Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Trumps' Big CON: Even If He Is Not Racist, Trump Uses Racism, CONt. Part 2

"In the first three months after Trump won the presidency, the Southern Poverty Law Center recorded an astonishing 1,372 hate incidents, nearly all of them election-related. A deep dive into the data reveals that nearly half of these incidents involve people referencing Trump, either by name or by parroting his rhetoric: groups of white thugs intimidating minorities while chanting 'Trump,' for instance, or swastika graffiti accompanied by the words 'Make America White Again.' The cold, hard fact that racist thugs shout and chant Trump’s name (something we all saw happening in Charlottesville) while threatening and intimidating minorities should give us all pause — particularly the president himself.

This, really, is the crux of the problem the nation faces: not Trump’s fumblings and prevarications or his reflexive reliance on 'both sides do it' equivocation, but his steadfast refusal to acknowledge his overpowering role in the toxic violence that is being plotted and carried out on his behalf. Throughout the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump played footsie with these groups, retweeting their hashtags and memes, refusing to disavow David Duke one day and then issuing an anodyne and plainly insincere disavowal the next.

At one point during the campaign, after news broke that white nationalists were placing robo-calls on Trump’s behalf, the media eventually elicited a perfunctory disavowal from him, but he also rationalized them: 'People are angry, they’re angry at what’s going on. They’re angry at the border, they’re angry at the crime.'

His alt-right fan base invariably interpreted these remarks in the most generous light: 'If he disavowed us, he did it, I thought, in the nicest possible way,' white nationalist Jared Taylor said after the flap over the robo-calls.

Most of all, the radical right uniformly expressed the view that Trump was advancing its agenda. 'The success of the Trump campaign just proves that our views resonate with millions,' Rachel Pendergraft, leader of the KKK-based Knights Party, told me. 'They may not be ready for the Ku Klux Klan yet, but as anti-white hatred escalates, they will.'

If Trump really were a normal politician, he would not want his name associated with these kinds of ideologies, nor the hateful acts their followers engage in. A man of presidential dignity and decency would make clear, irrevocably, that these hatemongers should consider him their enemy, not their 'glorious leader,' as some neo-Nazis are wont to call him.

Instead, Trump constantly stonewalled and equivocated, shifted blame to the victims of the violence and suggested that these acts were being faked by the left to make the right look bad. The pattern remained intact all the way through Charlottesville, when his initial response failed to call out the presence of neo-Nazis and white supremacists. His alt-right fan base was correspondingly joyous: Andrew Anglin of the neo-Nazi website the Daily Stormer responded on social media: 'He said he loves us all.' They were universally delighted by Trump’s later remarks defending the Charlottesville marchers. Duke thanked Trump for his 'honesty and courage.'

Even if Trump were to reverse course, wittingly or not, the president has empowered and unleashed an army of true believers over the course of the past year and a half. The alt-right is a profoundly anti-democratic movement, openly hostile to the institutions of voting and the underlying concepts of equality of opportunity. Its adherents are organized, numerous, angry and prone to violence. Its emergence on the political scene will be a major challenge in the years ahead for those of us who still believe in, value and cherish our democratic institutions.

And under Trump’s banner, they will not be going away anytime soon."

Read the Washington Post, White supremacists have been marching in President Trump’s name. Literally., which concludes:

"Disavowing hate groups won't work if they still see him as an inspiration."