Donald Trump appears poised to go all the way to the GOP nominating convention. Can he win the nomination? A perennial of the Republican commentariat and Bush’s former press secretary, Ari Fleischer, thinks he now has the upper hand, declaring, “I give him a 60 percent shot of being the G.O.P. nominee.”
Trump has so far managed to outmaneuver his GOP rivals. He may not be the brightest bulb in the GOP pack, the best debater, or the one with the most experience. But he is the shrewdest, the most cunning. Yes, he knows how to sell. And he’s got chutzpah.
Take the recent GOP debate. Ted Cruz thought he could take Trump down a notch by going after NY values, in particular NYC values, tying them to Trump. Trump shut him down by invoking 9/11. (Trump probably realized that there was a good chance that Cruz would be asked about comments he had been making about NY, and one of the moderators obliged. The Donald was lying in wait.)
The notion that there is one set of NYC values is ridiculous. Yes, the city tends to be politically liberal on the whole, but there are plenty of conservatives in NYC and the metropolitan area, including very wealthy ones. Of course Cruz knows this because some of these rich folks have helped bankroll his political career. (Cruz has argued before the Supreme Court, as he reminds us. I assume Justice Scalia was present. He’s from the NYC and certainly Cruz’s kind of conservative.)
Although it’s silly to talk about one set of NYC values, it’s not as silly to talk about the fact that there is a lot of “‘tude” (bad attitude) in NYC. Not everyone has it, of course, but those who live here know all about it. Good examples of those having NYC ‘tude: Trump and Scalia. How does one handle someone who can use ‘tude to their political advantage? You need to send in someone who knows how to bust ‘tude. And who knows how to bust ‘tude better than a New Yorker? No one. New Yorkers have built in antibodies to attitude, and they know how and when to activate them.
Trump’s impressions of an angry silverback—which his frenzied followers think is so delightful and exciting, and which other GOP candidates now ape—is cardboard ‘tude for a real New Yorker. If you start ripping at it in the right places, it will shred quite easily. But you have to know the places.
Enter Bernie Sanders, the man from Brooklyn. Nice guy, Bernie. But you don’t get to remain a nice guy like Bernie in NYC without having significant antibodies to ‘tude. And as a New Yorker, I can tell you that Bernie has them. Bernie will know how to handle Trump. It’s in his blood. Hillary, not so much. You know, she’s not really from NY, and definitely not from NYC. (First rule of anti-‘tude, you have to be secure enough in your own skin to blow ‘tude off, and be able to do so with humor.)
So, who you gonna call when you need a Trump-buster? You call a real New Yorker, one born and bred with ‘tude-busting antibodies. You call Bernie!