Posted on February 11, 2020

Donald Trump Will Run to The Left

Nathan J. Robinson, Current Affairs, February 3, 2020

You might have been surprised by the content of Donald Trump’s Super Bowl ad. Was it about building the wall? Bringing back jobs? Getting tough on Iran? No. It was about… criminal justice reform. It featured Alice Johnson, who was serving a life sentence on drug possession charges until Kim Kardashian West pleaded with Trump to grant Johnson clemency, which he did. The ad said that while other politicians “talk about criminal justice reform, president Trump got it done,” and said that “thousands of families are being reunited.”

Freeing Black women from unjust prison sentences has never been a focal point of Trump’s agenda before, so the ad was jarring. {snip}

But Trump likes to do things like this. {snip} In May of 2019, he used the injustice of American criminal punishment to attack Joe Biden as too harsh!

Of course, nobody thinks Trump cares about “reuniting families”—he is, after all, responsible for the hideous escalation of immigrant family separation. Nor does he give a damn about criminal justice: Trump pardoned Joe Arpaio. {snip} He only even gave Johnson clemency because Kardashian West had become an advocate for Johnson’s case and asked Trump face-to-face. Actions like signing the First Step Act are very clearly based on political opportunism rather than any actual interest in improving the condition of prisoners or the fairness of the punishment system toward African Americans.

But Trump knows how to needle Democrats, and if Joe Biden is his opponent this year, you can fully expect Trump to paint himself as a friend of the Black community against Biden, who spent much of his career as proudly “tough on crime.” He will probably lift from Dinesh D’Souza’s thesis that Democrats have been trying since the time of the Civil War to maintain America as a plantation where Black people are under their thumb, and Trump is our Lincoln. I wouldn’t even be surprised if Trump brought up Biden’s friendship with the nasty white supremacist Strom Thurmond. {snip}

It all sounds nuts, but it makes sense with an opponent like Biden, because the criticisms of Biden’s own record will be correct, and Biden will have a difficult time responding. {snip} If Biden tries to attack Trump as corrupt, a liar, and a racist, Trump will reply by talking incessantly about Hunter Biden, Biden’s many ridiculous lies (like saying he was a civil rights activist in the 60s), and saying Biden promoted the racist myth of “super predators” and locked Black men and women up by the score.


What too few people still understand about Donald Trump is that Trump is formidable. He crushed every Republican in the 2016 primary, and took out the extremely powerful Hillary Clinton. The Apprentice was the #1 show for so long because Trump has a talent for entertaining people and drawing attention to himself. {snip}


{snip} If it serves him politically, Trump will switch from the hard right to the left in half a second. He will promise you everything, he will be for unions and peace and prisoners. {snip}