When I was a little girl, my grandfather used to take my sister and me to the racetrack. My grandparents lived in Evansville, and we used to go over the state line to Kentucky several times a week, to go to the harness races at night and the flat races during the day. For those unfamiliar, “flat racing” is where the jockey sits “right on the horse,” as the outraged Harold Hill puts it in The Music Man. Harness racing is where the horse is pulling a sort of cart (called a sulky) with the jockey in it—the kind run in by the renowned horse Dan Patch. As Professor Hill put it, “like to see some stuck-up jockey-boy sittin’ on Dan Patch? No, Sir!”
Through these adventures in bad babysitting, we learned a great deal–about picking horses and hedging bets, and knowing when to take a risk. There are several different kinds of bets, but the one I’m talking about today is called the “trifecta.” A lot of people use this word to mean three random things thrown together for some reason, or three of the same thing, or three in a row. But what it really means is picking the combination of the win, place, and show horses—betting on which horse will be first, which second, and which third. It’s a difficult bet, and a good payout. And on Thursday, Donald Trump hit a trifecta of treason to the conservative base of the GOP—the opposite of winning.
Trump managed to get what are likely three top current priorities of the conservative base dead wrong. First, he stupidly threw himself into the middle of the simmering controversy over bathroom usage laws—top of mind for cultural conservatives right now. Not only did he give the answer that would infuriate the base and demonstrate his complete hypocrisy on the issue of political correctness, he muddled it in such a way as to prove he wasn’t even very conversant with the actual facts of the case.
To bring us up to speed, Charlotte, North Carolina recently passed an expansion of its nondiscrimination ordinance that included allowing transgendered people to choose which public restroom to use based on their gender identity, not their biological attributes. Not surprisingly, the citizens of this very conservative state rose up against the ordinance, fearing such an expansion would expose (for example) young girls in restrooms to fully grown adult men with their pants down in the women’s restroom.
The legislature quickly passed HB2, a state law requiring that people use the bathroom designated for their biological sex, which overrode the local ordinance and pleased conservatives by preventing the above “perverted male roams freely in girls’ bathrooms and locker rooms just because he feels like a girl today” scenario from happening.
But, of course, such a law could not help but stir up the usual suspects, as entertainment industry gasbags and has-been entertainers flew into high dudgeon. Michael Moore told his distributor not to allow his movie to play in North Carolina. Ringo Starr, Bruce Springsteen, Pearl Jam, Boston, and Cirque du Soleil announced they would not be playing in the state.
Advantage: North Carolina.
On Thursday, Trump airily dismissed the North Carolina law, saying transgenders should use whatever bathroom they want, and that North Carolina should have “left it the way it was.” Of course, it was North Carolina trying to put things back the way they were that caused all the trouble, so, as usual, Trump was babbling about something he was totally uninformed about.
That was the “win” he didn’t win.
The “place” issue he screwed up completely was the GOP platform plank on abortion, which Republican activists (many of whom are convention delegates) have held fast to, year in and year out, protecting the language granting the unborn the right to life. When asked whether he would try to “add language” to the platform providing for the “three exceptions”—rape, incest, and life of the mother—to match his own position, Trump said he would.
Good luck with that. Platform-wise, that’s an absolute non-starter. Even if he enters Cleveland as the presumptive nominee (with the required 1237 delegate majority), there is no way the platform committee delegates who safeguard the abortion plank will let that pass. Other, better, more convincingly Republican candidates have tried that before–and lost.
In the “show” column, the third most important issue he bungled on Thursday morning was when he was asked whether he would “raise taxes on the rich”.
He said “yes.”
No. The answer is no.
Memo to Trump: Try to remember you are still pretending to be a Republican. If anyone asks you if you will raise taxes on…it does not matter how that sentence ends. The answer is always “no.” You should be able to answer that question waking from a dead sleep, under sodium pentothal, or while enduring a myocardial infarction. As a Republican, you never raise taxes.
So, on leftist anti-family activism, abortion, and taxes, Donald Trump essentially proved himself a traitor to the GOP. Now, he may pay no price for that, considering how incredibly lemming-like his cult followers and his media sycophants are. If Donald Trump were (as the saying used to go) found in bed with a dead girl or a live boy, Jeff Sessions would sponsor a bill to protect international sex trafficking, Sean Hannity would start rhapsodizing about “intergenerational love,” and his legions of lemmings would start hand-scrawling “Make Pedophilia Great Again” on t-shirts. However, if Ted Cruz is still hunting for second-ballot delegates, he might find a fresh trail of buyer’s remorse in the states of the Evangelical South.
Happy hunting, Ted.