So what made me decide to ditch that piece and write this one instead? My teenage son came home from work early, and we decided to go to the shooting range. We have a little .22-caliber revolver that’s fun to shoot. I’m a good shot, but he’s an excellent shot, and it never stops being hilarious for him to point that out to the old man.
I can scrape up only a few possible reasons that Laredo banker Dennis Nixon is co-hosting a San Antonio fundraiser this Friday for Donald Trump.
What makes figuring this out so difficult is that International Bancshares Corp., the Nixon-led holding company for IBC Bank, grew up on the border and its customers are largely Hispanic. Trump would be as welcome in most Hispanic communities as Zika or scabies. IBC became a regional financial-services powerhouse with business on both sides of the border because of NAFTA. Trump talks about NAFTA as fondly as he would Zika or scabies.
So here are the possibilities:
- Treasury Secretary Nixon.
- He has it all worked out. Get Trump elected, and he’ll build that big border wall. As IBC’s many customers on the Mexican side scramble to figure how to pay for it, Nixon will swoop in with an attractive loan package.
- Nixon is one of the many mainstream Republicans who are like the bewildered and totally-menaced Mr. Jones in Bob Dylan’s Ballad of a Thin Man. You concentrate on doing the usual things, like co-hosting fundraisers for your party’s standard-bearer, because something is happening here but you don’t know what it is, do you, Mr. Jones?
Nixon is not like Trump. He isn’t a loud-mouth or a racist who questions the loyalty of Mexican-Americans. Nixon doesn’t jump on Twitter or Facebook first thing in the morning to attack his critics or say something horrible. Verbally burning off somebody’s face probably isn’t Nixon’s idea of a productive workday.
But by co-hosting a fundraiser for Donald Trump, Nixon is giving Trump a fistful of passes — for racism, sexism, xenophobia, and making our politics dumber and uglier than they already were — and telling other donors it’s OK to do the same.
He’s also putting his imprimatur on a candidate who would be a disaster for his publicly traded company.
This is how IBC describes its business in its most recent quarterly report to the Securities and Exchange Commission, filed last month:
The Company is very active in facilitating trade along the United States border with Mexico. The Company does a large amount of business with customers domiciled in Mexico. Deposits from persons and entities domiciled in Mexico comprise a large and stable portion of the deposit base of the Company’s bank subsidiaries. The Company also serves the growing Hispanic population through the Company’s facilities located throughout South, Central and Southeast Texas and the State of Oklahoma.
Does this sound like a company that would want Trump as its champion?
Trump clearly wasn’t Nixon’s first choice in Republican primary. He gave Sen. Marco Rubio $6,100 between April 10, 2015, and June 30, 2015, though Rubio’s campaign returned $2,700 for some reason, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. In October, he wrote Ohio Gov. John Kasich a check for $2,700. (Personal call: Kasich, yes. Rubio, God no.)
Looking through his contributions to federal candidates over the years, Nixon prefers Republicans but also gives to Democrats, namely Congressmen along the border, where IBC is most active. So, why does his pragmatism fail him in the presidential race?
Last week, Express-News columnist Brian Chasnoff excerpted a fundraising letter from Nixon. He tells potential Trump supporters what to expect if Hillary Clinton wins the White House.
“First, we will NOT get the regulatory relief we need to get our economy moving again,” (Nixon wrote), “and second, we will get MORE burdensome regulations, MORE bad decisions from a liberal Supreme Court and MORE spending on social programs, driving us deeper into debt.”
Nixon didn’t mention giveaways to banks in times of financial crisis, like the $216 million IBC accepted from the Treasury Department in late 2008 (and has since repaid). Probably an oversight.
Anyway, maybe we’re getting down to the real reason for Nixon’s support of Trump. Strip away the HYPERBOLE, and you find a lender who is worried about the constraints of Dodd-Frank banking reforms and the cost of compliance, and wants a rollback.
He’s also probably got the face of Sen. Elizabeth Warren scowling at him whenever he closes his eyes. As leader of the Democrats’ liberal wing, the Massachusetts senator –and Wall Street antagonist — would have influence in a Clinton administration. But probably not enough to undo Clinton’s ties to investment bankers and hedge-fund managers.
Which is a problem for Democrats, not Republicans.
How exactly does the threat of more financial regulations outweigh the threat Trump poses to the border economy? It doesn’t, unless you believe that Trump isn’t serious, that underneath that economic-populist shell, a free-trader is waiting to pop out.
Oh, Mr. Jones…
On June 17, Donald Trump will slip into San Antonio, vacuum up a bunch of campaign contributions, and dash out, with no public appearances. And who can blame him? If a Mexican-American judge born in Indiana can’t fairly try the Trump University lawsuits, what kind of chance would Trump the candidate stand in a city where more than 63 percent of the population is Hispanic? And in Texas no less? The Lone Star State is notorious for having Mexico cooties all over it.
The San Antonio Express-News broke the news Wednesday that only donors who RSVP will be told the fundraiser’s location. Smart. If you want to win the presidency, the best thing is to avoid a public like ours. The header on page six of Trump’s campaign playbook reads, “Never, under any circumstance, give San Antonio your real number.”
Trump is nothing if not shrewd.
But his San Antonio donors… my God, they’re the opposite of shrewd. They’re downright heroic, in that crazy-bold, all-in kind of way. Think of the guts it’ll take to scribble those checks. They live either in or close to a minority-majority city, and many of them lead or help manage businesses that probably rely on at least a few minority customers. Nevertheless, these local titans will not be tyrannized by political correctness. They will muster the courage to donate to Trump’s campaign, knowing full well that their names and how much they gave will be a matter of public record with the next Federal Election Commission filing. Impact to the bottom line? Psst. Whatever.
Anyway, since we’re likely to be denied a real “Trump’s day in SA,” below are a few snippets of a fantasy tour of SA for the Donald.
Motorcade pulls up in front of the Alamo. Jumps out, waits for MSM douche bags to catch up. Aide hands him two signs that he waves giddily in front of the cameras, one in each hand. Left hand: “#RememberTheAlamoAgainin2016.” Right hand: “#ButReallyILoveThe HispanicsandTheyLoveMeBack.”
“You people are taller than I imagined.”
Rubs his hands together, gets a scary, hungry look, and says, “Now, where’s this Boys Town I’ve heard so much about?”
Rubs his hands together, gets a scary, hungry look, and says, “Now, where’s this Donkey Lady I’ve heard so much about?”
“Driving in, we saw an old Mexican lady walking her dog and carrying a club. You people have the craziest gang rituals! Crazy!”
Mistakes the Mexican Consulate on Navarro Street for San Antonio City Hall.
“So, where do all the thugs live around here?” Raises an eyebrow. “You know — thugs.” Winks a sly wink.
Experiences racial profiling firsthand. Orders chilaquiles (pronounces “Shill-lack-quil-ees) and server leans in and says, “You know that’s spicy, right?” But rather than taking offense, he’s grateful for the warning. Orders three bean-and-cheese tacos that he devours with a fork and knife, no salsa.
On his way out of town, turns to a flunky and barks, “Write this down — Make San Antone Mexico Again. Red baseball caps. Two-thousand gross. $15 each.”