Donald Trump
President Donald Trump speaks during an address on border security in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2019. Trump demanded Congress provide billions more for border security in a prime-time address to the nation, stopping short of declaring a national emergency and giving little indication of a quick end to a paralyzing political dispute over his proposed wall on the Mexican border. (Carlos Barria/Pool via Bloomberg)

Bad news for Elizabeth Warren’s presidential ambitions: the Massachusetts senator can’t beat Trump.

Democrats like Warren reason that because Trump’s performance and behavior in office have been so deplorable, he is bound to lose to any Democrat on the ballot. Wrong.

With every succeeding deplorable, despicable action or policy, Trump burrows deeper and deeper into the gut of his base — the White Tribe who want to keep it that way — and they constitute one-third of the electorate. They will march behind Trump to re-decide the outcome at Little Big Horn if he asked them.

No, the ideal candidate to defeat The Dotard in 2020 would be Mike Tyson, the politician. A Mike Tyson political persona would exude massive physical potential, which Trump would quickly understand. Now a Mike Tyson character would be superior to all the high-brass generals Trump has dealt with, because the Tyson candidate might just be unhinged enough — following some Trumpian insult or another — to walk up to his polite debate opponent and warn him:

“I’m not going to be insulted by you like that. I don’t care what office you hold. We can take this outside and settle it … no, we can handle this right now. I’m gonna kick your ass, Mr. President.” Then step toward him like he really meant it. Then pause and return to his position onstage. First, get his attention.

That intimidation would be just enough to take some of the tinsel off of Trump’s vulgar reputation among his deplorable base supporters. They see him as their blond bully and believe that nothing but Trump’s pure nativist instincts can maintain the White dominance to which they are accustomed. White power.

President Lyndon B. Johnson explained how it works in the 1960s to Bill Moyers: “If you can convince the lowest White man he’s better than the best colored man, he won’t notice you’re picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he’ll empty his pockets for you.” Trump 101.

Sen. Warren, and I suspect most of the potential Democratic presidential field, feels that conventional coffee-klatch-visit-Iowa-style campaigning is sufficient. Wrong.

“For White evangelical Christians who see the sun setting on White Christian dominance in this country, [Trump] is a very powerful symbol,” said writer Greg Sargent. “Trump’s grip on these voters is really rooted in his willingness to speak to their anxiety about their declining hegemony.”

One way to politically defeat Trumpism is to shame Trump. Just once. It’s like the children’s story: which mouse will “bell the cat,” that is put a bell around the cat’s neck so that all the mice will hear the cat coming.

Warren, who confessed that she can’t stop Trump from tweeting, or speaking insults, did not help her own cause when she responded to his “Pocahontas” taunts by testing her DNA, and then releasing the inconclusive results. Step toward Trump not away from him.

Not since Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis shamed himself by riding in a tank (just exuding his manliness) during his campaign against President George H.W. Bush has such a political stunt backfired. His stunt looked silly, and was overrun, when Bush issued the infamous Willie Horton ad, shaming the governor for releasing a Black convict who later murdered an innocent White woman. Hers was also silly and so-o-o contrived.

In some home-video campaign announcement, Warren excused herself on camera and said she was going for “a beer.” She returned with a brown bottle in her hand. So macho. I didn’t know that Chablis Beer came in brown bottles. That’s not a very Mike Tyson kind of a move.

Dealing with Trump on equal footing in a campaign is like the old story of using a 2×4 when dealing with a stubborn mule. The farmer would use that piece of timber to strike the ol’ mule in the head. “There,” he said. “First you have to get his attention.”

Askia Muhammad

WPFW News Director Askia Muhammad is also a poet, and a photojournalist. He is Senior Editor for The Final Call newspaper and he writes a weekly column in The Washington Informer.

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