Trump understands his opponents better than his opponents understand him. He also understands why voters elected him: a dominant political culture that treats his supporters, and therefore him, with contempt. The latest illustration is a little hard to explain, but I’m going to try.
Maximum Security – unfortunate name, but the horse did not choose it – was the winner of Saturday’s Kentucky Derby for twenty-two minutes. Then race stewards at the track disqualified him for interference, and named Country House the winner. Stewards reviewed the race after riders of two other horses lodged complaints.
Donald Trump tweeted this Derby outcome illustrates where we have arrived with modern PC culture. Chris Cillizza practically called the president nuts for this remark. I think the president nailed it. Why would I take the president’s side on this matter, especially since Cillizza occasionally shows mild symptoms of Trump Derangement Syndrome, and nothing political rides on this argument? Let me tell you.
First, Maximum Security is a horse, a large horse who makes others feel unsafe. Moreover, his aggressive move coming out of the final turn marginalizes and endangers other horses, War of Will in particular. He is a racist competitor, and nothing more than a product of thoroughbred privilege. If we do not fight for race track justice in this case, when will we fight for justice?
Alright, I could not resist these jibes, given the consistently absurd reasoning one encounters from warriors who seem to hang everywhere now. Some people say that if Maximum Security had moved out of his lane on the final turn at a local, unknown track, race judges would have disqualified him there as well. I doubt it. I think judges would have looked for intentional interference, in which case they would not have reacted to a complaint from another rider. They would have called interference on their own.
That is the key point, which Trump gets exactly right. PC warriors feel everything perpetrated by those in a position of privilege is unfair. Winners are not entitled to that privilege, so they must be brought down, by whatever means possible. Campus activists file complaints to authorities to have tenured white professors fired. Track activists – in this case aggrieved owners, trainers, and riders who demand a just outcome – file complaints to have a privileged Derby winner disqualified. There’s a reason something like that has never happened since 1875, the year the Run for the Roses started its tradition.
Here is the reason. In the past, competitors would have felt ashamed to file a formal complaint, to protest normal racehorse behavior. Their sportsmanlike pride would not have permitted such an abject act. They all know what it’s like on the track, with twenty closely packed horses rounding the final turn in the mud. They know that no matter how well the horse and jockey maintain control, some drift to the right or left may well occur. People who race horses know that if a case of interference is egregious enough, race judges will call it without a complaint. They do not have to review video recordings for twenty minutes to determine if a horse broke the rules.
Stewards at Churchill Downs should have advised the complainants: “Are you sure you want to do this to yourselves, and to a sport you love? You will place yourself in the same pool as all the other self-appointed victims, who make claims no one can understand. Honestly, no one who bet on horses in back of Maximum Security is saying, based on this outcome, ‘We were robbed.’ People will be agape at this complaint, based on what everyone saw on the track, and will see in the video recording.”
I could dig up examples of PC culture that augment this analysis, but I’ll mention only one, close to home here in Cambridge, Massachusetts. PC types at Harvard’s Winthrop House have ganged up on Ronald Sullivan, Harvard Law School professor, and also faculty dean at Winthrop House. He is a black attorney who represents Harvey Weinstein. Students say he makes them feel unsafe, and therefore want him removed. Harvard’s administration has actually listened to them.
In PC culture, no complaint too absurd to be lodged, addressed, or disposed of in favor of the complainants. The idea that a law professor, who in this case does not represent white privilege, should find his employment attacked because he represents a criminal defendant is beyond belief to me. How can students deride a respected attorney as dangerous – drag his reputation and livelihood through the New England mud – for doing his job? I won’t say that Derby complainants aimed to drag the winner’s reputation through Churchill Downs mud, but Maximum Security’s inadvertent, gradual lane change makes a questionable basis for disqualification.
If Weinstein had hired an attorney a year out of law school, what would Harvard students say about that? Who makes them feel unsafe? Weinstein? Sullivan? Obviously neither one. They merely use language that has no anchor, to get people they don’t like. And Harvard’s administrators listen to them, just at the stewards at Churchill Downs huddled over their computer monitor after people lodged a complaint they would never have lodged fifty years ago. The teams that lost to Maximum Security use tactics like that to exercise their power, to get the authorities to buckle. In this case, they knocked the winner out of the winner’s circle. And don’t come back.
Donald Trump’s ‘Kentucky Derby’ tweet makes literally no sense
“The Kentucky Derby decision was not a good one. It was a rough & tumble race on a wet and sloppy track, actually, a beautiful thing to watch. Only in these days of political correctness could such an overturn occur. The best horse did NOT win the Kentucky Derby – not even close!?”