Bob Franken


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From his days as a real estate huckster, Donald Trump was fully aware that selling point No. 1 was always “location, location, location.” Now that he’s a political huckster (pardon the redundancy), the rule is the same. As he tries to whip his base of bigots into a frenzy so they will turn out in overwhelming numbers, Trump has no doubts whatsoever about exactly what he has to do and where to go with his demagoguery. Again, it’s simply “location, location, location.”
No matter where he’s speaking and how far away he’s holding rallies, no matter how far north, the location is the south of the border, Trump’s story is that sinister forces have formed their caravan to escape their miserable lives in Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, and are headed through Mexico to overrun the U.S. borders. There are “Middle Easterner” terrorists in the midst, Trump thunders, with no evidence whatsoever. They are a threat to rape, and pillage and take our children, he charges. Oh wait, it’s his people who snatch children.
And, he’s come up with a new definition of “truth.” He revealed it when fake news reporters asked him for proof of his dire warnings:””There’s no proof of anything,” he responded, “but they could very well be.” Rest assured, he insisted, I have very good information.” Take that, skeptics. The one remaining question is whether Trump’s construct replaces Kellyanne Conway’s “alternative facts” or supplemensts it.

Donald Trump is not the first politician to rev up the demagoguery before an election in order to turn out supporters. In 2004, when religious fanatics were still going crazy over gay marriage, Republican strategists saw to it that various same-sex initiatives were on several state ballots to boost turnout and get conservatives to the polls, and while they were there, they could vote for George W. Bush.
It worked; Bush was re-elected. Now, while Trump is not on the ballot, he needs to push the turnout buttons on his side. So here we are, with the Trumpster looking south of the border to fan the flames. Another tried-and-true tactic that is much tried and not true is to deride your enemies for what doing what you’re doing yourself.
That might explain why Trump accuses the Democrats of paying bribes to various unnamed figures to organize these caravans. For good measure, his people are suggesting that the whole thing is financed by George Soros, a gazillionaire who is a major contributor to liberal causes. Soros, not surprisingly, is considered a monster by right-wingers, particularly since he’s Jewish, which sets off all the alarms for the anti-Semites in the Trump base.
If anybody could benefit from the migrant caravans, it would be the Republicans. So if anyone is paying bribes, it won’t be the Democrats.
Besides, any shift in news location away from Saudi Arabia and the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi is welcome relief for the Trump gang, particularly since they are all squirming as the sands shift in the explanations by their Saudi friends trying to avoid accountability for Khashoggi’s execution. I don’t know how to break it to the president, but if he’s concerned about those “Middle Easterners” in the Central American caravan, he’ll really freak out about Saudi Arabia; the country is crawling with Middle Easterners. Terrorists too.
Right now, the big threat to his White House tenure is the prospect that the Democrats actually can get organized and get their people to get off their lazy timidities and show up at the polls. They have the easy job, needing only one issue around which to rally: Donald Trump. Trump needs to steer hard right to get his peeps out on Election Day, and nothing gets them into an uproar more than those invaders from south of the border. Yes, it truly is a matter of “location, location, location,” although that really translates to “voter turnout, voter turnout, voter turnout.”

(c) 2018 Bob Franken
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

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