.@realDonaldTrump makes death threats because he's a pathetic coward who can’t handle the fact that he’s losing to a girl.— Elizabeth Warren (@elizabethforma) August 9, 2016
I hate what Trump said. It was bad. He shouldn't have said it, and he should find some way to undo the damage and to stop blurting out things that occur to him on the fly, things that might be interpreted as a call to any sort of violence. If he can't control that tendency, how could he possibly serve as President?
But I want to talk about Elizabeth Warren's tweet. It has 4 aspects worth talking about: 1. The characterization of Trump's statement as a "death threat," 2. The assertion that Trump is "a pathetic coward," 3. Warren's use of the word "girl" to refer to Hillary, and 4. The assertion that Trump is motivated by a threat to his masculinity.
1. What Trump said was: "Hillary wants to abolish — essentially abolish the Second Amendment. By the way, if she gets to pick, if she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is, I don't know." That's not literally a threat. I know Warren was tweeting and that pushes people to compress language, but if you're going to criticize other people's blunt speech and crude language, you shouldn't do the same thing yourself. Trump said that the Supreme Court can change the interpretation of the Second Amendment (which it could easily do, switching to what had been the dissenting Justices' position, finding no individual right to bear arms) and then there would be "nothing" you could do. That was a reason to vote for him. Let him appoint the Justices. If Hillary gets the appointment power, it will be too late. At that point, Trump seems to have observed — as one might do in casual conversation — that "nothing" is not strictly true. There is something. It wouldn't be to assassinate Hillary Clinton. The way I heard it, before reading anyone else's opinion, was as a reference to the right of revolution, which is why some "Second Amendment people" think the government should not be able to disarm them. I don't think it's even talking about killing Hillary Clinton. But it is bad, nonetheless, because it floats an idea of violence that some deranged person might process into a call for assassination. If Elizabeth Warren wants to call that a "death threat," then she's using cruder language than Trump used, and she's adding energy to assassination ideation. The problem is delusional people who hear things and get ideas. Don't touch them off. If you believe that, act like you believe it!
2. What is the basis for calling Trump "a pathetic coward"? He's got a lot of nerve. That's why there's so much problem with him. Why did Warren use these words? The only idea I can come up with — connecting it to the next phrase — is that she wants to take a nasty swipe at his masculinity and "pathetic" and "coward" seem well-suited to that purpose.
3. Meade called this tweet to my attention, asking how Warren could get away with using the word "girl." Is this some female privilege — she can say "girl" but a man can't? I think that what's going on is that Warren is purporting to read Trump's mind, so it's not her saying "girl." That's what's in there in his mind. He's the one denigrating Hillary, thinking of her as a girl. Or: He's reliving a childhood psychodrama, in which boys feel humiliated if they can't even beat a girl. Warren uses vivid speech that's fascinatingly similar to Trump's. She blurts out the language of a childhood taunt: Hah! You're losing to a girl! And she seems to think she can talk like the playground bully because it's not really her speaking, it's just her doing the voice of somebody else, somebody who hurt little Donald many years ago and who still lives inside his head, taunting him after all these decades.
4. I think Trump believes he's doing damned well. He had to fight through 16 Republicans to get the nomination. He had to defeat his party's establishment, just like Bernie Sanders tried to fight his party's establishment. Does Bernie feel humiliated for "losing to a girl"? That "girl" had her party's whole establishment pushing her along. She's promoted and held aloft by a former President of the United States. I think Trump feels he's in a valiant battle and it's still going on, not that he's losing. He hates losing, he loves to tell us, but his style is to keep trying to win, not to succumb to low self esteem and view himself as a loser. But even if he were upset about losing, I doubt if it would be about the fact that Hillary is female, that any decent man should be able to beat any female. Why does Warren think she can ascribe such thoughts to him? I don't think she's correctly reading Trump's mind, but I also don't think she believes she is. I think she's trying to stir up excitement for Hillary, and the most exciting thing about this candidate few voters actually like as an individual, is that she's a woman. Warren encourages us to focus on the excitement of the first woman President. Don't pay attention to the individual, Hillary. Think of voting for a woman. And think of voting against that terrible man, Donald Trump, who is fighting a woman — not because she's his political opponent in the election — but because he's a man, with screwed up man-thoughts, and she's a woman, so he needs to destroy her. Plunge into the psychodrama, people!