"What have you got to lose?" — Donald Trump

What do they have to lose? Is he kidding? I mean, was that line actually on the teleprompter?

Guess what's back. I'll give you a hint: It's kind of like Hailey's Comet in that it always shows up, burning brightly, right on schedule. It might strike some as a hopeful omen, an incandescent streak across the heavens, but then it is gone and the sky is swallowed up in darkness once again.

Congratulations to those of you who recognized the every-four-year-resurgence of Republican concern for minorities. Law and order is put on hold for a while in favor of techniques better left to the Actor's Studio.

Even though the Reach Out Bandwagon got polished to a high "we're gonna have to do better" gloss after Mitt Romney rattled to a dim finish in 2012, the GOP's vehicle to victory has encountered some persistent engine trouble this time out. It must be hard to get the tolerance pistons firing when the head mechanic begins his campaign by offering overtly racial smears as statements of official policy.

You can't win the race to deal with race when you're competing on the wrong track. And no one in the history of the country can compete on the wrong track with the unerring skill that Donald Trump has displayed. The KKK, however, has repeatedly expressed admiration.


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I think it is safe to say that Mr. Trump is eventually going to drive the GOP bandwagon right into a wall and it won't be the one he has been endlessly yammering about since he descended his golden escalator in the Trump Tower to a delirious response from a paid audience; an insufferable phony before he even uttered a word.

Of course, that was the original Donald Trump, not the version being fabricated by his newest campaign manager. Kellyanne Conway is a Republican strategist hired to attract women voters to the Trump cause, a feat not unlike convincing General Custer's troops that Indian confrontations can be joyful experiences if you are good at dodging arrows.

Ms. Conway's primary focus seems to be twofold. First, she has to renege on all the nasty true things she said about her current employer when she was working for Ted Cruz. She didn't know, for instance, how complex Trump's tax audits were when she unequivocally stated that he should release them. "Complex" seems an odd choice of words when you consider the fact that Mr. Trump probably paid less in taxes than a single mother waiting on tables at a truck stop in Yuma.

The second focus is more daunting. Ms. Conway has to dissuade Mr. Trump from any inclinations toward being Mr. Trump. We all know what the real Donald Trump is like anyway. We saw him on that golden escalator day, before the locust storm of hired mythmakers and image scrubbers tried to convince us that he really isn't all that crass and ignorant.

If Sean Hannity feeds him a question that doesn't require much more than an affirmation of what Hannity has just said, Trump does just fine. When he's left to his own devices, however, I imagine Ms. Conway's toes assume a painfully curled position and her breath is temporarily put on hold. A day after she claimed to be offended (as a mother, God help us) by the mere suggestion that she works for a man who calls people rotten names, Trump was hurling juvenile personal insults at Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski. I guess you can't carry a teleprompter everywhere you go.

In a classic case of the bizarre leading the blind, Ben Carson has offered to give Mr. Trump a guided tour of the Detroit neighborhood where Carson grew up. I think that if Trump wanted to feign any bond with oppressed people in depressed neighborhoods, he probably should not have chosen one in the city that is home to an industry he stridently opposed giving federal aid to when American automakers were teetering on the brink of extinction.

A more accurate measure of the GOP's concocted concern for minorities is evidenced in states where Republicans control the legislatures and all of the sudden voter fraud is the most threatening issue facing the nation since Bonnie and Clyde were running rampant. (A study by the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University of Law concluded that voter fraud is "nearly nonexistent" in the United States.) This is a cynical, deliberate attempt to suppress voter turnout in areas that favor Democratic candidates and it is as much an affront to the values of a country that calls itself a democracy as the gerrymandered districts across the nation that ensure that Americans are going to have to continue enduring blatantly skewered representation for many years to come.

— Alden Graves is a regular Banner columnist