Monday, January 11, 2016

Trump and Cruz Mired in Race to the Bottom

Donald Trump has run his presidential campaign like he treats his hair, an affront to everyone except the guy looking back at him in the mirror and those stuck in a bygone era. He has taken on women, blacks, immigrants and Muslims with equal venom, appearing unable to provide a positive vision of a future America except one stuck in the distant past. Ted Cruz, as a Princeton graduate and Senator, has been a little more circumspect, holding his own viper tongue more often than the billionaire.

That was until a few days ago, when the conservative showed his true stripes by falling on tired old anti-feminist tropes to attack Clinton. At an Iowa event, where he is closing on the lead, he made the following statement in regard to Hillary: “"You know I'll tell you, in my house, if my daughter Cather, the five-year-old, says something she knows to be false, she gets a spanking," he said. "Well, in America, the voters have a way of administering a spanking” ( Others have already criticized the reference to hitting a five-year-old, and that is certainly worthy of scrutiny, but the more powerful reference here is to spanking a woman who has served as the first lady, a Senator and Secretary of State.

Apparently 15 years into the new millennium, we are still stuck with the misogynist party of the 80s, who really do dream of going back to the 50s, where gays, women, blacks, Mexicans and everyone else who did not fit the American White Protestant ideal knew their place. It is as if the past 60 years had not happened at all and their sense of injustice at having their white, male privilege challenged was completely justified.
It is clear that this message resonates with aging white, right wing and Christian conservative voters, but is it one likely to play in a general election? One hopes not, or we could see the country continue its steady tilt toward fundamentalist nativism and hatred.

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