Donald Trump is a boon to the Republicans

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Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump | AP file photo

Politics is usually what is called a “zero-sum game.”

Or in English, “I win/You lose.”

Something bad for the other guy is good for you.

A blow to the Republicans is a boon for the Democrats.

And vice versa.

But politics isn’t everything.

Take the latest Donald Trump presidential eruption.

Common wisdom is that the crass, vain, logorrheic Trump will hurt the Republican Party with his comic opera campaign, his tendency to say almost anything and then stick to it.

You hear the term “blithering idiot,” but how many times do you actually hear a man blither? Donald Trump blithers.

But I honestly believe Trump will help the Republicans in their bid to take over the White House after eight years of exile. If not, he’ll still end up helping the country.

How?

First, he might win.

Think back to a previous laughable candidate, who Democrats like me just couldn’t believe was running. He was a rich Hollywood actor who plugged Borax on television and starred in a movie with a chimp. He said so many stupid things — to Democratic ears, anyway — pundits gathered them into books. He was a joke.

That candidate was Ronald Reagan, of course. While I think Reagan had much more going for him — his folksy charm, his twinkle, as opposed to Trump’s gut-turning hair edifice, his “I’m very rich” shrug and tendency to snarl — Trump taking it from the current field of pygmies is not outside of the realm of possibility. He isn’t even the most ridiculous New York area candidate. That would be New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

But I don’t think Trump will help the cause by winning.

He’ll help by being an unavoidable embodiment of his failed beliefs. His presidential announcement contained this jaw-dropping denunciation of Mexican immigrants, not a gaffe or a misstatement, but something he said early on in the speech at Trump Tower announcing his candidacy.

When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best; they’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.

This is untrue on so many levels, it’s such a classic piece of xenophobic fear mongering, the media fell to picking it apart. Painting immigrants as criminals is an American tradition. The Irish were criminals. Italians were criminals. Jews were criminals. And while all those groups, being humans,containedcriminals, and might be pushed in that direction by the power structure freezing them out of jobs, there was nothing intrinsic about Irish, Italians, Jews — or Mexicans — that made them criminals.

And, in fact, scholars show that immigration affects our crime rate — which has been tumbling for years — not at all.

The media was so focused on the falsity of Trump’s perspective, they missed how Trump, twirling in the spotlight with his hateful screed — one of my colleagues called it “critical candor;” though were I groping for an alliteration I’d go with “bigoted B.S.” — might help the Republicans finally see that it’s wrong.

A foul person or act can bring clarity to a moral wrong. Trump’s like the Westboro Baptist Church, which if anything makes peoplemoresympathetic to gays by airing their hatred in such an odious fashion.I’m not comparing Donald Trump to Dylann Roof. But the 21-year-old, by killing nine people in church after embracing the Confederate flag, finally made people understand what the flag is really about. Suddenly, people got it. And Donald Trump, by including the stereotypical sexual panic that is at the heart of so much racism — “They’re rapists” — might make it a little easier to whatever non-loathsome candidate the Republicans end up with (my guess is Jeb Bush) to back away a step or two from the immigration cliff the party seems intent on leaping over again.

So that’s good for them. And while that might be bad for Democratic chances, it’s good for the country as a whole. Because we are never going to deport those 11 million illegal immigrants. They’re going to gain civil rights, eventually. And their children will, like every other second-generation group, become politically powerful. Donald Trump just doesn’t get it. But he doesn’t get it in such a persistent, public, obnoxious and embarrassing way, he might just help others to finally understand. And that’s good for everybody.

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