Election Jiu Jitsu: When a Political Fight Comes to the Gym

Election Jiu Jitsu: When a Political Fight Comes to the Gym

By Eugene S. Robinson

On the left: Eugene. Representing the right: Martin. It's on!
SourcePhoto courtesy of Leopoldo Serao


Not everyone on the other side is a total moron.

By Eugene S. Robinson

At 6:30 a.m. at least three days out of every week in 2016, a similar scene unfolds at the Serao Jiu Jitsu Academy.

“You’re crazy.”

I’m crazy? You are crazy.”

The speakers? Navy vet and hard science guy at a big tech firm in Silicon Valley Martin Galinski and OZY’s editor-at-large Eugene S. Robinson. The occasion would be 2016’s hothouse election season. Galinski, an out and open Trump supporter, laid it down early and often: “I resent being told I’m an idiot for wanting to vote for Trump.” With real passion and a probing intellect, he’ll detail the whys and wherefores of his unbroken support for the Donald.

Like every day.

And now, for maybe one of the few final times, here at OZY.

How does the character issue not bother you more? 

The allegations have definitely been troubling. Who wants to hear that about a guy you’re supporting? But most people who are against him are going to believe the charges, and those that support him are going to write them off. I try to be objective and not inject what I want to be true vs. what the evidence says. Unfortunately, in this case, I don’t know if these charges are true. They seem to be one-on-one instances where there weren’t any witnesses, so it ends up being hearsay. I think it’s possible that they are true and it’s possible they are campaign tricks to discredit him and turn away those who are undecided. But I’m voting for Trump not because he’s the Dalai Lama. I’m voting because I believe his policies are what’s best for America.

Should I vote against the best interests of my fellow citizens because Trump may have sexually harassed a few women over 10 years ago? Probably not, nor would I expect those on the other side of the aisle who feel Hillary’s policies are what is best to do any different.

Will how he treats women influence his approach to policy that affects women, though? And what about the trickle-down effect of people who think grabbing vaginas without being invited to grab said vaginas is just how things are done?

I’m actually laughing out loud at your questions. Are they joke questions? Look, there’s a lot of “When did you stop beating your wife?” here, and it’ll be hard to hit them all. But most political talk about women’s issues is about equal pay and abortion rights. Other than that, I think the women’s issues are also men’s issues, and moreover, American citizen issues. Currently abortion is legal, and the issue of equal pay is quite complex. I’m not sure, though, if the government needs to do anything, much less issue unilateral presidential executive decrees, so this question is irrelevant. Also, when you say “how he treats women,” I believe there are many more women who say good things about him than those that have accused him of harassment. I guess it’s about who you want to believe, but I believe extrapolating how he treats women based only on these controversial and possibly false accusations may be inaccurate. To answer the “trickle-down” effect … no. There are men who are willing to harass women, and there are men who won’t. That will be the case whoever is the president.

When I tell a joke, I’ll let you know … but filling the Supreme Court with pro-lifers is not irrelevant. And on the grounds of the Billy Bush video alone, I think his attitudes don’t play well in terms of his cabinet or world leaders who aren’t interested in working with someone who holds them in low regard. 

I’m not a fan of legislating pro-life movements, although I can definitely sympathize with what they are trying to do. I think this is an area where personal freedom is more important, and unfortunately, the lives of the unborn babies lay in the hands of their parents. I don’t like the Billy Bush video, and I think that kind of talk is stupid. If there was any real negative for me, it would be this kind of shit. There’s no disputing what he said, and bragging this way isn’t exactly inspiring.

Now “the Mexican” judge Trump said was biased on account of him being Mexican? Paul Ryan’s response was that this was essentially the very definition of racism.

I think Trump was referring to the fact that, based on how he angered a large portion of the Hispanic community with his talk of “the Wall,” he didn’t feel the judge was being impartial and judging the case on its merits. Now, I don’t know if that’s true or not. Only the judge knows for sure. But that’s definitely not the definition of racism. 

Remember when you asked me about Republicans I could stomach and I made semi-positive remarks about Paul Ryan and you said you “hated” him?

I don’t like Paul Ryan because he’s the quintessential career politician who’s only concerned about their positioning within government. It’s very clear based on Wikileaks and Project Veritas how not only is the DNC corruption alive and well, but also how it works. I’m sure there is this kind of bullshit on the Republican side as well … and if there is, it’s perpetrated by career politicians. Trump succeeds because the RNC wasn’t serving its people. Trump has torn up the RNC, and I don’t ever expect it to be the same. I was actually shocked to learn that the DNC needs it more than the Republicans! They need a Bernie Sanders to come in and “drain the swamp.” We may not agree with the best course of action for the country, but the first thing we should be working on is eliminating corruption.

Wait, so the character issues in this election don’t have any bearing on whether or not Trump would be a good president?

Correct. The reality is that even if Hillary didn’t use a private server to house her government emails, which she used to hide information from the FOIA, or didn’t completely blow security at Benghazi and try to cover it up or “sell” positions and access within the government in exchange for Clinton Foundation donations or accepted donations from foreign entities who fund terrorists or intimidated women who accused her husband of rape or promise to house Syrian refugees within the United States at a time when terrorists are looking to infiltrate and kill American citizens — even if she didn’t do these things, I probably still wouldn’t vote for her. The reality for most of us is that we have a fundamental ideology and how we see the world. I may be more motivated or less motivated, but I’m going to vote conservative because I believe in capitalism and freedom over government control. The reality is that even if there was no Billy Bush tape or nine women claiming inappropriate behavior … you’re not going to vote Trump. You’re going to vote for Hillary.

So you don’t think a bad messenger obscures the message? And if corruption is your key issue, you do realize that’s like complaining about finding gambling in a casino, right?

I think a bad messenger can obscure the message, but I also believe there are whole teams of people whose job it is to slander that messenger. I think no matter who you put up there, there will be a huge propaganda machine to turn them into a liar, philanderer, corrupt, racist, out of touch, crazy, stupid or otherwise undesirable. I think the angle will be tailored to the individual, so that it seems as believable as possible. I think Hillary would be a better messenger if she didn’t try to appeal to voters by crafting every stance as all stances. She’s purposefully vague so that she can try to appeal to as many people as possible, and it’s the trademark of a polished politician. Honestly, I do not know for sure what she stands for, do you? Do you honestly know how she plans to create jobs from the presidential office? Do you know what “comprehensive immigration reform” even means? I think a sincere Hillary makes for a better messenger. Although I disagree with some of his politics, Bernie Sanders was sincere.

As far as your casino take, I find this cynical. I think it’s one thing to suspect corruption but have no proof. It’s another to have solid evidence of corruption and to ignore it because you align with the ideology. If you look at every third-world nation, the common thread in why they can’t succeed or pull themselves out of poverty is rampant government corruption. I think apathy about corruption for long enough could get us there. My hope, since we seem to have lost the balance of power, the DOJ is unwilling to uphold the laws and the media has given up objectivity, is that the American people will exercise its power and restore balance again.

And you’re going to trust a casino owner to fight corruption? I think this is where the “fucking moron” part comes in, ha-ha ….

Trust isn’t the correct word. More like a Hail Mary pass. I’ve been burned in the past, so I definitely don’t feel like if Trump wins, it’ll be a sure thing. But being a fucking moron here is always a distinct possibility.