Politics & Media
Sep 28, 2016, 10:32AM

Howard Dean Must Be a Trump Fan

Lying about a liar is still lying.

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Donald Trump is a threat. He lies constantly; he normalizes racism and panders to neo-Nazis; he not very subtly encourages political violence. And he tempts his opponents to justify using the tactics against him that he uses against others.

During Monday night's debate, Trump made frequent deep sniffling noises. In response, 2004 presidential candidate Howard Dean issued the following mocking tweet: "Notice Trump sniffing all the time. Coke user?" Later, on MSNBC, Dean continued. He admitted that he couldn’t make a diagnosis, but insisted that sniffing is a symptom of cocaine use. He added that Trump's "grandiosity" was suggestive of cocaine as well.

Inevitably, partisans on social media have picked up this charge, laughingly repeating, with more or less seriousness, that, yes, maybe Trump really does use coke.

But he doesn't. Trump is a lot of things—a crook, scoundrel, bully, misogynist, racist, and a lying sack of shit. But he isn't an addict. David Cay Johnston, an investigative reporter who has tirelessly researched Trump for years, writes in his recent book The Making of Donald Trump: "Trump himself was no drug user. He didn't even drink or smoke." There is no evidence that Trump has used drugs, and those most familiar with his indiscretions testify that he won't even touch alcohol.

Dean's original tweet was, at best, ignorant and mean-spirited. His insistence on continuing to spread the imputation the next day, when he could easily have checked and found out it wasn't true, is a malicious lie. Dean is doing the same thing Trump did when he speculated that Ted Cruz's father was involved in assassinating JFK. He's promulgating a smear with no basis in truth, simply to damage a political opponent. It's repulsive.

And it's not just repulsive because it hurts Trump. Dean—as Trump often does—is deliberately linking his opponent to a stigmatized group, hoping to leverage bigotry and hatred for political gain. Drug users are one of the most despised groups in our society. Stigma against cocaine users has helped to fuel and justify decades of prison buildup; it’s also used to justify stop and frisk and punitive police buildup. Smearing Trump with cocaine use inevitably smears cocaine users with Trump—which is gross. People with drug problems, or for that matter, people who use drugs recreationally on occasion, are not responsible for Trump's fascism. It's ugly to suggest that they are, and its despicable to use a massive platform to multiply stigma against a group of people who are plenty despised already.

No doubt some Hillary Clinton backers and left partisans will argue that Trump has it coming. He has, maliciously and baselessly, made Clinton's health an issue in the campaign. His whole political career is tied to his promulgation of racist smears about Obama's birthplace. Isn't it time he got a taste of his own slime trail?

Turning Trump's weapons against him may provide some ephemeral satisfaction. It may even lead to a brief, strategic advantage. But in the long run, America's enemy is not one crooked reality television star. America's enemy is what Trump represents, which is the end of democracy, and the beginning of fascism. The idea that any tactic, lie or smear is justified by the iniquity of one's enemy: that's Trump logic. And the use of political lies and smears based on loathing of stigmatized, marginalized groups is Trump logic too. If you get rid of Trump, but institutionalize his methods, you haven't won a victory worth having. Howard Dean should be ashamed of himself. And he should apologize. 

  • Once again, Noah proves his inability to comprehend simple English. Dean did not state that Trump was using coke, but, asking the question that occurred to many while watching/listening to the debate. Sniffing and grandiosity are two well known and documented effects of coke use. As for Trump not using drugs, isn't that what most people thought about Prince? Also, prior to his brothers death, he was consistently rumored to be a big user of drugs but I guess you can't be bothered to research a topic prior to pontificating upon said topic. To be clear, I don't personally know if he was or was not a user, but, I know he is a regular liar and narcissist who should be questioned.

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  • And suggesting Trump is snorting blow somehow makes Dean a bigot? I really have to wonder where anyone could come up with this stuff. Freddie sure was right.

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  • It's pretty funny that Texan and Beck have fused into a single hivemind. "Freddie, you're right! Texan you're right! Let's pat each other on the back again and again! Ayup!"

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  • Texan, if you'd read the piece, you'll see that Trump's drug use (or his lack thereof) has been well established by reporters who have covered him for years. It doesn't need to be "questioned" any more than Obama's birthplace needs to be "questioned." You're just paddling about in the naive cynicism of conspiracy politics. That's a path that leads to Trump. However appealing it is to anonymous internet trolls, the dems should avoid it.

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  • Noah, if you read the articles you are referencing, (which must be difficult considering your obvious comprehension issues) you'd know they are all about Trump after the death of his brother when Donald Trump was in his thirties. Although Freddy T. warned Donald and others against drinking in his last years, it was his brothers death that triggered the sobriety. Wait, it just occurred to me, do you sometimes write under the name John Barron? You sound just like him.

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  • ??? My article references a recent book, the Making of Donald Trump. I think that's fairly clear in the piece...though of course, you may not have read beyond the headline, I guess...

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  • Noah, you have removed all doubt as to your inability to comprehend English (even when you are the writer) I quote YOU "... well established by reporters who have covered him for years". By adding an "s" to "reporter" you pluralize the noun "reporter" meaning more than one. Generally speaking and in common vernacular, reporter(s) refers to one (or several when made a plural) who write articles or "reports" thus making my previous statement spot on point. That said, let me put this comment in words that you may comprehend, "You read bigly bad like a fat Latina." I hope that helps clarify things for you.

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  • Texan, as I've noted before, you're an odd duck. I cited a book by a reporter who has done his own reporting,and is familiar with reporting by others. You don't even seem to disagree on the merits; you just throw yourself into a foaming tizzy over nothing, and then spout racist nonsense to show...what? I don't know. But...as long as you're happy I guess.

  • How does he compare to Howard Dean on the Berlatsky Bigotry Index?

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  • Thank you Noah for proving my point. You don't even understand your own comments. You really could be The Donald

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  • You somehow think it's possible to prove a negative, that Trump doesn't do drugs alone in the privacy of his own residence, which is a logical fallacy, especially when the assumption relies on the word of a pathological liar. Some reporter you'd make.

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