Trump's Pocahontas trap
I think President Trump is trying to get Elizabeth Warren nominated, or at least keep her in the spotlight. It is a trap for the Democrats and progressivism. And it is working.
The conventional wisdom of D.C. politics has Elizabeth Warren as the big winner following the president's use of his nickname for her, Pocahontas, during a ceremony honoring the Navajo Code Talkers of World War II. But the conventional wisdom has consistently been wrong about Donald Trump's effectiveness in reaching the voters he needs to win his victories.
Amie Parnes of The Hill presents the C.W.:
President Trump's latest "Pocahontas" insult of Sen. Elizabeth Warren is a political gift for the Massachusetts Democrat, who has seized the moment to build capital in the 2020 presidential race. ...
"For Elizabeth Warren, it's grass-roots fundraising jet fuel," said Democratic strategist David Wade. "It puts her center stage as a Republican bogeyman the way Ted Kennedy was often center stage for decades.
"If they're talking about you, you can argue it means they fear you, and you can take that to your political base as a rallying cause to help other Democrats, raise money and grow an online army."
Those who consider him stupid and impulsive are certain that he has blundered. And in doing so, he has handed a victory to a fearsome opponent, a former Harvard professor, meaning that a triumph over Trump's ignorance and bigotry is inevitable. There are a lot of mistaken assumptions here. The conventional wisdom has trouble with an unconventional candidate and president, almost by definition.
Within the mainstream media bubble, little attention was paid to the fraud Warren pulled off by falsely claiming to be a Native American.
The C.W. assumes that the question was settled. There is nothing to see here; move on. Only under the assumption that the question was "settled" could the charge of racism be hurled at Trump. But the issue is far larger and also strategic for Trump. Rush Limbaugh yesterday laid out what the C.W. can't understand (full transcript here).
The Drive-Bys are collectively once again making fools of themselves trying to claim the word Pocahontas itself is a racial slur, when it's not.
There is a small subset of the population that buys into the notion that everything really is racist (because America is fundamentally racist). But they have a disproportionate impact on the C.W. I would guess that between 60% and 80% of the voting public have learned to be skeptical to some degree of the idea that everything that gets labeled "racist" is fundamentally unjust. In equal measure, there is anger or at least discomfort that this issue cannot openly be discussed without being called a racist yourself.
In the case of Pocahontas-as-slur, popular culture familiar to everyone contradicts and even mocks that assertion.
Warren has a lot more to worry about here than a false claim of racism.
And they also look stupid by not understanding or asking about what this really is about. We have a United States Senator, Elizabeth Warren, who made up her heritage in order to get a job at Harvard. She claimed she is 1/64th Cherokee, and the evidence for it is that her mother or grandmother or somebody had high cheekbones like the Indians did.
Now, why isn't that the real outrage? Somebody lying about being something that they are not.
All Trump is doing is pointing it out, and you can see this is not done. The left does not have their sacred cows attacked like this. And when it happens, they lose it. They go bananas. So what the reality is is that a day after all of this nonsense, it is being driven home to many people that Elizabeth Warren lied about her heritage to gain status in the world of the academy, which is obsessed with identity politics. ...
And this is what Trump does. He simply attacks their sacred cows. He pierces political correctness. He refuses to accept the lies and the phony constructs that they create in order to protect themselves.
It is taboo in many circles to raise issues about racial preferences, but the subject is politically potent in ways that do not advantage the Democrats. And if the newly strengthened Warren continues to build momentum and gains the nomination in 2020, the issue of racial preferences and their victims is likely to be in the public spotlight. The focus of that spotlight will be the practices of the very university that hired Warren. David French in National Review (French's entire article is worth a read for more on Warren's history of fraud):
Warren is a bit of an academic grifter. She's willing to fake her way to the top. When she came to Harvard Law School, she was – believe it or not – considered by some to be a "minority hire." She listed herself as a minority on a legal directory reviewed by deans and hiring committees. The University of Pennsylvania "listed her as a minority faculty member," and she was touted after her hire at Harvard Law School as, yes, the school's "first woman of color." This was no small thing. At the time, elite universities were under immense pressure to diversify their faculties (as they still are). "More women" was one command. "More women of color" was the ideal.
In his Daily Show monologue last night, Trevor Noah expressed skepticism about Warren. I realize that Noah is South African, but I wonder about the level of black turnout for a white lady who claimed minority status and got a huge plum thereby.
By the election, Harvard's use of racial preferences is going to be in the spotlight, anyway. And it's going to be in the news in a matter of days. Right now, the Department of Justice is pursuing an investigation into Harvard's alleged discrimination against Asian-American applicants.
Melissa Korn and Nicole Hong write in the Wall Street Journal:
The documents reviewed by the Journal confirm the existence of an investigation that the Justice Department in August indicated it would pursue and suggest that Harvard has challenged the authority of the department's Civil Rights Division to conduct it.
In a statement, Harvard said: "As we have repeatedly made clear to the Department of Justice, the University will certainly comply with its obligations under Title VI." The school added that it was seeking to engage the department in the best way to share relevant information while protecting applicants' privacy.
The Justice Department's investigation escalates a longstanding national debate over the role of race in college admissions – an issue the U.S. Supreme Court has intermittently wrestled with since the 1970s. As recently as last year, the court upheld the use of racial preferences in public university admissions.
In early August, the Justice Department posted an internal job listing for attorneys to investigate racial bias in college admissions, as it prepared to review a separate 2015 complaint filed by a coalition of 64 Asian-American associations claiming Harvard discriminates against Asian-American applicants.
Harvard is stonewalling production of the admissions documents demanded to investigate, with a December 1 deadline, after which a lawsuit is anticipated should Harvard continue its rebuff.
No doubt there will be delays, but I expect that sooner or later, files, perhaps with names removed, will be produced, and that the picture will not be pretty.
Getting Elizabeth Warren on the ticket would hand Trump a golden opportunity to make racial preferences a central issue in the presidential election. In the most effective possible way. Alinsky's thirteenth and final law:
Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.
Donald Trump never had to read Rules for Radicals. Most of his knowledge does not come from books – one reason he so deeply threatens intellectuals. Even worse, he is the master of reality television and knows how to script a story arc. It is vulgar to them, so they never watched it and have no sense of its power. They forget what an intellectual ought to know: the root of vulgar is vulgus, or "common people" in Latin.
As Patricia McCarthy notes elsewhere on AT today, Trump is playing along dimensions his opponents don't know exist.