On Monday night, in response to a statement about how the racial makeup of the Republican National Convention was likely to change after 2016, Iowa Republican Representative Steve King asked an MSNBC panel, “Where did any other subgroup of people contribute more to civilization?”
King meant “other than white people,” by the way. The comment was insane, as was virtually all of the first night of the Republican National Convention.
There, the mother of a soldier killed at Benghazi declared that she held Hillary Clinton personally responsible for his death; while that was happening, the presumptive Republican nominee for whom she was speaking was calling in to Fox News to demand that the attorney general “look into”* Black Lives Matter. There was a “lock her up” chant directed at Clinton. The convention’s opening prayer called for the defeat of the Democratic Party. A soap opera actor/one-time underwear model who gave a speech for the delegates later declared to ABC News that President Obama was “absolutely” a Muslim.
And, yes, Melania Trump appears to have plagiarized her remarks from Michelle Obama’s 2008 Democratic National Convention speech. That’s bad! But it was the least bad thing to take place on a no-good, very bad night.
Plagiarism is a distraction. Plagiarism is not as bad as rampant racism or incoherent ranting or using the overwhelming grief of a mother as a cudgel while simultaneously ignoring her to complain about how Ohio’s Republican governor isn’t licking your boots fast enough. It’s not as bad as the fact that one of this country’s two major political parties raised 17 candidates for president, and then chose the one most likely to be entirely composed of back-of-the-fridge tuna casserole. It’s not as bad as how the Republican Party behaved in Cleveland, on the banks of Lake Erie, on July 18, 2016.
Nevertheless, the Trump campaign has determined that you can make the whole plane out of the black box, and that you can make a presidential campaign in the world’s largest democracy out of pure, unadulterated, claptrap bullshit. It’s a feat of modern engineering. It’s the Great Wall of Dipshit. And it’s not shoring up our southern border — it’s being built across our cable news channels. Now, the Trump campaign can tap dance away from its overt racism and sexism like a goddamn “Bring in ’Da Noise, Bring in ’Da Funk” revival, and get to the heart of the matter: whether Donald Trump’s wife stole a few lines from Michelle Obama's 2008 DNC speech. It’s genius, really. Why confront the issues at hand, when the Trump campaign will drop nuggets of glorious low-hanging failure fruit directly into your lap?
So take a bow, Paul Manafort, Katrina Pierson, and all the rest. You have successfully orchestrated your own personal Manhattan Project: being so fucking shitty at your jobs that you back your way into a win. And now we’re all left with a nuclear bomb.
* A reminder that if we looked into everything Donald Trump has promised to “look into” we would do literally nothing else, starving alone, in a desert of our own making, looking into stuff.