This week in San Juan, Bernie Sanders gave an impassioned speech before a room full of natural born American citizens who, if Donald Trump or any of his rabid supporters saw them in the street, would assume they were illegal Mexican immigrants, and therefore criminals and deviants beyond all consideration. If that sounds insensitive, that’s because it is. But I’d like to point out that a parallel sentiment doesn’t stop the same far-right morons from getting liquored up and trying to stomp out Islamofascism by beating the shit out of Sikh men on their way home from work. Same color as al qaida: weird language like al qaida: not in my country. So why should the buzzing drones of the right be expected to understand that Puerto Ricans are citizens of this country by right of birth, suffering the continued indignity of its colonial status and the economic woes we insist on directly dealing the island as a consequence, with faith and optimism. Understanding that would require stopping to talk to one of them for like 30 seconds, so that’s obviously never happening.
I don’t expect the Trump campaign to make a similar stop to Bernie’s sojourn to PR. In one of the more bizarre incidents of The Donald’s campaign, the sentient mini-golf clown obstacle and Republican nominee said he would solve the bad blood between Israel and Palestine by offering Puerto Rico as a homeland for the displaced middle eastern nation. One can only imagine at how the Palestinians and the Puerto Ricans responded to this stroke of brilliance.
For Sanders’s part, he took his visit to the island more seriously than any candidate has treated Puerto Rico in recent memory, promising to address the dire unemployment situation there—according to his speech, 60% of Puerto Rican adults are unemployed or have had to give up looking for work—as well as reassuring the crowd that Washington knows its debt ($70 billion) is unsustainable and unpayable. But his biggest cheers came when someone asked him in Spanish whether or not he would legalize cannabis. Without needing to wait for a translation, Bernie simply answered, “Si,” before going on to reiterate his stance that cannabis should be rescheduled and then fully legalized.
Meanwhile, at home in the contiguous 48, the Clinton camp has begun accusing Sanders’s supporters of violence as deplorable threats and actions on the parts of some—it can’t be denied that some voters, cognizant that Trump is barely keeping his black shirt tucked in but also blindly misogynist to the point that voting for someone with ovaries would be an affront to their very man-bags. Comparing Sanders’s supporters to Trump’s is a trend enjoying a vogue thanks to these Bernie bros, and it’s being reflected in real political lenses.
After chaos in Nevada, Sanders is counter-accusing the party establishment of unfairly handing the state’s delegates to Clinton. And all the while, Trump sits in his tanning bed, climate controlled shower cap gingerly covering his Rodin-worthy combover, smirking. Though both Hillary and Bernie hold general election poll advantages over the former reality TV personality, each day seems to offer another scandal to slide off him like he’s John Gotti reincarnate. And not a single one of them seems to matter to Trump Nation™, who beam just a little wider and enjoy the scent of their own flatulence just a little more with every teflon dodge. This time, he’s afraid his tax returns will show he’s a criminal—or worse, not a billionaire after all—so he shifts focus to a story that somehow makes him seem like even more of a megalomaniacal douche. Apparently, his publicist, “John Miller,” who has appeared by phone on several shows to sing Trump’s praises in every conceivable arena, has an eerily familiar way of speaking—arrogant, unwilling to entertain the notion that each word isn’t absolute gold, and uniquely tempoed on a level only matched by Christopher Walken in Balls of Fury. You guessed it, Trump is his own publicist. But even that doesn’t seem to matter to the “Make America Great Again” crowd, who probably see it as Donald pulling the wool over the eyes of the ignorant media. And what’s worse, there’s another one born every minute.