On Trump and what yesterday’s election means

Some people wonder why Trump gets so much devotion and why his party has been forced to follow him. He has done something very simple and very effective: He has listened to what makes his constituents angriest, validated them issue by issue, and tried to mold policy to addressing those issues. No one else has done this, so no one else gets the kind of devotion Trump gets. That’s why he could shoot someone in Times Square at noon and get away with it. That’s why his constituents will ignore his every fault, including his incessant lying and his ignoring of law. The guy with a reputation for not listening listened to the right people, listened way more comprehensively than anyone else, and has been unprecedentedly consistent about keeping his focus on those issues.  That’s what makes him look like he’s not a politician. 

The problem is in what makes his constituents angriest. So much of it is myths. “Terrorists are coming over the border from Mexico.” No they’re not. Terrorists take the far easier route of flying in on student visas. So far, none have come from Mexico. All that illegal immigration and no terrorism. “Minorities have so many advantages that the majority is under terrible attack.” Bullshit. Anyone who is threatened by “Happy Holidays” is a complete fucking cretin, that’s just a courtesy to include everyone. There isn’t a shred of evidence that anyone will ever keep Christians from worshipping, being employed, being elected to public office (who’s our Vice President again?) or dominating December retail. No, White people are not being threatened. When Whites are finally a plurality rather than the majority, nothing will happen. No one outside of demographers will even notice. No legislation up to this point has resulted in the White population being worse off than any other population and if you think I’m wrong, ask yourself who you’d trade places with. “Democrats are going to take all your guns.” How many Democrats in positions of power have you heard suggest a repeal of the Second Amendment? “We’re at risk of being ruled by Sharia law.” Please. The Muslim population is relatively tiny and I have never seen any data indicating that a majority of Muslims in America want Sharia to become civil law here. “Spanish will replace English in the United States.” No it won’t, any more than Yiddish did in New York. Use of foreign languages is a function of how recent immigration is and because Spanish speaking immigrants keep coming in large numbers, we tend not to notice the amount of assimilation that has happened to Spanish speaking populations that have been here longer. No one who grows up here isn’t fluent in English. “The Chinese are taking advantage of us.” Actually, that one’s true. 

Not only is so much of it myths, so much of it demonizes populations of Americans, and when the White House indicates in a bunch of ways that demonization is OK, that has consequences. Like a major rise in hate crimes, the most recent big one being Squirrel Hill. 

What yesterday’s election proved (among other things) is that a lot of the American population either approves of demonization or doesn’t care enough to think stopping it is a major enough issue to sway a vote. And that, more than anything, is what will make minorities hate Republicans. Not all minorities, but a lot. If you’re still asking yourself why Black people vote Democratic, you might as well stop asking. If you have Black neighbors or coworkers and you voted Republican, what you’re likely to hear is some version of “We are now less safe. Black boys have to be taught to be extra careful around the police because we are actively afraid of getting killed. Hate crimes are increasing and, at the same time, pressure on the police to clean up their act when it comes to Black suspects is decreasing, both of which are a consequence of Republicans in power. What you just did was show that my life isn’t important enough to affect your vote and you have the nerve to ask why I have a problem with you. Yes, I understand that your vote wasn’t due to race in a conventional sense, race wasn’t on your mind at all, but your vote says that as far as you’re concerned, Black Lives Don’t Matter. And then you wonder why BLM exists. You’re why.” 

Views: 143

Comment by Jonathan Wolfman on November 7, 2018 at 8:20am


Comment by Ron Powell on November 7, 2018 at 8:43am

I hope that neither of us must sincerely  consider the purchase of a weapon to defend ourselves against the kind of wing nut that thinks he /she's being a patriotic hero by walking into a church, synagogue, school, restaurant, or mall with murder in mind and gun in hand...

I fear the one on one confrontation that can get wildly out of control and become unforeseeably fraught with the spectre of violence....

Trump has given murderous license to individuals who don't have sufficient intellect to engage in civil discourse or debate without becoming defensive, hostile, and/or violent...

Comment by Tom Cordle on November 7, 2018 at 9:02am

"Some people wonder why Trump gets so much devotion and why his party has been forced to follow him."

Count me among them, and sorry, but I don't buy the notion that tRump the super snake-oil salesman fully explains what we are witnessing. For starters, the aptly-named base of the Repugnant Party has been buying snake-oil since long before tRump entered the picture. Exhibit A: The Southern Strategy. Furthermore, I'd wager tRump could not have gotten nominated without the wingnut propaganda machine; and I include in the nest of vipers Fux News, SinKKKlair Broadcasting, Info Warts, and Rash Limbo and the rest of his bilious ilk on AM talk radio. And you now add to that list of deplorable Fake News outlets, Fakebook and Twaddle.

What we are witnessing, I fear, is 1984 coming to pass, and the second coming of the Wiemar Republic. I hope I'm wrong, but God help us if I'm not.

Comment by koshersalaami on November 7, 2018 at 9:07am

It’s not that Republican voters are all racists, but pretty much all of them vote to protect racism, not because protecting racism is their aim but because it’s not worth changing their vote to avoid protecting racism. Let me use a draconian example to illustrate the problem:

I will almost guarantee you that most of Germans who voted for the Nazi Party in 1933 did not do so because of what they wanted the Nazis to do to Jews. I’ll go further than that: Most Germans who supported Hitler in early 1939 probably did not do so because of what they wanted the Nazis to do to Jews, and at this point they couldn’t plead ignorance because a lot of antisemitic legislation was now in place and Kristallnacht had just happened the year before. It’s not that they hated Jews, it’s that protecting their Jewish neighbors was just too far from what was important to them to bother with. That didn’t make them antisemites, but it also didn’t completely absolve them of responsibility for tolerating a government that killed so many Jews that there are fewer Jews in the world right now than there were in 1941, and look at what the world’s population has done in that time. 

So whether people are racist isn’t necessarily even the question. The bigger question may not be how much racism they engender but how much they tolerate. We use the term “enable” but I want to avoid that term because that’s not a term that shows up in a lot of conservative circles. I think “vote to protect racism” will make the point more successfully with that population. 

Comment by Maui Surfer on November 7, 2018 at 12:27pm
53 percent of American Whites, roughly, ARE RACISTS. The good news is 47 percent who are not isn't a bad number overall.
Comment by Tom Cordle on November 7, 2018 at 2:04pm

We’re at risk of being ruled by Sharia law.”

To the contrary, what we at risk of is being ruled by "Kristian Sharia" law Just wait till Pence or someone of his ilk is Prez. These fools are not only against abortion, they're against birth control and sex education, and if they could, they remove women from the workplace and seats of power – not biblical, you know, wives be subject to your husbands, and all that patriarchal nonsense.

Comment by Tom Cordle on November 7, 2018 at 2:22pm

KS: I suspect you are being far too kind to the German people. Bigotry against Jews was rampant in Germany long before Hitler (it goes back at least to the time of the Crusades), just as bigotry against blacks and other minorities was alive and unwell in America long before tRump made it acceptable for racists to crawl out from under a rock again.

One might say tRump "popularized" racism and bigotry. "Populist" and nationalist" are code words for someone who promotes and thrives on bigotry, whether that be against Jews, blacks, Indians, gays, or any other minority. But while the populist can foment that sort of thing and take advantage of it, it is rarely successful unless the climate for it exists already, and let no one imagine what happened in Germany couldn't happen here. Indeed, it has happened here many times in the past, but usually – thankfully – it happens on a small scale.

Comment by Ron Powell on November 7, 2018 at 4:42pm

"We use the term “enable” but I want to avoid that term because that’s not a term that shows up in a lot of conservative circles."

The terms "racism" , "bigotry", "antisemitism", "homophobia", "xenophobia", and "sexism" dont show up in a lot of conservative circles either...

Sugar coating and euphamizing reality, facts, and the truth should not be our approach to "selling" what's right...

Using a phrase like "protecting racism" is a way to absolve conscious and unconscious racists of their complicity in the perpetration and perpetuation of racism. 

The term "enable" places blame and accountability squarely where it should be...

I'm glad that the people who prosecuted the Nazi war criminals at Nuremberg didn't do so with a bunch of conciliatory euphemisms and platitudes...

You should be as well....

Comment by koshersalaami on November 7, 2018 at 5:28pm

Protecting racism is not a euphemism at all. If anything it’s a more active term than enabling, which is passive, while protecting is active. I think you have this backward. 

I’m not talking about avoiding “enabling” to avoid truth, I’m talking about avoiding it because I think it’s the sort of term that will be instantly dismissed. Protecting won’t be. 

Comment by Maui Surfer on November 7, 2018 at 6:28pm

53% 53% 53% 53% 53% 53% 53%


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