The Trump Effect
Jeff Darcy’s cartoon from

For a while now, I’ve thought American politics couldn’t get more divisive, stupid and just generally shitty than they are at whatever point I make that observation. And, every time I think that, I am proven wrong. There are plenty of examples of this phenomenon, pages and pages of examples. But, let’s focus on the latest one: the  stupid pronouncements of equally stupid people seeking the highest office in the land.

It started with Donald Trump saying that Mexico is actively sending its criminals into our country, calling people seeking a better life drug mules and rapists. When I heard this, I thought it was a perfect storm of stupid. I mean, seriously, a country that struggles to keep its criminals in jail has the wherewithal to gather them up and ship them over the border? And, that’s not even accounting for the abject shittiness of painting an entire group of people with one disgusting brush. To be fair, he also said that ” some, I assume, are good people.” But, that doesn’t really help, does it? If anything, it makes the statement worse.

Now, you’d think that, between making such statements and refusing to apologize for them, the Donald’s campaign would’ve been killed before it even got off the ground. Especially since the Republicans have been making a big deal about courting Hispanic voters after their dismal showing with that group in the last election. But, you know what? You’d be oh, so wrong because Trump’s ridiculously offensive comments have actually catapulted him to the top of the Republican field. The rest of that field is watching and taking notes. It was only a matter of time before the Trump Effect finally kicked in.

Unless you’re Luddite like my brother (who has actually considered living in a tent), you know that Mike Huckabee said something a little incendiary Saturday. In his zeal to toe the Republican line and trash the Iranian nuclear deal that President Obama helped broker, the Huckster said:

“(Obama)’s so naive he would trust the Iranians, and he would take the Israelis and basically march them to the door of the oven.

Well, isn’t that special?

Huck has learned the lessons taught by the Donald very well because he’s not backing off this ridiculous metaphor; instead doubling and even tripling down on the stupid. In fact, he’s following Trump’s lead to the point of pilfering the Donald’s lines. Just as Trump claimed that the Mexican people love him, Huckabee told Matt Lauer on The Today Show that, “The response from Jewish people has been overwhelmingly positive.” But, wait; it gets better.

During an interview with Greta Van Susteren on Fox News, Trump said he was “okay” with the comment and that Huckabee had “hit a nerve and he’s made people think a little bit.” Yeah, you could say that. The Huckster’s shitty remark has definitely hit a nerve, even with those “Jewish people” he claims love what he said.  Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer, a vehement critic of the deal, said the language was “inappropriate”. And, New York Representative Eliot Engel, one of Congress’ most vocal supporters of Israel told reporters “I do think his choice of words was less than smart. I don’t think that we should trivialize the Holocaust or compare everything to the Holocaust.” As for making us think, it has definitely done that. But, not the way Trump meant. What we’re thinking is that Huckabee is a massive douche for saying something like this.

Of course, this isn’t the first time Huckabee has trivialized something important to people who are Jewish. While he was still “exploring” his current presidential bid, he compared legalizing same-sex marriage to forcing a Jewish deli to serve bacon-wrapped shrimp. For a member of a party with a long history of pandering to the Jewish community, the man is remarkably tone-deaf.

Now, it’s one thing for a politician to say stupid, offensive things to get noticed when their poll number suck; sadly, we’ve come to expect that. But, Huckabee is more than a politician; he’s a pastor. And, using a horrific event like the Holocaust to score political points is about as unpastoral as it gets. It appears that, in his eagerness to stand out from the crowd, Huckabee has forgotten the one commandment Jesus left for his followers: to love each other. That’s just sad.