IT'S ONLY A METAPHOR FOR MY XENOPHOBIA

Posted in Quick Hits on August 30th, 2016 by Ed

Throughout this campaign we've all laugh-cried at Trump supporters pressed to name any policy position he holds that they find appealing. No matter how clueless, every Trumper can name one (if only one) thing: Build. The. Wall. They chant it. They wear shirts and wave signs printed with it. They talk about it incessantly. If there is any one thing that Trump and his supporters agree upon unconditionally – one universal truth in their bizarre alternate reality – it is build the wall. I daresay the wall is a deal-breaker for them. They do not appear willing to negotiate about this wall. They want The Wall. Demand it, even.

So of course Trump, in some sort of idiotic effort to "court" "moderates" and perhaps convince a slightly larger portion of the GOP that he is not an actual fascist, spent the weekend trying to backpedal on the goddamn Wall. Because any competent campaign would strongly consider, nine weeks out from the election, injecting huge amounts of ambiguity into the one idea, however misguided, that its supporters agree upon without exception and about which they are rabidly enthusiastic. Over the past few days the campaign's surrogates have been sent out to float the idea that maybe the Wall isn't actually a wall, but a "virtual wall" – which Trump supporters cannot but note is not a wall at all. I give up; he may actually be trying to lose.

But wait! It turns out that when they said The Wall was not a real wall but actually just some kind of metaphor, it turns out they were being misquoted. It is, in fact, A Wall. The same sad-sack surrogates, who cannot help but deeply regret their decision to be in any way involved with this three ring circus, are being pushed before the cameras less than 48 hours later to "clarify" that their previous introduction of confusion into the conception of what exactly The Wall is has focus-grouped poorly and is being banished to the Land of Wind and Ghosts. Because obviously the way a campaign floats policy trial balloons is by appearing on media watched closely around the world and throwing out the possibility that what they have been saying all along may not actually be what they mean. And then abandoning that when it isn't well received.

The kind of person who is all-in on Trump 2016 is not likely to be a big fan of subtlety, nuance, symbolism, or metaphor. When these people say they want A Wall, they mean A Wall. One might assume that if the campaign understands literally nothing else they would understand that their supporters really, really want A Wall and it might not be a good idea to do a soft rollout of the possibility that The Wall is actually a thing that exists in our hearts and minds.