Bullies have a lot of tricks and Donald Trump is a bully. He bullied President Obama for years by insisting that Obama wasn’t born in America (and, as a result, couldn’t be a legitimate president). He made a “simple demand.” If Obama WAS born in America, then he should prove it by releasing his long-form birth certificate. It’s a game the bully wins either way. If you refuse to give in to his demand (which the bully has no real right to make), then the bully must be right. You’re hiding something and the bully can continue to criticize you for it. If you give in to the demand, then the bully has dominated you and you look weak. And, even then, the bully can continue to insist that you haven’t really met the demand, so the criticism can go on.
Obama tried, initially, to just ignore Trump. That might have worked, but Fox News amplified Trump’s charge. And, any time any Republican was asked if they thought that Obama was born in America, they would say they couldn’t be sure. Trump would tweet out some lie, that “someone” had called him and was close to proving the truth or whatever, and we’d be off on another news cycle of people raising questions about whether Obama was a “legitimate” president. Of course, it was a racist dog whistle. To bigots such as Trump and his supporters, no African American could ever be a legitimate president.
Obama finally gave in and produced his long-form birth certificate. Now, especially after attempting to ignore Trump’s demands, Obama looked weak and Trump and his fellow bigots could insinuate that there was something fishy or else why did Obama wait so long?
Finally, Trump used his bully tactic one last time, insisting during the campaign that Hillary was originally to blame for questions about Obama’s place of birth and that Trump was the good guy who managed to resolve the matter.
I bring this up because Trump is now ramping up the same tactic for use on Elizabeth Warren, especially if she runs for president in 2020. This time, Trump is demanding that Warren take a DNA test to determine whether or not she has Native American ancestry. (Warren’s family, from Oklahoma, believed that they had Native American ancestry. Warren at times relied upon that belief. To ridicule it, Trump calls Warren “Pocahontas,” which is both racist and sexist. His implication is that she made up her belief in her ancestry to get the “benefit” of being a member of a minority, which, of course, his bigoted base hates.) Warren needs to get out in front of this now and not allow Trump to do to her what he did to Obama.
But how do you deal with this bullying tactic when, as explained above, it is a heads-the-bully-wins-tails-you-lose trick? Warren has an advantage that Obama did not have. Trump is now the president and he has refused to release his taxes. He has also never released a real physical. Warren needs to turn the tables on him and begin to demand at every turn that he release that information (which, for many years now, all other presidents and presidential candidates have released). She needs to do it loudly and often and other members of her party need to back her up (rather than, as they shamefully did to Maxine Waters, turning on her).
We can help, too. On social media, in conversations, whenever we get the chance, we need to ask: What’s Trump hiding? Money laundering? Hereditary Alzheimer’s? Sexual diseases? Impotence? Dementia? If not, he could easily put all the doubts to bed by releasing his taxes and taking a real physical. Why won’t he release the information?
Picture found here.