Yes, Trump is a Racist

Consider this your yearly reminder that Trump is a racist. Most recently, he’s refused to condemn Kyle Rittenhouse, a teenager who killed innocents in Kenosha.

Trump uses racism without guilt even as he claims to be the least racist person you’ll ever meet. As long as people keep applauding Trump, he’ll keep lying and playing to their baser instincts, consequences be damned.

If America reelects him, it’ll be the clearest sign yet of our profound moral decline as a nation.

Bracing Views

Donald Trump Makes Announcement At Trump Tower Trump on the down escalator toward American carnage, 2015

W.J. Astore

Yes, Donald Trump is a racist.  His attacks on four Democratic Congresswomen of color are only the most recent illustration of this.  Trump, of course, is also an opportunist.  A conniver.  An exploiter.  Unless it backfires, he’ll keep using racism.  It fires up his “base” and distracts from the looting his family and administration are actively engaged in.

Trump intuitively grasped a painful reality that Norman Mailer wrote about in 1968.  Inspired by Richard Nixon’s campaign, Mailer wrote that “political power of the most frightening sort was obviously waiting for the first demagogue who would smash the obsession and free the white man of his guilt [of slavery and racism and their legacies].  Torrents of energy would be loosed, yes, those same torrents which Hitler had freed in the Germans when he exploded their ten-year obsession with whether they…

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10 thoughts on “Yes, Trump is a Racist

  1. Reminder — not news — is accurate. No one has lost sight of this. However, events in Kenosha, WI, have not yet been fully digested or adjudicated. A rush to judgment can go either way: killing of innocents (as you put it) or self-defense (as others argue). Considering how incendiary (literally) most public protests have become of the last few months, it’s hard to insist that those out on nighttime streets are merely exercising rights to free speech, public assembly, and patriotic dissent. It’s not nearly so uniform. Similarly, anyone who brings a firearm to the site of civil unrest, no matter the motivation or hindsight justification, is at the least escalating threat levels. My suspicion is that things will get far worse in the next eight weeks (or longer) and Kenosha, WI, will be a blip. I’m not hoping for that, but it seems likely.

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    1. Self-defense seems unlikely. You have a teenager carrying an assault rifle illegally as he seeks out protesters in the name of defending property that isn’t his. Apparently one person he killed was shot in the back. But he’s white and a police enthusiast, so let’s elect him president, said Ann Coulter.

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  2. No argument from me with everything else in your piece but when you say “If America reelects him, it’ll be the clearest sign yet of our profound moral decline as a nation.” I would disagree. The US already reelected a man who made abducting people, torturing them (often to death), commission of aggressive war (an act that was described a Nuremberg as “the supreme war crime”), deliberate lying to the public to start that war and wholesale shredding of your constitution and bill of rights official national policy. Appalling as Trump is I still think that Bush the Younger is substantially worse and him getting reelected after doing those things was a clearer sign of the nations ethical decline. And you might remember Nacy Pelosi saying that his being reelected constituted a referendum on those acts (in her opinion at least) and because of that she gives those crimes a pass. I don’t even think Trump has outdone Nixon yet myself – conspiring with an enemy nation to prolong a war in order to win the presidency and instigating a bloodbath in Cambodia which lead to near genocide plus that little Watergate thing still puts him higher up in the rogues gallery of former presidents than Trump has managed. With four more years he may well be able to make himself the clear winner in the worst president contest though, I acknowledge that possibility. Maybe probability is a better word…

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    1. Excellent points. The Trump/Pence team can’t hold a candle to Bush/Cheney (or, Cheney/Bush) when it comes to soiling the historical record with the (1) the worst foreign policy blunder/crime since Vietnam and (2) the wild speculative Wall Street binge that led to the Financial Collapse of 2008, although the second of these economic calamities — and the current, and next one — most likely couldn’t (and won’t) have transpired without the “deregulation” mania set loose by the Clinton-Gingrich partnership. As well, Trump may yet prove more incompetent with respect to the Corona Virus than Deputy Dubya and Michael Brown proved vis-a-vis Hurricane Katrina, but we will have to wait some in order to reach a fair judgment of these two examples of competitive abysmal ineptitude. Re-electing President Trump will, as you say, come nowhere near the level of moral bankruptcy quite often exhibited in US presidential elections. Those expecting anything more uplifting bear the burden of proving how in the world they could even think of such an improbability.

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    2. Yes, there’s much to debate here. I was thinking of Trump’s woeful response to Covid-19, which has probably resulted in an additional 100K American deaths; his gutting of environmental protections; his denial of global warming; and his encouragement of racism and violence in the US, so much so that he’s praising right-wing “militias,” even as they kill, while dismissing protesters who damage property as “domestic terrorists.” Meanwhile, he continues to try to overturn Obamacare, during a pandemic no less, while focusing his attention on wall-building and demonizing immigrants (unless they’re white).

      It’s true Trump hasn’t started his own Iraq war, or Vietnam or Cambodia, but he came close to provoking a war with Iran. Only Iranian restraint prevented that war.

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      1. When Richard Nixon narrowly won election to the presidency in 1968, he told his aides and associates: “I’m going to end that damn [Vietnam] war, fast. Because if I haven’t ended it in six months, it will be my war.” As President Nixon understood perfectly well, any President can end any war within six months, if not sooner, and this goes for Donald Trump, in spades. But President Trump hasn’t ended a single war, even after having almost four years to do so. So these wars are most definitely his. If he didn’t want ownership of them, then he should not have insisted on becoming president. Saying that he “hasn’t started any new wars” begs the question of why he hasn’t ended even one of his many wars that continue to this day.

        President Nixon didn’t end the War on Southeast Asia. Congress did that in 1975 by cutting off funds for any further military misadventures in Southeast Asia. They did this reluctantly, under enormous pressure from an outraged citizenry that would simply not endure further procrastination by the U.S. military/corporate establishment. But they did do it. They could do it again; and many people voted the Democrats into power in the House of Representatives precisely in the hope that they would emulate their institution’s finest hour. Nixon, of course had already gotten the boot out of office one step ahead of impeachment and conviction by the time Congress finally finished the job that he refused to complete. Why the Democrats didn’t impeach President Trump for not ending even one of his many wars testifies to their worthlessness as custodians of the nation’s purse strings.

        Abolish the drug-running CIA and Defund the standing military establishment.

        Nothing else will free the American people from their greatest and most implacable oppressors. The founders of the American republic feared a standing military establishment more than anything. To combat this lethal danger, they provided in the Constitution that no money should go to paying the military for anything longer than two years. They assumed that every two years the Congress would have to meet and decide if they even wanted a military at all; and if the military had gotten out of hand trying to direct national policy, domestic as well as foreign, then the Congress would simply not pay them and they could return to civilian life and find gainful employment doing something the country actually needed done.

        The US military establishment has essentially run US domestic policy (by starvation) and foreign policy (by profiteering) since the end of World War Two. The time has long since passed for demobilizing these needless parasites and getting back to the business of Peace.

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  3. Leaving such insoluble distractions of “racism” aside, someone has finally framed this election, if not the entirety of the US political environment since at least 1945, in terms that address the reality of a de facto military-corporate junta running the United States instead of this mythological notion of a “democratic republic.” To wit:

    “This election is indeed of great significance, in my view. Given the absolute absence of any check on Washington’s projection of hegemonic power, known politely as “global leadership,” it will force a question upon us it is long past time to pose: Do Americans live under a de facto military government?” [emphasis added]
    . . .
    Is there somebody to vote for on Nov. 3? Is any vote a vote for generals? [emphasis added]

    For a further, in-depth treatment of this analysis, I highly recommend reading: PATRICK LAWRENCE: Voting in a De-Facto Military State. By Patrick Lawrence, Consortium News (August 31, 2020)

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    1. Yes, Mike, I wrote my version of this back in 2012: The National Security State Wins (Again):
      Why the Real Victor in Campaign 2012 Won’t Be Obama or Romney at TomDispatch.com

      That “state” keeps winning no matter who is president. Trump has tried to pacify it with loads of money. To a certain extend, he’s succeeded. The only play the Democrats have is the canard about Trump being a Putin puppet, which is truly nonsense.

      BTW, love this saying attributed to Putin: “Negotiating with Team Trump is like playing chess with a pigeon: The demented bird walks all over the chessboard, shits indiscriminately, knocks over pieces, declares victory, then runs away.”

      As a chess player (with a modicum of ability), that resonated with me.

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  4. Racism like water seeks it’s lowest level. From the Jim Crow Democrats in the South to Dixiecrats, to Goldwater, George Wallace, Nixon’s Southern Strategy by the time of Ray-Gun the GOP had gathered up the Racists and then added the bible thumper’s.

    The Democrats under Clinton-Gore added Neo-Liberal economics that favored Wall Street.

    The GOP strategy since Joe McCarthy has been FEAR the Reds under the Bed was part one. States Right’s was the mask to keep Jim Crow. The Federal Government became the enemy, that was enforcing Civil Rights.

    Over the years the GOP has distilled itself and concentrated itself as Social Reactionaries. Bible thumping and the NRA fueled the fires that distilled the GOP ideology. The IKE of 1952, Nixon of 1968 or Ford of 1976 would not be welcome in the GOP.

    The Trumpet like any good con man knows his mark. He knows how to play it. Complex political philosophy is not necessary. Thus, there is no need for a GOP platform.

    Arlie Hochschild has an excellent article in The Guardian:

    The secret to Donald Trump’s electoral strategy? Emotion, not policy. All of Trump’s incoherence leads some analysts to conclude Trump has no strategy. But he does – and it works like magic.

    Incoherence leads some analysts to conclude Trump has no strategy. But he has one. It’s an emotional strategy and it works like magic. Its aim is to evoke or suppress a range of emotions – fear, depression, anger at “fake Americans”, love of “real Americans” and, above all, awe of himself. In pursuit of this strategy, emotion is everything.

    Trump strongly identifies with his chosen target audience – white, fearful, resentful, humiliated. Trump uses the truth itself as a dramaturgical tool. He treats reality – climate change, Covid-19 – as just another switch one can turn off or on, like starting the music or cueing the fireworks.

    The key targets of his strategy, and the most susceptible to it, are white, older, non-college-educated, evangelical and male. They live in economically declining rural, rust belt or blue-collar suburban America.

    Meanwhile, on that final evening on the South Lawn, 1,500 of the president’s elite supporters, dazzled by the spectacle, sat mostly maskless, unprotected from a virus against which the second amendment is no help. Trump threw all caution to the wind. Don’t feel afraid of Covid-19 like those timid scientists, he seemed to say. Be bold. Be fearless. Take your Covid-19 like a man.
    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/sep/02/donald-trump-strategy-republican-national-convention

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    It is understandable the Rabid -Neo-Confederate Camouflage Gun Toting wing of the GOP would eschew masks and social distancing, after all they are Real Men and of course god is on their side.

    The suburban GOP want low taxes. Paying taxes is for suckers.

    The 1,500 of the Trumpet’s elite gathered on the White House, without masks and no social distancing, had to prove their loyalty, even if it means they get Corona. After all The Trumpet has promised one magical cure after another. I suppose in a way it is like the people during the Black Death in the 14th Century who thought you could pray the plague away and gathered in churches.

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    1. Well said, ML. Taxes are for the little people, as Leona Helmsley said. Trump’s family is from that crowd.

      Trump does know his mark. He doesn’t know the art of the deal, but he could give master classes in the craft of the con.

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