Don’t be surprised if Donald Trump starts crank-calling Hillary Clinton to relive past glories.
She answers the phone and he yells, “Crooked!” before hanging up and staring at a poster of Kamala Harris as a single tear rests on his cheek. Back in 2016, it was so much easier for Trump to attack because, thanks to years of dark conspiracies, Clinton was already a bogeywoman to the right in ways that transcended Benghazi or an unsecured server or “her emails.”
There are lunatics out there who still believe she is a child sex trafficker and murderer.
Clinton arrived from the Political Opponent factory pre-assembled with clearly marked vulnerabilities.
But as we’ve seen in recent weeks — including on Tuesday, after Joe Biden electrified his campaign by picking Harris for vice-president — Trump’s bazooka of insults and nicknames is now firing blanks. If anything, that bazooka is a boomerang: it keeps circling back to smack him upside the head.
On Wednesday, MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” aired the attack ad Team Trump rolled out in rapid response to the Biden-Harris ticket. It was a mishmash of alarmist narration and graphics such as “radical left” and “socialist medicine.” Yawn. As attack ads go, it had the bite of a guppy.
When the cameras cut back to the hosts, Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski were laughing as if they had just watched a Dave Chappelle clip. An attack ad that makes viewers chortle? That’s like a pain killer that brings on a migraine. It is a total fail.
Scarborough: “That’s funny. Yeah, good luck with that.”
Brzezinski: “Wow. That’s all they got?”
Actually, Mika, they may have even less.
Until now, Team Trump’s main attack on Biden has focused on the former VP’s alleged physical and cognitive decline. Biden’s nickname went from “Sleepy Joe” to, in the new ad, “Slow Joe.” Inside the MAGA death cult, Biden has lost his marbles down a drainpipe he believes is a plate of spaghetti and what day is it? Biden is hiding in his basement because the Grim Reaper is knocking on the front door.
But this weekend, Biden went for a bike ride. So much for the “frail” talking point. Can you imagine Trump wobbling on a two-wheeler? He’d peddle one foot before tipping over and face-planting into the curb as his wig ejects. While pulling a Lance Armstrong, Biden also masterfully trolled Fox’s Peter Doocy, who attempted to inquire about the impending VP announcement.
Doocy: “Mr. Vice-President, have you picked a running mate yet?”
Biden: “Yeah, I have.”
Doocy: “You have? Who is it?”
Biden, sailing past in his mask: “You!”
I spit out my martini. If that is dementia, I can only pray to be as senile one day.
Trump’s best bet to land blows this election was always going to come down to the Democratic VP. Voters have already read and agreed to the Terms of Agreement on Biden. You’re not getting fireworks. You’re getting a hurricane lamp. You’re not getting psychodrama. You’re getting a scripted return to normal. Under Trump, America became a global laughingstock and nation to be pitied.
Under Biden, America flexes its muscles on a new bike path of exceptionalism.
And if Biden is coated in Teflon to Trump’s futile attacks, Harris is shrouded in Kevlar. She is the first woman of colour to be on a major party ticket. That’s not nothing, especially at this time. Harris is a pop-cultural force unto herself. It was fascinating to watch so many celebrities weigh in on Tuesday and sing her praises while, for the first time in ages, seeming to forget Trump even exists.
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A big case for Biden was always that he is not Trump. He represents a safe past.
A big case for Harris is that she is the future.
This is what should terrify the U.S. president most of all; at this point in 2020, Kamala Harris is a lot like Donald Trump was in 2016: a symbol of change foisted upon the Zeitgeist.
I suspect this is why Trump looked and sounded so beaten down as he mailed in his attacks on Tuesday. But calling Harris “nasty,” as he did, only makes voters ask, “And you’re not?” Resorting to a “Phoney Kamala” nickname, as he did in the new ad, only makes voters remember this is a man who lies more than Pinocchio on an acid trip and flip-flops like a trout on the deck of a fishing boat.
There is no charge Trump can level at Harris that could not apply to him.
And that’s what makes Biden’s veep decision so brilliant. Biden is playing 3D chess against a desperate Trump Cult that is down to a tattered checkers board that’s missing most of the pieces. In Harris, Biden has shrewdly armed his campaign with a political assassin who, much like Trump, will say whatever it takes to win. She’s ruthless. If I were Mike Pence, I’d be looking into the Witness Protection Program because Harris is going to chew him up and spit him out during their VP debate in October.
It’s going to be like watching Mike Tyson climb into the ring with Andy Dick.
Harris is not playing around. And Trump, hard-wired to play around, just lost his bag of tricks.
How does a poisonous snake hunt a chameleon?
Kamala Harris is Donald’s Trump worst nightmare: she is immune to his attacks.
She has a political record that can’t be nailed down one way or the other.
She has moxie and smarts and verve and ice water in her veins.
Sorry, Trumpville, but she seems both untouchable and inevitable.
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