Dear Commons Community,
Last week, Senator Elizabeth Warren released a biographical video featuring her Oklahoman roots and answering Donald Trump’s “Pocahontas” gibe with a DNA test proving that she does have Native American ancestry. She has been criticized by a number of people on the left and the right as well as by the Cherokee Nation. Ross Douthat, the New York Times columnist, has advice for Senator Warren to stay out of the Trump “freak show.” Here is an excerpt from his column:
“…Running for president in the age of Donald Trump requires an ability to handle what John Heileman and Mark Halperin once called “the freak show” (back when it was considerably less freaky). It requires a deftness dealing with scandals and gaffes and accidental blunders, an ability to know when you have a wrestling move that justifies getting down in the mud and when you’re better off sitting on a top rail and acting superior to the pigs.
So far Warren’s main encounter with the freak show has involved her claim to Cherokee ancestry, which was an issue in her last Senate campaign, in 2012, before Trump started in with his nicknaming. And from her initial response to the story through the new DNA test “rebuttal” to the president, she has demonstrated a conspicuous lack of political common sense…
…When Donald Trump started up his Pocahontas gibes, she should have simply ignored him and talked about the many issues where he’s on the wrong side of public opinion.”
I agree. Any serious Democratic candidate for president has to be careful about how s/he responds to Trump’s insults and character assassinations. He is very good at it and unless the candidate is very savvy and up to the task, will quite possibly end up in the gutter as part of the Trump freak show.