The political genius of Donald Trump‘s scorched earth insult technique is that nobody in public life (or any life, for that matter) hasn’t made a mistake. Armed with this knowledge, Trump regularly calls his political opponents liars — and a good researcher can usually find an instance where one or another of the accused’s statements don’t quite comport with the truth. Then Trump piles on, trying to turn an anomaly into a character-defining equivocation. (See “Lyin’ Ted Cruz“.)
To borrow from the old nursery rhyme, Trump’s sticks and stones are names, and they do hurt, apparently. “Crooked Hillary” may not convince anybody who doesn’t already believe Secretary Clinton is duplicitous, and Trump’s Obama birther accusations never landed a knockout blow — though they did work as effective political canvassing for his presidential run. (Many Trump supporters are birther believers.) As Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren has gone into attack mode against Trump, the top GOPer has taken to calling her “Pocahontas” — a reference to Warren’s possibly specious claim to Native American heritage. Can Trump rework Warren’s straight-shooter reputation around her heritage claim? He’ll keep trying, especially if she’s the VP candidate. And Trump is probably just getting warmed up: running against two women he routinely calls liars is not a recipe for a civil election battle.