The African saying, ‘when elephants fight, the grass is always the loser,’ is something we should keep in mind this election season. That kind of light-hearted philosophical outlook can help us through what certainly appears to be a stomping on our heads and emotions for the next nine months or so.
Though there are several excellent, well-spoken and seriously talented Democrat Party candidates for POTUS, only one will surely rise through the primary season of choosing the one thought most likely to give number 45 the biggest run for his money, and hopefully a solid beat-down. By March’s primaries, particularly Super Tuesday (March 3rd), it’ll all be over but a little whimpering in the corners, and one national nominee for the Democrats will have been chosen (yes, there will still be a few primaries left, but over 1500 of the party’s delegates will have been divided out by then, and there are only 1900 primary delegates in total.)
I have no crystal ball, so I won’t predict who will rise to the top. What I will say is that among all the candidates, the one who would irritate and rankle number 45 the most, would be Mike Bloomberg. That’s not to say that Mr. Bloomberg is the most likely to beat number 45. It is to say, though, that Mr. Bloomberg is the candidate number 45 is least likely to want to face.
Why, you ask? It’s as simple as remembering the one “jerk” in your own life who bothered you, embarrassed you, virtually always made you feel inferior. No matter how good you were at something—football, academics, gymnastics, cooking, hiking, mountain climbing, writing, acting, swimming, scouting, etc., there was always at least one who was better than you, knew they were better, and let you know it constantly. Your frustrated attempts to beat them “just once” regularly failed, and such failure settled into you, galling you no end.
In academics, there are many scholars, but those from Ivy League schools are virtually always recognized as “better”—even by your own academic self. In athletics, you may be great—the “Man” or the “Woman” on your campus or in your city. But those from the powerhouse schools, or more ballyhooed states (e.g., New York, California, etc.) get all the glory. Though there are hundreds of cases of athletic or scholastic super-prowess eventually rising into the top echelons from little-known places, there are literally millions of failures to overcome that disparity. That was part of the reason that Dr. W.E.B. Dubois, early on in the 20th century, advocated that we, as a community, needed to watch out for that “Talented Tenth” among our youth, wherever we found them, and nurture, encourage, and otherwise push them along. Help them become great so that they would, eventually, help pull us all up too.
But even with that, when the AKAs told the would-be pledgee that it was no use—the pledgee was too Black to pass muster and join the sorority; or when the aspiring honor roll student was told uh-uh, you’re good, but to be Phi Beta Kappa you simply aren’t and won’t ever be it from that nowhere school you attended, that is simply galling and forever belittling. It could give one an inferiority complex.
That’s what number 45 remembers about Mike Bloomberg. Mr. Trump was someone with a little change, but he had neither the home training nor natural class flair to hang with the big boys. Mr. Trump was from Queens, and the more elitist coterie of moneyed folk—including Bloomberg—from Manhattan, never accepted Mr. Trump as one of them. To them, Mr. Trump was a clown, a con man, a circus barker, not a “real billionaire.” It was never just about the money, it was about class, character and civility. Those who had it, and money, didn’t need to brag about it. They wore it like a second skin.
Mr. Trump tried repeatedly to gain admission to and acceptance by the Manhattan elite, but no matter what he did, was never embraced by that clique and never allowed to join it.
Mr. Bloomberg represents that continued rejection and distaste for Mr. Trump. To have to face down that old foe, already knowing the expected results, is not something number 45 relishes. Adding POTUS to one’s name doesn’t necessarily change one’s boorishness, and the Manhattan elite, represented by Mr. Bloomberg, is still present to judge Mr. Trump’s credentials to join that circle.
When the AKA said no, you were out period. No amount of skin lightener would do the trick. And when the Manhattan elite says you don’t belong, you may very well be doomed to that pronouncement, new clothes and title or not. The rejected just never could get the hang of the proper vocabulary and manners.
“Here we go again,” said the rejector to the inferior-complexed rejectee. “Let’s dance.”
Professor David L. Horne is founder and executive director of PAPPEI, the Pan African Public Policy and Ethical Institute, which is a new 501(c)(3) pending community-based organization or non-governmental organization (NGO). It is the stepparent organization for the California Black Think Tank which still operates and which meets every fourth Friday.
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