The discomfort

And speaking of the need to talk about racism and hatred and what they lead to, the NY Times takes us back to the days when Donald Trump was busy being a birther. I remember those days, and I remember rolling my eyes and paying no further attention, because who the hell cares what Donald Trump says about anything? Remember that innocent time? I still think it’s a waste of life to pay any attention to him, of course, but now we’ve been forced to, by gullible people who think he’s interesting and correct.

In the birther movement, Mr. Trump recognized an opportunity to connect with the electorate over an issue many considered taboo: the discomfort, in some quarters of American society, with the election of the nation’s first black president. He harnessed it for political gain, beginning his connection with the largely white Republican base that, in his 2016 campaign, helped clinch his party’s nomination.

In other words he used racism to make himself a candidate popular with racists. He’s a terrible human being.

And starting in March 2011, when he first began to test the idea that a reality television star with no political experience could mount a campaign for the presidency, Mr. Trump could not stop talking about it.

“Why doesn’t he show his birth certificate?” he asked on ABC’s “The View.” “I want to see his birth certificate,” he told Fox News’s “On the Record.” And on NBC’s “Today Show,” he declared, “I’m starting to think that he was not born here.”

The more Mr. Trump questioned the legitimacy of Mr. Obama’s presidency, the better he performed in the early polls of the 2012 Republican field, springing from fifth place to a virtual tie for first.

In other words he peddled a stupid, malicious, racist lie for the sake of his own greedy ambitions, and the major media helped him do it.

Now, Mr. Trump almost assiduously refuses to discuss the topic, which, according to several people close to him, was always more about political performance art than ideology.

“I don’t talk about that anymore,” Mr. Trump told the MSNBC host Chris Matthews after a Republican debate last year.

Raising questions about the president’s birth certificate — and even threatening to send a team of investigators to Hawaii — had served its purpose, raising Mr. Trump’s political profile and, whether he knew it or not at the time, providing him with the rudimentary foundation upon which he built his 2016 campaign.

He even skirted close to birther innuendo after the massacre in Orlando, Fla., last month, calling in to “Fox & Friends” to insinuate that Mr. Obama might sympathize with Islamic extremists. “He doesn’t get it or he gets it better than anybody understands,” Mr. Trump said.

Anybody got a copy of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion to send him?

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