Ever-controversial right wing street artist Sabo is having a banner day, at least as far as his ranking in Google search results. After being dropped by Ted Cruz’s campaign store when progressive talk show The Young Turks accused him of being racist – due in no small part to a bevvy of tweets featuring the “n” word – his name is being mentioned by all manner of news outlets, from Texas Monthly to Chron to Gawker.
Reached by phone, Sabo was taking it all in stride. With years of extremely controversial and, to many, extremely offensive far right wing themed public art projects under his belt, he’s no stranger to being on the receiving end of the Internet’s self-righteous railing.
Losing the Cruz campaign as a sales outlet wasn’t a surprise - he was surprised to be in that position in the first place.
When he first showed the design of a tatted up, smoking Cruz to the senator’s campaign manager at CPAC, where Sabo was a speaker on grassroots activism, he thanked them for not suing him, and he never expected more than that. But Donald Trump’s bombastic campaign made the design suddenly timely and effective, and Cruz latched onto the tough guy imagery.
Sabo, who is constantly accused of being homophobic, misogynistic, and racist (accusations he denies vehemently), can’t stomach the idea of a Trump presidency.
“He’s a circus clown,” the artist growled.
To punctuate his feelings on Trump, Sabo mocked those who wagged fingers at his split with Cruz, tweeting sarcastically that he had switched over to Trump. Accompanying the tweet was an image depicting the billionaire dressed in a fascist-styled uniform with the words “IL DOUCHÉ” at the bottom, a play on Mussolini’s “Il Duce.”
Still, Sabo does claim to understand just how Trump has become so popular with many on the right.
“Republicans are the type of people that just want to have barbecues and fucking go boating and fishing and do their thing,” he explained. “ So what that means is, while they’re asleep at the switch we’re getting our nuts kicked decade after decade. One day they wake up and they’re like, ‘hey man, we’re Republicans, but we have no balls.’”
And, he says, the establishment Republicans in office weren’t cutting it.
“The truth is you have a bunch of Republicans that were constantly elected, never doing as they promised, they’re always leaving us outside in the cold, and one day we just got sick of it and said, ‘you know what, we need to change what’s going on in Washington.’”
It’s no secret frustration with the status quo is a large part of what drives Trump’s success, and the feathery-haired candidate knows how to speak to those frustrations.
But he believes Trump’s bluster is a distraction game.
“Somebody compared him to an anglerfish the other day,” Sabo said with a laugh. “He uses his hair as a focus to take away from the seriousness of what’s going on in the world. So everyone can just bust on his hair and bust on his personality, and never once do we have to discuss, ‘hey, they’re throwing gays off of roofs in Syria.’”
It’s the fact that this methodology is working so well on the masses that has Sabo feeling disenfranchised with even his own fellow Republicans.
“The average Trump voter is a moron,” he admitted, unable to resist adding a jab that he feels the average Obama voter was as well. But this, well, this is different. “Being on my side of the fence, I’m very comfortable being able to say that there’s so many morons out there on the left. But when I woke up one morning and I realized, ‘holy shit there’s just as many morons on the right,’ that was a very depressing moment.”
For an artist whose work includes pieces like “Fag, the new n----r” and “abortion Barbie,” even Sabo is incredulous at the amount of love Trump commands.
“What’s that movie, Idiocracy, where a wrestler is the president?” he asked, an analogy that’s becoming more and more common as the election cycle grinds on. “What are the chances I could do a Google search for Trump and he’ll be on the wrestling shows? And sure enough! I mean, you can’t make this shit up, man. So why are they supporting him? I don’t know man.”
With it looking more and more likely for a Trump nomination, Sabo isn’t going to back the Republican. He feels the real right wing supporters had their chance with Ted Cruz, and they’re blowing it.
“I’ve heard the voices screaming for the past seven years for someone to show up to represent what we need and what we want,” he said, aggravation apparent. “And I can’t express how much it troubles me that once that individual came we demonized him, threw him under the bus, and we went instead with a circus freak. And that scares me more than anything because that shows me a lot about… That fills in the holes in terms of where we are as voters in American not only on the left but on the right.”
Don’t think he’ll sit idly by without Cruz in the game, however, or focus only on his despised Democrats. Instead, it will be all-out war.
“It’s a shit show for me, I get to have all the fun in the world,” he chuckled. “Because I’ve got three comedians running. Our country is already fucked, so what do I care, I get to bust on everybody.”