When Donald Trump launched his racist attacks on the four Democratic progressive congresswomen of color, he was undoubtedly encouraged to do so by the way that others who support the Democratic party establishment had earlier criticized them and the way they did so. Take for example, Jennifer Rubin, a neoconservative and Never Trumper who is a columnist in the Washington Post. She, like other neoconservatives (Bill Kristol, Max Boot) who were solidly Republican but have become disenchanted with Trump possibly because in his election campaign he condemned the wars that they instigated and did not want to expand into new wars, now feel free to advise Democrats on what they should do. They hate the progressives in the Democratic party with a passion because they are opposed to the current wars and are not in favor of using the US military to further the neo-imperialist agenda.
In an article titled How Democrats should respond to Ocasio-Cortez and the far left, Rubin takes an utterly patronizing tone.
There is a moment when the boss or the parent or chaperone realizes, ”We’re in charge! The inmates/employees/children don’t get to make the rules around here.” And, by the way, ”Clean up your language — show some respect!”
That’s not exactly what happened in the Democratic House caucus on Thursday, but it was close. The good news for Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., the Democratic Party and the country at large was that Pelosi didn’t have to be the bad guy. Her members, mostly moderates, and her nonwhite members did what they should have done a few months ago: Tell Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and her three ”squad” members — Reps. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., and Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich. — to knock it off.
Note how the newspaper has compounded the problem by giving her piece a title that suggests that Ocasio-Cortez and her progressive colleagues are not Democrats at all!
And then we have that reliable purveyor of Beltway insider gossipy banalities, New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, who also weighed in to support speaker Nancy Pelosi’s attempts to demean the progressives and tell them that they should shut up. Dowd wrote, “In the age of Trump, there is no more stupid proposition than that Nancy Pelosi is the problem. If A.O.C. and her Pygmalions and acolytes decide that burning down the House is more important than deposing Trump, they will be left with a racist backward president and the emotional satisfaction of their own purity.”
It is clear that Trump and his allies in the Republican party and the media think he can widen this wedge between the progressives and Democratic establishment types by using racist attacks on the progressives and that encouraged him to do so. I hope that Nancy Pelosi realizes that her attacks on the progressives and attempting to marginalize them are what Trump is counting on for his strategy to succeed.
Josh Marshall, the editor of TPM some time ago identified Trump as using ‘bitch slap politics’, an ugly and misogynistic but yet vivid term that says that one establishes one’s dominance over another by vigorously attacking them at the earliest opportunity in the crudest way possible in order to show them you are the boss and that they must succumb to you. He did that during the primaries, knocking off one rival after another by ridiculing them in a manner they had not experienced before. And it has worked with the Republican party who now cower in fear of saying anything against him, ducking and weaving both literally and metaphorically.
But what Trump may not have fully appreciated is that in extending that strategy to these four women, he may have misjudged his opponents. These people do not seem to be careerist politicians who go along to get along and they are not reacting passively to his ‘bitch slaps’ but have have shown remarkable guts in the face of these racist attacks on them and are not backing down in the least. They are counterpunching vigorously.
There are some DC ”strategists” that seem quite eager (almost wanting) to believe that Trump is a secret genius playing 3-D racism chess.
He’s simply an impulsive racist, one who leaves his party scrambling to excuse bigotry & scam the country. https://t.co/AwLJlmE6jr
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) July 21, 2019
Trump the bully is finding out that not everyone can be pushed around by him. These ‘bitches’ are slapping back, hard.