The Donald as Jackie Robinson?

Sunday, April 24, 2016

The Donald as Jackie Robinson?

O ho! So the newly hired Trump Brain Trust is promul­gating the message that their candidate has been "project­ing an image" during the 2016 primary season and "the part that he's been playing is now evolving" in a way that will more appeal to voters in this November's election.

Color me dubious, but Trump's new campaign manager, old pro Paul Manafort, is confident that the leopard can change its spots, this past week telling a Republican National Committee meeting in Florida:

"You'll start to see more depth of the person, the real person. You'll see a real different way. He gets it. The part that he's been playing is evolving into the part that now you've been expecting, but he wasn't ready for, because he had first to complete the first phase. The negatives will come down. The image is going to change."

That Manafort is attempting to re-position his boss as a less truculent persona... i.e., "kinder, gentler" person... requires a breath-taking act of faith, if not a grudging suspension of disbelief, among potential voters.

I am reminded of the well-documented history of Brooklyn Dodgers part-owner Branch Rickey's recruitment of Jackie Robinson to be the first black player in Major League Baseball.

The quality Rickey required of the fiery competitor was the ability to dial it w-a-a-a-y back, to ignore the myriad ugly provocations while establishing himself: "I want a player who’s got the guts not to fight back."

The naturally proud and prickly Robinson agreed to bite his lip, and forced himself to walk away from a spiking by the Saint Louis Cardinals Enos Slaughter and a campaign of racist abuse from Philadelphia Phillies manager Ben Chapman instead of taking them under the stands and punching their eyes closed.

That he was able to do so is a a glorious matter of sports and cultural history, but then there's the issue of Donald J. Trump's heretofore inexorable ego!

I "knew" Jackie Robinson, and Donald, you're no Jackie Robinson!


1. David Willmott said...

If he successfully pivots, what would he become? A less boisterous serial liar?

"Boisterous" certainly describes Trump, but upon personal knowledge, Cruz is the liar.

2. David Powell said...

Given the recent stories of Trump having his minions threaten delegates and state officials, it seems that the off-stage elbows are as sharp as ever.

Anyhow, the whole situation has been fascinating to me. I wonder if he will truly change his spots of he will blow things up by saying wild stuff if he feels he will not make it, so as to preserve the appearance that he lost through no fault of his own.

Of course, if he really believes he can make it, things do get quite interesting.

The old Machiavellian in me does wonder if the promises to vote a certain way on the first ballot at the convention would all be honored if he did something really nasty between now and the convention. After all, people have mentioned going back on their GOP Loyalty pledges that they have signed, including Mr. Trump himself.

With Secretary Hillary Clinton currently showing the personality of freeze-dried grits and getting a massive fight from an avowed Socialist, she seems beatable, if the GOP can avoid controlled flight into terrain on their own part.

The question of whether that is indeed Mr. Trump's plan comes to mind, but more so with the leadership of the party - whose efforts in backing Jeb Bush long after he should have withdrawn, attacking Marco Rubio, who they later tried to back, and avoiding Senator Ted Cruz, who was the obvious competitor to Mr. Trump after Iowa, have collectively boggled my mind in a way it has not been vexed since the last time I tried to make sense of New Jersey firearm regulations.

I do expect Mr. Trump to uncork something, for similar reasons that you do. I thought since the first GOP debate or so that his candidacy would end badly, and that the only question was how badly. I may be wrong, I hope I am, but right now I doubt it.

The problem of our political establishment not taking the time to think through and try to deal with the very real issues and frustrations that he has tapped into does not give me much comfort, either.


Can't disagree with you.

3. David Willmott said...

I am not a Cruz fan either, although I like seeing Ron Nehring as his spokesperson.

I get the sense that you might have known him from his time in Western Suffolk.

4. David Willmott said...

Actually it was his time in Southampton. I believe he was brought on by then Southampton GOP leader George Mathys to run the campaign against the initial Southampton Party featuring Fred Thiele, Doug Penney and Steve Kenney.

I did not know that.

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