For anyone who watched the ritual humiliation of Donald Trump at the 2011 White House Correspondents Dinner, you figured that the birther reality star who had bankrupted four companies and been caught up in numerous shady dealings had finally been properly humiliated and marginalized.
After Trump spent weeks demanding the president’s long-form birth certificate and suggesting he had proof of a criminal conspiracy, the president had nodded to the “carnival barkers” and released the longest birth certificate the state of Hawaii could produce. Then hours after he oversaw the mission that killed Osama bin Laden, Barack Obama joined with Saturday Night Live’s Seth Meyers in roasting Trump until an apple almost seemed to appear in his mouth.
But Trump when saw that the GOP was even taking Herman Cain seriously, he flirted with running for the Republican nomination as the nation’s most famous birther. No, he never renounced his belief that the president was born outside of the United States and was thus committing treason. The only evidence he’s ever produced to back this claim are the president’s name and skin color.
Despite this, Mitt Romney stood on a stage with Trump and accepted his endorsement.
We reached peak Trump insanity on election night, just days after he’d humiliated himself by making a huge announcement that turned out to be a challenge to the president that he release his college transcripts and passport application—more birtherism.
Here’s where we get to the real problem with Trump’s campaign against the president that is either tinged with racism or outright racist, depending on how you see it. He has paid no cost for it.
Romney elevated him by appearing with him on stage and telling Fox News viewers that he takes Trump’s advice. He still has Celebrity Apprentice on NBC and a major endorsement deal with Macy’s.
Trump’s Twitter feed is now a mess of attacks on the president and anyone who happens to piss him off—this includes Brian Williams, Alex Rodriguez and former congressman Anthony Weiner—and self-promotion. He deleted his tweets calling for a “revolution” but he’s still shamelessly antagonistic.
There’s a debate on Twitter right now about what to do about Trump.
Some people say that you should ignore him. They vow to not share his tweets and unfollow anyone who does.
According to Angelo Carusone, who organized the StopBeck effort that helped end Glenn Beck’s run on Fox News, just ignoring Trump isn’t good enough.
“Ignoring Trump is counter to the goal of marginalizing him,” Carusone told The National Memo. “Ignoring Trump won’t do anything to remove his network television show and all the trappings of heavy media promotion that go along with that. Ignoring Trump won’t stop his weekly appearances on Fox News and CNBC. Ignoring Trump won’t do anything to stop Macy’s from expanding his clothing brand and putting him in those cute ‘magic of Macy’s’ ads alongside celebrities.”
Some have called Trump the “greatest Twitter troll ever.” But he has a huge platform — nearly 1.9 million followers on Twitter, and millions more watch him on TV. And he continues to express ideas that undermine basic decency, and that generally has consequences.
Obama donor Bill Maher, for instance, regularly calls Mormonism and other religions “cults.” But he is a comedian on premium cable TV. You’d never expect to see him in a Macy’s commercial.
“Ignoring Trump won’t take away the perverse incentive that currently rewards his outbursts sexism, bigotry, science denialism and just plain meanness,” Carusone said. “But, attaching real costs to Trump and the larger industry that financially benefits from his vitriol will.”
If corporations are going to give Trump a platform, you can at least let them know that you don’t appreciate it. For instance, here’s Carusone’s petition asking Macy’s to dump Donald Trump. It’s the least they could do.