When writing or thinking about Donald Trump and his Tweets, I find that it is instructive to think about why he tweets what he does, and it almost invariably comes down to stoking his shrinking base. You know, the 35 percent of voters (or 15-20 percent of the country) who have hijacked our cultural discourse and who have normalized a pedophile running for office (normalizing a sexual harasser in the White House is on us, though, because we allowed, championed, and defended Bill Clinton, and that was really shitty of us. Of course, we didn’t know that George H.W. Bush was also a creep, but let’s just go ahead and concede that we as a society have been really awful about enabling monsters for a really long time).
Anyway, Trump’s Twitter account exists for one reason only: To keep the bigots stoked. Here he is saying, in a way that’s not even coded, that black people are ungrateful for the bare goddamn minimum and that they all belong in jail. He all but says “uppity.”
Now that the three basketball players are out of China and saved from years in jail, LaVar Ball, the father of LiAngelo, is unaccepting of what I did for his son and that shoplifting is no big deal. I should have left them in jail!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 19, 2017
Shoplifting is a very big deal in China, as it should be (5-10 years in jail), but not to father LaVar. Should have gotten his son out during my next trip to China instead. China told them why they were released. Very ungrateful!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 19, 2017
Here he is attacking another black man with whom he disagrees, basically suggesting that Lynch disrespects the values of American white men.
Marshawn Lynch of the NFL’s Oakland Raiders stands for the Mexican Anthem and sits down to boos for our National Anthem. Great disrespect! Next time NFL should suspend him for remainder of season. Attendance and ratings way down.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 20, 2017
Part of me is furious about these tweets, but other part says, “Don’t engage.” What’s the point? If we’re arguing about Trump’s bigotry — which is bloody fucking obvious at this point — then Trump is winning, because his base is not only ignited, they’re ignoring Roy Moore, Trump’s history of sexual assault, a tax plan that is brutal to his base, and Russia.
That’s pretty much exactly what he wants. Trump would much prefer that we engage in a cultural war because that’s a debate that divides us, whereas we are mostly unified in the debate over the tax plan (only 25 percent support, while 84 percent believe it will only benefit the wealthy).
Trump is a very stupid person, who doesn’t have the first goddamn idea about policy, but he knows how to rile his base and stoke fears against immigrants and people of color.
Border Patrol Officer killed at Southern Border, another badly hurt. We will seek out and bring to justice those responsible. We will, and must, build the Wall!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 20, 2017
And so, while he’s got his base in his pocket, while they’re defending their Racist in Chief, he takes that animus and directs it toward an opponent:
Sen. Jeff Flake(y), who is unelectable in the Great State of Arizona (quit race, anemic polls) was caught (purposely) on “mike” saying bad things about your favorite President. He’ll be a NO on tax cuts because his political career anyway is “toast.”— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 19, 2017
And while their bigotry is flaring, and while they’re angry at anyone who opposes him, he brings up something they should be against, and he uses their alliance with him on cultural issues to build support for an unpopular policy.
Republican Senators are working very hard to get Tax Cuts and Tax Reform approved. Hopefully it will not be long and they do not want to disappoint the American public!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 20, 2017
It’s savvier than we’d want to give him credit for, but there’s a cleverness to it. I mean, Obama would say, “Who loves dessert! We all love dessert!” But Trump is like, “Who loves pie? We all love pie! Fuck those cake-eating motherfuckers! Now let’s all go chow down on some black licorice!” And his base is like, “We love pie! And, uh, yeah: cake sucks? And sure, I guess, we’ll eat black licorice, too. I mean, as long as it means more pie (and less cake)!”
Nobody likes black licorice, except wealthy people, but Trump not only has the pie-eaters gobbling down black licorice, he’s got the cake eaters questioning their love of pie. We love pie, too, but those pie eaters are racist, and we don’t want to support a racist industry. Fuck pie! Pie sucks!
And while we’re all caught up in the pie vs. cake debate, Donald Trump just saved his family $1 billion in taxes.
And that, folks, is why Donald Trump tweets shit about Marshawn Lynch.