On Pocahontas: Democrats, Press Must Stop Playing Into the Master Manipulator’s Hands

The day after Sen. Elizabeth Warren announced that she was launching an exploratory committee for the 2020 presidential race, National Public Radio reported that President Donald Trump had responded to the news by again referring to the Massachusetts senator as “Pocahontas” and ridiculing her recent attempt to prove her Native American ancestry via a DNA test.

Rather than talking about Sen. Warren’s policies, her advocacy for consumer protections, her experience as a longtime Ivy League economics professor, her political and economic ideas, her bootstrap autobiographical story, instead of talking about Trumps’ countless lies and potential crimes, National Public Radio — and many other news outlets and pundits — was talking about…“Pocahontas.”

This is Trump’s genius. Don’t get me wrong, Trump is a moron, but like Isaiah Berlin’s hedgehog, he knows one important thing. How to divert the press and the public’s attention from what is truly important (his lies, charges of obstruction of justice, etc.) toward whatever nonsense he wants them to focus on: Pocahontas. Hillary’s emails. George Soros. Trump knows that an outrageous utterance by the President of the United States is considered news. News that will knock the real news of the day off the front page: Dow Jones plummets more than 800 Points? Trump responds by tweeting: FAKE NEWS – THE ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE!

Sen. Warren’s decision to take a DNA test to prove her Native American ancestry is looking more and more wrongheaded as time goes by. Not only did her gambit fail to stop Trump from calling her “Pocahontas” and a liar, it seems to have emboldened him. It not only raised the ire of some Native American tribal leaders, who Warren should have consulted first,but it has drawn criticism from progressive groups who, according to The New York Times, have complained she put too much emphasis on the controversial field of racial science. The ploy made the Massachusetts senator look foolish as she lowered herself to the president’s level. It was yet another win for Trump.

As Democrats deliberate over who will take on Trump in the 2020 general election, the party needs to carefully consider who among the contenders can best avoid being played by The Master Manipulator. Not being manipulated by Trump won’t be easy. He has managed to “own” the media, Congress, the Republican Party, and more than half of American voters. It may take a candidate with superhuman strength of character to counteract Trump’s superpowers of diversion and manipulation. Sadly, Sen. Warren has already shown that she can be manipulated.

I, for one, will no longer discuss the racial slur Pocahontas with anyone. But I will happily discuss Senator Warren’s record in government and her progressive ideas. The media should do likewise. That Trump calls Senator Warren a racial slur is no longer news. Perhaps it was news the first five times he insulted the senator this way, but no longer. Now it is simply Trump’s cynical manipulation of the American people. And the media’s ignorant complicity in same.