President Trump trolled the Internet once again with another nickname for one of his many prospective Democratic contenders (suicide bombers might be more appropriate, though they won’t detonate the Donald’s chances in the 2020 Election). When Politico reporters asked Trump about Mayor Pete Buttigieg (edge-edge), Trump didn’t sound like he was on edge, but resorted to his common, edgy yet simple humor: “Alfred E. Neuman cannot become president of the United States.”
The new nickname went viral. When asked about the moniker, Buttigieg admitted ignorance about MAD Magazine and its iconic gap-toothed representative. Just as the media got it wrong that Buttigieg is a Millennial (he’s 37, therefore on the edge, but still falling into the Generation X camp), there is no generation gap on this. I collected MAD Magazines and books (I liked the “Spy vs. Spy” cartoons the most), and even in 1995, The Simpsons showcased an episode featuring the parody comic book. Once again, ironically, Buttigieg shows himself out of touch with pop culture and the voter base he needs to win the Presidency.
The key catch-phrase for Alfred E. Neuman? “What, Me Worry?” With crooked eyes, strangely optimistic smile, and a gap in his teeth so wide, you wonder whether to laugh or park your car, Alfred E. Neuman graced (or dirtied) every issue of the magazine. Will the name stick long enough to muddy Buttigieg’s chances for the Democratic Party nomination? For the Presidency?
This question turns on part of Trump’s statement, that word “cannot”. Is it “cannot”, as in there is no way that Little Mayor Pete can become President? Or is “cannot”, as in the President hopes that the mayor does not become the nominee.
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Let’s consider the first “cannot.”
This small-town mayor lost his bid for statewide office before being elected to run a city replete with crime and corruption (and perhaps, racism). It’s laughable that this backyard kid could topple the former CEO. The guy has little experience and even less vetting. Really, who is this guy? Of course, the pundits wondered the same thing about Barack Obama, a nullity state senator from Chicago who had sealed all his college and other prior records. The fawning, complicit, corrupt press went along with the self-imposed cover-up and helped propel “The Great Barack” to the White House. Ten years later, Buttigieg is now the “IT” candidate for the Democratic Party and the media, with lots of big LGBT money pouring into his coffers.
Buttigieg could give California’s US Senator Kamala Harris a run for the money in her states’ progressive, expensive, delegate-rich primary. The March 2020 California contest will turn into the “Red Wedding” of intersectional politics. Think about it: a gay, white Mid-Western male, a former failed statewide candidate, now the mayor of a scrubby urban backwater could trump a half-black, half-Indian, female former girlfriend of San Francisco mayor Willie Brown with a long political resume. Harris was elected San Francisco city (and county!) DA’s office by running further left than the former boxing-champ incumbent. Harris then defeated a more famous, celebrated—and Republican—county District Attorney (Steve Cooley of Los Angeles) to represent the largest state in the union as its lawless chief law enforcement officer. Afterwards, she became US Senator in an extended campaign coronation culminating with a run against Congresswoman Loony Loretta Sanchez.
Yet for all of Harris’ pluses, Little Pete could take on Korrupt Kammy, plough through California primary, with a big victory and a clear pathway to the nomination. Oh, the tangled web which the Democrats have weaved for themselves. This is no Al Jaffee MAD fold-in, but a real possibility for the Democratic Presidential primary.
Let’s consider the second “Cannot”, i.e. Trump fears that Buttigieg will become the Democratic nominee, with a chance at his becoming the next President of the United States. Indeed, with hands on our cheeks, should we be worried?
Despite his veiled threats to take on Trump on marriage, I welcome a Trump-Buttigieg debate, especially on the moral issues which the South Bend mayor prides himself on. Mayor Pete wants to claim that he is more an advocate for traditional marriage? He is “married” to a guy. What a joke. Yes, Trump has been married three times, but he has been a sure champion for faith, family and freedom. One has to wonder how Buttigieg’s smalltown charm marred by liberal elitism will play with blue-collar voters in the Rust Belt. Evangelical voters propelled Trump into the Presidency on promises to protect religious liberty and to appoint conservative, constitutionalist judges. Judeo-Christian groups will rally twice as hard to protect the gains under the Trump Administration from the first four years.
At the very least, Trump is paying heed since he mentioned Buttigieg, just as he is trolling the press—again—playing off their perverse, progressive fixation with a pasty-white gay liberal who plays the religious card, dealing from the bottom of the deck. Trump sure loves toying with the fact that the liberal, legacy media will not give up on the fact that they are no longer the king-makers in American politics.
But back to the Rust Belt … Buttigieg could peel enough of the work-class white vote, playing off his patriotic record—he’s a veteran, President Trump is not. Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin fell into the Trump column by slim margins. Trump needs at least two of those states for re-election, as long as he holds onto the other states.
Ultimately, Buttigieg’s record on faith is disorderly, and his fawning praise for thinly-veiled socialism should alarm voters across the board. Will that be enough to stop this guy, especially with the latest set of tricks and cheating that Democrats resorted to during the 2018 Election? If Trump’s up-front disdain for the little mayor from South Bend sticks, and he keeps rallying his base and rolling out promises kept, Trump won’t have much to worry about. The Democrats will be hopping mad, for sure, as they turn into a comic parody of themselves.
Arthur Christopher Schaper is a blogger, writer, and commentator on topics both timeless and timely; political, cultural, and eternal. A life-long Southern California resident, Arthur currently lives in Torrance. Follow his blogs at The State of the Union and As He Is, So Are We Ministries.
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.