Trump vs. The Squad

For everyone that is not aware of the daily goings-on in the world of Trump’s tweetstorms, you may have heard about his most recent Twitter post where he was attacking The Squad.  Who is The Squad?  More on that in a second.  The following are three recent posts from the President on July 14, 2019:

So interesting to see “Progressive” Democrat Congresswomen, who originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe, the worst, most corrupt and inept anywhere in the world (if they even have a functioning government at all), now loudly…

…. and viciously telling the people of the United States, the greatest and most powerful Nation on earth, how our government is to be run. Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came. Then come back and show us how….

…. it is done. These places need your help badly, you can’t leave fast enough. I’m sure that Nancy Pelosi would be very happy to quickly work out free travel arrangements!

The Congresswomen he is referring to are freshmen Representatives Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts.  Collectively the four women have been dubbed ‘The Squad.’  Some people on conservative talk radio have compared them to the main characters in the movie Mean Girls starring Lindsay Lohan that was released in 2004.  I personally don’t see how you can compare the Congresswomen to the four high school girls other than their being the same number of people, the characters like the Representatives use their collective voices to bash people they don’t like and speak out about topics that are important to them.  I think it’s sexist to make the comparison and offensive no matter which political party they belong to.

Before I break down Trump’s statement we need to point out an important fact.  Three of the four ladies he is referring to were born in the United States.  Omar is the only foreign-born naturalized US Citizen who came to this country as an asylum seeker in 1992 after spending four years in a refugee camp in Kenya. Coming from a war-torn Somalia she understands first hand what it means to go through the process of immigrating to the United States.  While Trump may have grouped the four women together it’s pretty clear he was specifically referring to Omar when he said to go back to the country they came from.

Let’s start with the last sentence of that Tweet “I’m sure that Nancy Pelosi would be very happy to quickly work out free travel arrangements!”  It’s no secret that there is a generational power struggle going on in the Democratic Party.  Being the Speaker of the House and a white woman of a certain age who is also very liberal, the members of The Squad represent a younger, even further left segment of the party and population that besides having different skin complexion and in some cases religious beliefs do not subscribe to the adage of ‘stay quiet and wait your turn.’

While Pelosi dismisses the popularity of the four women to “Twitter whatever” she is also having a hard time convincing the American public that those Representatives do not represent the future of the Democratic Party.  One only needs to view some of the policy positions of the Congresswomen, which appeal to progressive Democratic Socialists, and it’s easy to see why some consider Pelosi to be Speaker in name only.  With many of the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates espousing equal or similar beliefs as The Squad and social media being the medium of choice for a new generation, those who have the largest amount of followers will ultimately yield the most influence.

The rest of Trump’s statement speaks for itself.  Somalia along with many other countries in Africa has had a long history of tribal warfare and a corrupt ruling class.  While some countries like Nigeria and South Africa are having thriving economies all countries on the continent do have a crime problem.  Those countries can benefit from smart people who have the citizenry’s best interest at heart and are willing to put in the work to make positive changes.  The sooner new leadership takes over the better off those countries will be.

The middle of his Tweet where he says “viciously telling the people of the United States, the greatest and most powerful Nation on earth, how our government is to be run” is compelling politically.  You see all of this is political.  Republican President versus Democratic Representatives.  Politicians will take advantage of every statement of the opposing parties elected official in charge, especially when there’s a presidential election coming up.

The negative connotation of his entire Tweet sends two messages.  One is xenophobia, which is the dislike of or prejudices against people from other countries.  Rashida Tlaib was born in Detroit to Palestinian immigrants.  Ayanna Pressley is an African American woman born in Chicago. Ocasio-Cortez was born in the Bronx, NY and is of Puerto Rican descent.  With all four women being of color and having foreign ancestry it’s easy to see how phrases like go back to the country you came from come across as hurtful and anti-American.  Throughout history, each wave of immigrants from countries near and far have heard that phrase echoed to them.  People who did not look or sound like the new immigrants who were in fear of losing their job to foreigners usually said it at times of high unemployment.

The other message it sends is entirely political.  By keeping the rift between Pelosi and The Squad in the spotlight and baiting the four Congresswomen to hold a press conference denouncing his statement Trump has successfully kept the vision that they hold for the future as that of the entire Democratic Party.  The Congresswomen want the party to go as far left as they can take it.  Extremists on both sides of the aisle are usually in the minority but speak like they are in the majority.  Providing them with the platform to promote their positions on a national stage and tying that message to his Democratic challengers is a brilliant chess move by Trump.

Trump knows the game of political shock and awe.  He is an atypical politician who shocks the conscience by making statements that keep the conversation about him.  In Hollywood, a realm Trump knows all too well, all press is good press.  The more the spotlight is on you, the less it is on your competitors.  By making statements that according to Trump are “modern-day Presidential” which are anything but, people are oftentimes left shaking their heads saying I can’t believe he said that.  If you agree with his lack of political correctness you will find his comments direct and refreshing.  If you find his comments repulsive he will not win your vote, but he will control the daily news cycle.  In this most recent case, he put a fading news story of a Democratic house divided back in the spotlight and gave it new life.

What his Tweet also did was provide Trump with free national advertising for himself and his re-election campaign.  The price of a Tweet was a few minutes of his time and nothing out of pocket.  The amount of press that Tweet garnered along with all of the pundits and commentators discussing and debating it (like this post) was priceless and worth every sling and arrow he has received. You see, for each moment spent talking about Trump that is one less moment the media spends discussing policy and his opponents.  His challengers for President would love to avoid fundraising and get the amount of attention off of one Tweet the same way Trump does.  Seeing as how they promote themselves as the party of inclusivity they will have a hard time copying the style of someone who speaks bluntly and doesn’t lose sleep over hurting people’s feelings.

Political elections are similar to war.  The battle for the highest office of the land is never pretty and rarely ever civil. When Trump announced his initial candidacy for president in 2015 he shocked the conscience by saying many Mexican’s coming across the border were criminals and rapists.  The spotlight was drawn away from the field of Republican contenders and has remained on him ever since.  This latest dustup should be no surprise as its show business rule 101. Hillary outspent Trump 2-1 during the 2016 election cycle and lost.  Trump spent the first 15 months saying things that were outrageous on every show that would have him.  Trump was and is ratings gold.  The same hosts that wanted to piggyback off his popularity did so not thinking he would ever become president.  History has a way of repeating itself.  Those same stations and pundits that gave the idea of a Trump presidency life and free airtime are doing it again now.  He has been making the rounds by going into hostile territory and being interviewed by people who bash him every chance they get.  While the questions given to him are not designed to promote his candidacy for reelection the opportunity to promote his message to their audience provides him with the platform to do just that.  Being the current commander in chief with an economy that speaks for itself Trump can afford to take aim at a group of freshman representatives.  In Trump’s world, it’s win-win.  The Squad becomes more famous than they’ve ever been and Trump keeps the attention on him.  All with the power of a smartphone and “Twitter whatever.”

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