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It could always be worse

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Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump speaks on the final day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. (Carolyn Kaster/AP)

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When I was young, one of my favorite books was the Yiddish folktale “It Could Always Be Worse.” That is the core of my family’s Jewish worldview. Be grateful with the misery you feel today, because we can always go back to marauding Cossacks in the old country.

“It could always be worse” was my feeling watching the Republican National Convention. The Republican Party grows more reactionary and irrational. There is no longer any credible conservative intellectualism. It’s white people panicking that the world is moving on without them. Steve King had to declare that no other “subgroup” had contributed to civilization because of the gnawing fear that white contributions to civilization may be finished.

Every time progressives debate the difference between the parties, the Republicans creep toward mob rule to make it so. Remember when we thought George W. Bush was the worst president ever? We may have to revise that standard soon. Remember when we thought Bush was too dumb to govern, and then Sarah Palin appeared? We’d be facing book burnings soon if anyone still read books.

Cleveland was a good choice for the convention of the party of racism. Cleveland, where white police sued the police department for racial discrimination, because they claimed they were disciplined more harshly for killing unarmed black people than black cops were. That is so messed up, it feels like a riddle.

In 2012, it was dog whistles, when they used coded racial buzzwords like “47 percent.” GOP 2016 has switched to bullhorns. Trump’s speech cast Latinos, Muslims and black people as threats to law and order. Usually, people try to avoid appearing racist. It’s refreshing to see people proclaim their racism proudly. Trump signs are like the Megan’s Law of bigotry. Whoever said electing Barack Obama made America post-racial needs to apologize publicly.

Normally, the RNC finds tokens of diversity, a few people of color, to break up the all-white crowd shots. There’s not even a diversity of white people there. No skinny, gluten-free emo white people. A lot of thick, yoked, monster truck, rodeo, shouting, white people. The modern Republican Party is a coalition of the transphobic and the Islamophobic.

In other RNC news, people were upset about alleged plagiarism by Melania Trump. To be fair, Trump was plagiarizing Charlie Sheen. We also learned that Melania is the only immigrant Republicans like.

We’re supposed to believe Trump could be president because he is a rich businessman. Businessmen are forever telling us their business acumen qualifies them for public office so they can run “government like a business.” Carly Fiorina, Meg Whitman, Mitt Romney. It’s not clear why this would be desirable. For anyone who has ever worked for a business, would you want your boss to be president? I’ve never had a boss I wanted to have access to drones.

The “lock her up” chants about Hillary Clinton are bizarre. Democrats would never think to commit to a nonsense lie for four full years (since Benghazi) until it became a real thing. I wonder if we could pull this off locally. Mark Farrell might have stolen a homeless person’s tent and used it to go camping with his family.

If the Democrats want to win — which they don’t — they would demand that Trump “show me your papers.” Specifically, his tax returns. It would create a pickle for him, because not disclosing would let people ask what he’s hiding, but disclosing would reveal that he’s not worth what he claims to be and that his empire is built on fraud, tax breaks and offshoring.

As terrifying, stupid, lazy and dishonest as Trump is, attacks don’t stick. Fearing him makes him stronger. He’s like the boggart from Harry Potter, where he can only be defeated by ridicule.

Liberals are amused at how dumb Republicans seem. One fumble and gaffe after another. But if you can’t beat a dummy, then maybe the dummy is you …

Nato Green is a San Francisco-based comedian and writer. See his new standup show Modern Comedy is at 7p.m. on the first Wednesday of the month at Modern Times Bookstore.

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