An Open Letter To Reince Preibus

Dear Reince:

The image below posted was posted yesterday by Donald Trump. You’ve heard about it by now.

But Trump didn’t create it.

Someone from Trump’s team found it on 4chan’s /pol board. I know, you don’t know what that is, but run down to your digital department and ask one of the younger guys. They’ll brief you. It’s an online slum of trolling, racism, Nazi-cosplay and other things that definitely aren’t Wisconsin Nice. Their waifu are not like yours.

Done? All briefed? Good.

The candidate for whom you have sold your political soul posted this sloppy dog-whistle to his personal account. His famous, 8-million follower account. The account you’ve retweeted or favorited dozens of times. Your RTs and favs appear alongside the dog’s breakfast of assorted Trump cultists like “WhiteNationalismTM” and a disproportionate number of people with “1488” in their names or profiles. (Look it up. I’m not going to do all your work for you.)

The Trump people know they did something wrong — they pulled the offending tweet down — but no lesson was learned.

In a perfect world, a bold and effective party chairman with an eye to November and the future brand of the Republican Party would tell Donald Trump he’s had every chance under the Sun to improve and become more disciplined. A bold chairman would draw a bright line at his continued, deliberate, mindful flirtation with the darkest corners of the Internet. Private pressure does nothing; Trump is a creature of the media cycle and of celebrity.

Now, your digital team can tell you a quick way to stop this without too much fuss; have Trump block the neo-Nazis, anti-Semites, overt racists and other scum who litter his timeline.

You won’t, for fear of offending him. He won’t, for fear of offending his base. Under his “Taco Salad! I love the Jews! Look at my African-American!” bluster, he’s a crafty bastard who understands white resentment politics. They’re a feature, not a bug. They’re not part of his play; they’re his only play.

What’s the worst case for you? He sends a mean tweet your way? He yells at you? He tells you that you won’t be Chairman again? (Spoiler; you’re not, no matter who wins.)

You’ve spent an awful lot of time and energy lately trying to intimidate and silence Republican delegates who are sickened by Trump’s behavior, terrified of the electoral disaster he may ensure and sickened by how far away he is pulling the party of Lincoln, Reagan and Coolidge from its conservative roots.

A smart chairman would leverage that anger to push Trump to conform to the basic norms of civilization and to run a more disciplined campaign. “Don, I’m doing everything I can to deal with them, but they’re not bending. Help me help you.” Instead, your mute assent empowers his narcissism and self-indulgence.

You know this party is tearing itself apart because of Trump, and your continued public silence on his endless catalog of outrages isn’t some bold political strategy in the battle against Hillary Clinton; it’s smearing the GOP with the reek of his excreta for decades. At this rate, there won’t be an autopsy at the end of this cycle; it’ll be a funeral pyre and a going-out-of-business sale.