you’re also talking about people who aren’t long on critical thinking. Mass psychology can be a funny thing.

  2. Submitted by Pat Terry on 01/10/2019 - 05:03 pm.

    Why do this? Why pretend that the appeal here is about anything other than fomenting hate? If there isn’t some “other” to rail against, of course it doesn’t work.

  3. Submitted by cory johnson on 01/10/2019 - 05:42 pm.

    Not that it matters to people with TDS but his exact words were:
    “When do we beat Mexico at the border? They’re laughing at us, at our stupidity. […] When Mexico sends its people they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you; they’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists, and some, I assume, are good people. But I speak to border guards and they tell us what we’re getting.”

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 01/11/2019 - 11:27 am.

      You’re basically pointing out that the actual remarks at the border were a combination of bigotry and misinformation.

      Yes, that distinction is essential. Thank you for making it.

  4. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 01/10/2019 - 06:19 pm.

    If only…

  5. Submitted by Frank Phelan on 01/11/2019 - 06:05 am.

    This does relate to an important point about the 2016 GOP primary debates and the way they were conducted. Given the way they took place in front of large audiences that were allowed to whoop and holler, they weren’t all that different from Don Trump’s political rallies.

    So rather than ask how the world might be different if the cry had been “Pre-K all the way”, we should be asking if we should conduct primary debates differently. How about debates without any audience? Hoe about small audiences? Under those conditions, we may find candidates who aren’t so willing to appeal to the cerebral cortex, and scientific term for base instincts and fears.

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