Over at Balloon Juice E.D. Kain has a theory on the birthers and Donald Trump that seems a lot more plausible than the actual birther theories.
In 2008, Obama met with Donald Trump in a secret closed-doors beer summit. There, they hatched a scheme. Knowing that there is a large segment of the American people that is still deeply racist, and that said racism would not emerge blatantly when confronted with the first black president, Obama and his good friend The Donald began crafting a long-con. At the first whiff of birtherism, Obama released most – but not all – of the relevant documentation of his birth in Hawaii, throwing the racists birthers a bone to chew on for the next couple of years. The plan was in motion.
The long-form birth certificate remained under lock and key in Hawaii. As the years went by, the usual suspects on the right trotted out one crazy conspiracy after another. Obama ignored them. Trump waited patiently while drawing as much attention to himself as possible.
Then, in 2011, Trump played his, er, Trump card, launching a wild-eyed conspiratorial presidential bid based almost solely on the birther question. Polls showed that Trump’s popularity was rising, and almost overnight he was polling at first place. A clear front-runner had emerged, and the crux of his campaign was the missing long-form birth certificate. Trump beat that drum as loudly as possible, even sending private eyes to Hawaii to track the runaway birth certificate down. And people loved him for it.
Birtherism, it appeared, had taken over a larger segment of America than anyone had expected. Despite rumors of its death, racism in America was still very much alive and kicking. And now it had its avatar.
Now it was Obama’s move. At the height of Trump’s popularity he released the final, definitive document: the long-form birth certificate – knowing full well that it would do nothing to placate the birthers. However, with so much momentum now behind Trump and a large segment of the Republican base rallied around the cause, there was little the GOP could do to recover and run anything like a legitimate challenge to the president in 2012. The threat of an independent bid by Trump – who could easily self-finance such an effort – was too great.
Obama effectively steered national attention back to the right wing fringe – a fringe, mind you, that is also the largest voting bloc on the right. He also ensured that his good friend Trump was the one spear-heading the movement.
It often seemed that Trump had to be a left wing plant. He was bringing out the very worst of the Republican Party. Of course the birthers will not quit but will appear even more unreasonable and Obama will once again look like the reasonable one.