Tuesday, October 25, 2016

The Donald Chronicles: The Racism to the Bottom

Not content to run against the actual candidate opposing him, the Donald spent Tuesday going after President Obama.  If you consider that 1. Obama isn't running and 2. Obama is more popular than the person Trump is actually running against, it makes no sense.  Which wouldn't distinguish it from much that Trump has been doing lately.

Except that it does make twisted sense, when Trump's back is against the wall.  After all he started his current political career by refusing to believe that Barack Obama could possibly be born in the United States.  In terms of racial prejudice, it was a twofer: he suggested that Obama is a black Muslim.

His twisting of an out of context clip of Obama in 2008 on Tuesday is merely an excuse to play the most reliable card in his deck: the white supremacy card.  Suggesting that President Obama is organizing the rigging of this election is the latest dog whistle reminder to the racists among his base voters.

This clip was first played by Hannity on Faux News, and Hannity made his own racial bile against Obama clear in another context on his radio show.  It's two racists in a pod.

The attempt may seem pathetic at this point, especially on a day that the Trump campaign was trying to hide the fact that the woman holding up a Blacks for Trump sign behind him at a rally was herself white.

But this last chance channeling of racism into Obama animus is a reminder that it hasn't gone away, and it won't go away even after the culture has to deal with the spectre of channeling sexism into President Clinton animus.  The Gallup poll finding that white Americans approve of their police at a record rate at a time that police killings of blacks has been revealed, suggests that instead of concern to solve the problem, the first impulse is an us/them conflict.  Not so different from during the Civil Rights movement, before time provided it with sacramental character.

Courtland Malloy has an excellent oped at WPost on Trump voters.  He makes a good argument (quoting from Robert Reich) that economics is central rather than race, that corporate interests etc. try to divide the working middle class against itself by race.  This analysis is fundamentally sound, but Malloy finds it necessary to minimize the racism component.  I don't think that's necessary.  What's the point of debating class versus race, when clearly both are factors?  Maybe the solution is to deal first with the economic structure, but that alone won't end racism.  If it did, all-white suburbia never would have existed.

In any case, Trump's wounded desperation is apparently returning him to his most dedicated supporters.  In a piece analyzing Trump's appeal to white nationalists,  Politico:

"The celebrity New York developer has been endorsed by the nation’s most prominent neo-Nazis, as well as both current and former Klansmen. He is supported online by a legion of racist and anti-Semitic trolls, who push his campaign’s message and viciously attack journalists and politicians they see as hostile to Trump. Whether deliberately or not, the candidate, his son Donald Jr. and his surrogates have circulated white nationalist messages and imagery online."

Trump is going home.  In more ways than one.

No comments: