The First White President – By Ta-Nehisi Coates | The Atlantic

The First White President

The foundation of Donald Trump’s presidency is the negation of Barack Obama’s legacy.

Ta-Nehisi Coates | The Atlantic

IT IS INSUFFICIENT TO STATE THE OBVIOUS OF Donald Trump: That he is a white man who would NOT be president were it NOT for this fact.

With one immediate exception, Trump’s predecessors made their way to high office through the passive power of whiteness — that bloody heirloom which cannot ensure mastery of all events but can conjure a tailwind for most of them.

Land theft and human plunder cleared the grounds for Trump’s forefathers and barred others from it. Once upon the field, these men became soldiers, statesmen, and scholars; held court in Paris; presided at Princeton; advanced into the Wilderness and then into the White House.    

Their individual triumphs made this exclusive party seem above America’s founding sins, and it was forgotten that the former was in fact bound to the latter, that all their victories had transpired on cleared grounds.

No such elegant detachment can be attributed to Donald Trump — a president who, more than any other, has made the awful inheritance explicit.

His political career began in advocacy of birtherism, that modern recasting of the old American precept that black people are not fit to be citizens of the country they built. But long before birtherism, Trump had made his worldview clear. He fought to keep blacks out of his buildings, according to the U.S.A. government; called for the death penalty for the eventually exonerated Central Park Five; and railed against “lazy” black employees. “Black guys counting my money! I hate it,” Trump was once quoted as saying. “The only kind of people I want counting my money are short guys that wear yarmulkes every day.”

After his cabal of conspiracy theorists forced Barack Obama to present his birth certificate, Trump demanded the president’s college grades (offering $5 million in exchange for them), insisting that Obama was not intelligent enough to have gone to an Ivy League school, and that his acclaimed memoir, Dreams From My Father, had been ghostwritten by a white man, Bill Ayers.

It is often said that Trump has no real ideology, which is not true — his ideology is white supremacy, in all its truculent and sanctimonious power.

Trump inaugurated his campaign by casting himself as the defender of white maidenhood against Mexican “rapists,” only to be later alleged by multiple accusers, and by his own proud words, to be a sexual violator himself. White supremacy has always had a perverse sexual tint. Trump’s rise was shepherded by Steve Bannon, a man who mocks his white male critics as “cucks.” The word, derived from cuckold, is specifically meant to debase by fear and fantasy — the target is so weak that he would submit to the humiliation of having his white wife lie with black men. That the slur cuck casts white men as victims aligns with the dicta of whiteness, which seek to alchemize one’s profligate sins into virtue.

So it was with Virginia slaveholders claiming that Britain sought to make slaves of them. So it was with marauding Klansmen organized against alleged rapes and other outrages. So it was with a candidate who called for a foreign power to hack his opponent’s email and who now, as president, is claiming to be the victim of “the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history.”

In Trump, white supremacists see one of their own. Only grudgingly did Trump denounce the Ku Klux Klan and David Duke, one of its former grand wizards — and after the clashes between white supremacists and counter-protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August, Duke in turn praised Trump’s contentious claim that “both sides” were responsible for the violence.

To Trump, whiteness is neither notional nor symbolic but is the very core of his power. In this, Trump is not singular. But whereas his forebears carried whiteness like an ancestral talisman, Trump cracked the glowing amulet open, releasing its eldritch energies. The repercussions are striking:

Trump is the first president to have served in no public capacity before ascending to his perch. But more telling, Trump is also the first president to have publicly affirmed that his daughter is a “piece of ass.” The mind seizes trying to imagine a black man extolling the virtues of sexual assault on tape (“When you’re a star, they let you do it”), fending off multiple accusations of such assaults, immersed in multiple lawsuits for allegedly fraudulent business dealings, exhorting his followers to violence, and then strolling into the White House.

But that is the point of white supremacy — to ensure that that which all others achieve with maximal effort, white people (particularly white men) achieve with minimal qualification. Barack Obama delivered to black people the hoary message that if they work twice as hard as white people, anything is possible. But Trump’s counter is persuasive: Work half as hard as black people, and even more is possible.

For Trump, it almost seems that the fact of Obama, the fact of a black president, insulted him personally. The insult intensified when Obama and Seth Meyers publicly humiliated him at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner in 2011. But the bloody heirloom ensures the last laugh. Replacing Obama is not enough — Trump has made the negation of Obama’s legacy the foundation of his own. And this too is whiteness.

“Race is an idea, not a fact,” the historian Nell Irvin Painter has written, and essential to the construct of a “white race” is the idea of not being a nigger. Before Barack Obama, niggers could be manufactured out of Sister Souljahs, Willie Hortons, and Dusky Sallys. But Donald Trump arrived in the wake of something more potent — an entire nigger presidency with nigger health care, nigger climate accords, and nigger justice reform, all of which could be targeted for destruction or redemption, thus reifying the idea of being white.

Trump truly is something new — the first president whose entire political existence hinges on the fact of a black president. And so it will not suffice to say that Trump is a white man like all the others who rose to become president. He must be called by his rightful honorific — America’s first white president.

THE SCOPE OF TRUMP’S commitment to whiteness is matched only by the depth of popular disbelief in the power of whiteness.

We are now being told that support for Trump’s “Muslim ban,” his scapegoating of immigrants, his defenses of police brutality are somehow the natural outgrowth of the cultural and economic gap between Lena Dunham’s America and Jeff Foxworthy’s. The collective verdict holds that the Democratic Party lost its way when it abandoned everyday economic issues like job creation for the softer fare of social justice.

The indictment continues: To their neoliberal economics, Democrats and liberals have married a condescending elitist affect that sneers at blue-collar culture and mocks the white man as history’s greatest monster and prime-time television’s biggest doofus. In this rendition, Donald Trump is not the product of white supremacy so much as the product of a backlash against contempt for white working-class people.

“We so obviously despise them, we so obviously condescend to them,” the conservative social scientist Charles Murray, who co-wrote The Bell Curve, recently told The New Yorker, speaking of the white working class. “The only slur you can use at a dinner party and get away with is to call somebody a redneck — that won’t give you any problems in Manhattan.”

“The utter contempt with which privileged Eastern liberals such as myself discuss red-state, gun-country, working-class America as ridiculous and morons and rubes,” charged the celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain, “is largely responsible for the upswell of rage and contempt and desire to pull down the temple that we’re seeing now.”

That black people, who have lived for centuries under such derision and condescension, have not yet been driven into the arms of Trump does not trouble these theoreticians. After all, in this analysis, Trump’s racism and the racism of his supporters are incidental to his rise. Indeed, the alleged glee with which liberals call out Trump’s bigotry is assigned even more power than the bigotry itself. Ostensibly assaulted by campus protests, battered by arguments about intersectionality, and oppressed by new bathroom rights, a blameless white working class did the only thing any reasonable polity might: Elect an orcish reality-television star who insists on taking his intelligence briefings in picture-book form.

*Orcs rely on context, repetition and volume to add emphasis or meaning.

*According to pre-election polling, if you tallied only white voters, Trump would have defeated Clinton 389 to 81 in the Electoral College.

Asserting that Trump’s rise was primarily powered by cultural resentment and economic reversal has become de rigueur among white pundits and thought leaders. But evidence for this is, at best, mixed. In a study of pre-election polling data, the Gallup researchers Jonathan Rothwell and Pablo Diego-Rosell found that “people living in areas with diminished economic opportunity” were “somewhat more likely to support Trump.”

But the researchers also found that voters in their study who supported Trump generally had a higher mean household income ($81,898) than those who did not ($77,046). Those who approved of Trump were “less likely to be unemployed and less likely to be employed part-time” than those who did not. They also tended to be from areas that were very white: “The racial and ethnic isolation of whites at the zip code level is one of the strongest predictors of Trump support.”

An analysis of exit polls conducted during the presidential primaries estimated the median household income of Trump supporters to be about $72,000. But even this lower number is almost double the median household income of African Americans, and $15,000 above the American median. Trump’s white support was not determined by income. According to Edison Research, Trump won whites making less than $50,000 by 20 points, whites making $50,000 to $99,999 by 28 points, and whites making $100,000 or more by 14 points. This shows that Trump assembled a broad white coalition that ran the gamut from Joe the Dishwasher to Joe the Plumber to Joe the Banker.So when white pundits cast the elevation of Trump as the handiwork of an inscrutable white working class, they are being too modest, declining to claim credit for their own economic class.

Trump’s dominance among whites across class lines is of a piece with his larger dominance across nearly every white demographic. Trump won white women (+9) and white men (+31). He won white people with college degrees (+3) and white people without them (+37). He won whites ages 18–29 (+4), 30–44 (+17), 45–64 (+28), and 65 and older (+19). Trump won whites in midwestern Illinois (+11), whites in mid-Atlantic New Jersey (+12), and whites in the Sun Belt’s New Mexico (+5). In no state that Edison polled did Trump’s white support dip below 40 percent.

Hillary Clinton’s did, in states as disparate as Florida, Utah, Indiana, and Kentucky. From the beer track to the wine track, from soccer moms to nascar dads, Trump’s performance among whites was dominant. According to Mother Jones, based on pre-election polling data, if you tallied the popular vote of only white America to derive 2016 electoral votes, Trump would have defeated Clinton 389 to 81, with the remaining 68 votes either a toss-up or unknown.

Part of Trump’s dominance among whites resulted from his running as a Republican, the party that has long cultivated white voters. Trump’s share of the white vote was similar to Mitt Romney’s in 2012. But unlike Romney, Trump secured this support by running against his party’s leadership, against accepted campaign orthodoxy, and against all notions of decency.

By his sixth month in office, embroiled in scandal after scandal, a Pew Research Center poll found Trump’s approval rating underwater with every single demographic group. – Every single demographic group, that is, EXCEPT ONE: people who identified as white.

The focus on one subsector of Trump voters — the white working class — is puzzling, given the breadth of his white coalition.Indeed, there is a kind of theater at work in which Trump’s presidency is pawned off as a product of the white working class as opposed to a product of an entire whiteness that includes the very authors doing the pawning. The motive is clear: escapism.

The triumph of Trump’s campaign of bigotry presented the problematic spectacle of an American president succeeding at best in spite of his racism and possibly because of it. Trump moved racism from the euphemistic and plausibly deniable to the overt and freely claimed. This presented the country’s thinking class with a dilemma. Hillary Clinton simply could not be correct when she asserted that a large group of Americans was endorsing a candidate because of bigotry.

The implications — that systemic bigotry is still central to our politics; that the country is susceptible to such bigotry; that the salt-of-the-earth Americans whom we lionize in our culture and politics are not so different from those same Americans who grin back at us in lynching photos; that Calhoun’s aim of a pan-Caucasian embrace between workers and capitalists still endures — were just too dark.Leftists would have to cope with the failure, yet again, of class unity in the face of racism.

Incorporating all of this into an analysis of America and the path forward proved too much to ask. Instead, the response has largely been an argument aimed at emotion — the summoning of the white working class, emblem of America’s hardscrabble roots, inheritor of its pioneer spirit, as a shield against the horrific and empirical evidence of trenchant bigotry.

Packer dismisses the Democratic Party as a coalition of “rising professionals and diversity.” The dismissal is derived from, of all people, Lawrence Summers, the former Harvard president and White House economist, who last year labeled the Democratic Party “a coalition of the cosmopolitan élite and diversity.” The inference is that the party has forgotten how to speak on hard economic issues and prefers discussing presumably softer cultural issues such as “diversity.” It’s worth unpacking what, precisely, falls under this rubric of “diversity”: —

….  resistance to the monstrous incarceration of legions of black men, resistance to the destruction of health providers for poor women, resistance to the effort to deport parents, resistance to a policing whose sole legitimacy is rooted in brute force, resistance to a theory of education that preaches “no excuses” to black and brown children, even as excuses are proffered for mendacious corporate executives “too big to jail.” That this suite of concerns, taken together, can be dismissed by both an elite economist like Summers and a brilliant journalist like George Packer as “diversity” simply reveals the safe space they enjoy. Because of their identity.

When Barack Obama came into office, in 2009, he believed that he could work with “sensible” conservatives by embracing aspects of their policy as his own. Instead he found that his very imprimatur made that impossible. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell announced that the GOP’s primary goal was not to find common ground but to make Obama a “one-term president.” A health-care plan inspired by Romneycare was, when proposed by Obama, suddenly considered socialist and, not coincidentally, a form of reparations. The first black president found that he was personally toxic to the GOP base. An entire political party was organized around the explicit aim of negating one man. It was thought by Obama and some of his allies that this toxicity was the result of a relentless assault waged by Fox News and right-wing talk radio. Trump’s genius was to see that it was something more, that it was a hunger for revanche so strong that a political novice and accused rapist could topple the leadership of one major party and throttle the heavily favored nominee of the other.

“I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose any voters,” Trump bragged in January 2016. This statement should be met with only a modicum of skepticism. Trump has mocked the disabled, withstood multiple accusations of sexual violence (all of which he has denied), fired an FBI director, sent his minions to mislead the public about his motives, personally exposed those lies by boldly stating his aim to scuttle an investigation into his possible collusion with a foreign power, then bragged about that same obstruction to representatives of that same foreign power. It is utterly impossible to conjure a black facsimile of Donald Trump — to imagine Obama, say, implicating an opponent’s father in the assassination of an American president or comparing his physical endowment with that of another candidate and then successfully capturing the presidency.

Trump, more than any other politician, understood the valence of the bloody heirloom and the great power in NOT being a nigger.

But the power is ultimately suicidal. Trump evinces this, too. In a recent New Yorker article, a former Russian military officer pointed out that interference in an election could succeed only where “necessary conditions” and an “existing background” were present. In America, that “existing background” was a persistent racism, and the “necessary condition” was a black president. The two related factors hobbled America’s ability to safeguard its electoral system. As late as July 2016, a majority of Republican voters doubted that Barack Obama had been born in the United States of America, which is to say they did not view him as a legitimate president.

Republican politicians acted accordingly, infamously denying his final Supreme Court nominee a hearing and then, fatefully, refusing to work with the administration to defend the country against the Russian attack. Before the election, Obama found no takers among Republicans for a bipartisan response, and Obama himself, underestimating Trump and thus underestimating the power of whiteness, believed the Republican nominee too objectionable to actually win.

In this Obama was, tragically, wrong. And so the most powerful country in the world has handed over all its affairs — the prosperity of its entire economy; the security of its 300 million citizens; the purity of its water, the viability of its air, the safety of its food; the future of its vast system of education; the soundness of its national highways, airways, and railways; the apocalyptic potential of its nuclear arsenal — to a carnival barker who introduced the phrase grab ’em by the pussy into the national lexicon. It is as if the white tribe united in demonstration to say, “If a black man can be president, then any white man — no matter how fallen — can be president.” And in that perverse way, the democratic dreams of Jefferson and Jackson were fulfilled.

The American tragedy now being wrought is larger than most imagine and will not end with Trump. In recent times, whiteness as an overt political tactic has been restrained by a kind of cordiality that held that its overt invocation would scare off “moderate” whites. This has proved to be only half true at best. Trump’s legacy will be exposing the patina of decency for what it is and revealing just how much a demagogue can get away with.

It does not take much to imagine another politician, wiser in the ways of Washington and better schooled in the methodology of governance — and now liberated from the pretense of antiracist civility — doing a much more effective job than Trump.

It has long been an axiom among certain black writers and thinkers that while whiteness endangers the bodies of black people in the immediate sense, the larger threat is to white people themselves, the shared country, and even the whole world. There is an impulse to blanch at this sort of grandiosity. When W. E. B. Du Bois claims that slavery was “singularly disastrous for modern civilization” or James Baldwin claims that whites “have brought humanity to the edge of oblivion: because they think they are white,” the instinct is to cry exaggeration.

But there really is no other way to read the presidency of Donald Trump. The first white president in American history is also the most dangerous president — and he is made more dangerous still by the fact that those charged with analyzing him cannot name his essential nature, because they too are implicated in it.

This essay is drawn from Ta-Nehisi Coates’ new book, We Were Eight Years in Power.

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Comments

  • Ric Hinds  On September 14, 2017 at 8:50 am

    Ta Neshi Coates is ‘spot-on’.

  • Ron Saywack  On September 14, 2017 at 3:06 pm

    Despite Ta-Nehisi Coates’ wordy and alarmist analysis of the rise of the dangerous, insidious Trump presidency, the irony is, that were it not for the Twenty-Second Amendment, Barack Obama would have handily defeated the Queens intellectual dwarf.

    The Twenty-Second Amendment, similarly, prevented Bill Clinton from running for a third term in 2000 and thus paved the way for another Republican calamitous, dim-witted mistake (GWB) into the Oval Office.

    The anachronistic (outdated) Electoral College should have been abolished a long, long time ago as it serves no practical purpose in the modern era. It came in at a time when there were no paved roadways, electricity, radio or television, automobile, airplane, etc. But getting it abolished is virtually next to impossible given the high bar set by the framers (two-thirds of Congress and three-fourth of the States to be in agreement).

    The U.S. presidency, really, should be determined by the popular vote (long overdue). As overtly racist as Trump is, encouragingly, he lost the popular vote by a considerable margin. As America’s demographics rapidly change, it will become increasingly more difficult for a bigoted, racist candidate to repeat what Trump did.

    Barring unforeseen circumstances, Donald Trump is a one-term monumental mistake.

  • Clyde Duncan  On September 15, 2017 at 11:50 pm

    What Ta-Nehisi Coates Gets Wrong About American Politics

    George Packer | The Atlantic

    There’s a lot to admire in Ta-Nehisi Coates’s new essay. It’s one of those pieces that grabs you with its first paragraph and never lets go.

    The argument keeps gathering force, building on the striking imagery (“Trump cracked the glowing amulet open”) and the caustic scouring of the polemics (opioids are treated as a sickness, crack was punished as a crime), to the very end.

    At its heart is the undeniable truth that racism remains fundamental in American politics.

    It’s the overwhelming, the single cause that Coates finds for the phenomenon of Donald Trump. It’s a cause no one in America should ever bet against. And it shapes every premise Coates lays down.

    Because he takes all white American political behavior as undifferentiated and founded on the idea of race, he faults me for writing a pre-election essay in The New Yorker about the white working class.

    Since a majority of all categories of white people ended up voting for Trump, why single out white voters without college degrees, unless it’s to absolve them of their racism by invoking other factors, like class?

    Or worse, to extend them sympathy, since they’ve fallen into the lower depths where, unlike black Americans, they don’t “naturally” belong? Or, worse still, to absolve myself?

    During the campaign, poll after poll showed that the two main indicators of support for Trump, in differing degrees, were varieties of bias and a sense of economic decline.

    I wrote about white working-class voters because their political behavior is increasingly different from that of well-educated, professional whites, in ways that paint the current map of America red. From Roosevelt to Reagan, Clinton, Obama, and Trump, they’ve become the key swing vote. The razor-thin election results in the Rust Belt bore my essay out.

    At the heart of American politics there is racism. But it’s not alone — there’s also greed, and broken communities, and partisan hatred, and ignorance. Any writer who wants to understand American politics has to find a way into the minds of Trump voters.

    Any progressive politician who wants to gain power has to find common interests with some of them, without waiting for the day of reckoning first to scourge white Americans of their original sin. This effort is one of the essential tasks of politics.

    You didn’t hear it from Coates, but in my essay I discussed the relation between race and class, arguing that bigotry is fixed and immutable in some people, while in others bias can be manipulated by a demagogue like Trump depending on circumstances. I added that anyone who supported Trump, for whatever reason, “will have tried to put a dangerous and despicable man in charge of the country.”

    I didn’t excuse or extend comfort to anyone. Analysis isn’t justification — unless you think, as Coates does, that the entire subject is illegitimate for scrutiny because it’s an evasion of the truth about white supremacy.

    Some misreadings are so serious that they’re baffling — as when Coates accuses me of dismissing concerns about police brutality, draconian sentencing, and other wrongs, just because I quoted Lawrence Summers using the word “diversity” in describing the Democratic coalition.

    It’s the kind of distortion brought on by zealous pursuit of the single cause. Did I also fail to understand that there’s such a thing as white identity politics? I started reporting on it a decade ago, when Sarah Palin — Trump’s John the Baptist — first strutted onto the scene.

    Ignoring the black working class because its condition is supposedly the proper order of things? A central part of my most recent book, The Unwinding, is about a black factory worker and her struggling community in Youngstown, Ohio. I don’t ask Coates to read everything I’ve written, but I’ll ask him to stop thinking he can see into my soul and find the true source of my ideas in my white privilege.

    When you construct an entire teleology on one cause — even a cause as powerful and abiding as white racism — you face the temptation to leave out anything that complicates the thesis.

    So Coates minimizes sexism — Trump’s disgusting language and the visceral hatred of many of his supporters for Hillary Clinton — as background noise.

    He downplays xenophobia, even though foreigners were far more often the objects of Trump’s divisive rhetoric and policy proposals than black Americans. (Of all his insults, the only one Trump felt obliged to withdraw was his original foray into birtherism.)

    Coates doesn’t try to explain why, at one point in the campaign, a plurality of Republicans supported Ben Carson over the other nine candidates, all white.

    He omits the weird statistic that slightly more black and Latino voters and slightly fewer whites went for Trump than for Mitt Romney.

    He doesn’t even mention the estimated eight and a half million Americans who voted for President Obama and then for Trump — even though they made the difference. No need to track the descending nihilism of the Republican Party. The urban-rural divide is a sham.

    Then there’s the fact that Trump’s support among working-class whites has fallen from two-thirds on Election Day to 43 percent last month. Has Trump gone soft on the bigotry? Or has he failed to deliver on the rest of his package — cleaning up corruption and doing amazing deals and making America great again? Coates might need more than one cause to explain it.

    That 46 percent of voters, overwhelmingly white, chose Trump — that some chose him because of bigotry and some while overlooking it — that more than a third of the country still supports him: all this is hideous enough.

    But we live in a time of total vindication, when complication and concession are considered weaknesses, and counter examples are proof of false consciousness.

    This spirit has taken over Coates’s writing.

    In this essay and other recent work, he’s turned away from the self-examining quality of his earlier writing to a literary style that’s oracular. He has become the most influential writer in America today; this latest Atlantic essay is already being taught in college courses.

    He has never written more powerfully, and the sentences sweep you along because they don’t yield for a second to anything.

    But the style of no-compromise sacrifices things that are too important for readers to surrender without a second thought.

    It flattens out history into a single fixed truth, so that an event in 2016 is the same as an event in 1805, the most recent election erases the one before, the Obama years turn into an illusion.

    It brushes aside policy proposals as distractions, and politics itself as an immoral bargain. It weakens the liberal value of individual thought, and therefore individual responsibility, by subordinating thoughts and individuals to structures and groups.

    It begins with the essential point that race is an idea, and ends up just about making race an essence.

  • Clyde Duncan  On September 16, 2017 at 6:11 am

  • Clyde Duncan  On September 18, 2017 at 7:17 am

    Is Trump a White Supremacist? – by Charles M. Blow | The New York Times

    “Donald Trump is a white supremacist who has largely surrounded himself w/ other white supremacists.”

    That was only one in a string of tweets on Sept. 11 by ESPN host Jemele Hill in which Hill goes on to say that Trump is “the most ignorant, offensive president of my lifetime,” that he hired and courted white supremacists, that “His rise is a direct result of white supremacy,” that “if he were not white, he never would have been elected.” Hill insinuates that the Republican Party “has done nothing but endorse/promote white supremacy.”

    These tweets caused quite a stir. The White House perpetual lie-generator and press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, said that it was a fireable offense for ESPN. Sanders’s statement, of course, was not without its own controversy. As AOL reported:

    “The Democratic Coalition, an anti-Trump Super PAC, has filed an ethics complaint against White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders with the Office of Government Ethics for her comments calling on ESPN host Jemele Hill to be fired.”

    AOL continued:
    “The group claims federal law prohibits government employees from influencing ‘a private entity’s employment … solely on the basis of partisan political affiliation.’”

    Then on Friday, Trump himself weighed in, because obviously there are no more pressing matters that need his attention, oh like, say, North Korea continuing to launch missiles over Japan, for one.

    Trump tweeted:
    “ESPN is paying a really big price for its politics (and bad programming). People are dumping it in RECORD numbers. Apologize for untruth!”

    This tweet, for me, changed the conversation. It moved the discussion from propriety and in-house rules of conduct by a brand, to a question of veracity. Was what Hill said untrue, as Trump’s tweet suggests, or is Trump in fact a white supremacist who has surrounded himself with white supremacists and whose party courted white supremacists?

    Two of those points can be quickly put to rest. First, there is no question that Trump has hired someone who was at least a booster of white supremacists:

    Steve Bannon. In a sinister act of double signaling, Bannon was hired as the Trump campaign’s chief executive on the same day that Trump started his fake outreach to black voters in Milwaukee.

    Also, while the Republican Party clearly stands for more than white supremacy and the promotion of that intellectually fallacious concept, the party has often turned a blind eye to the racists in its midst and done far too little to extricate them.

    But then the question remains: Is Trump himself a white supremacist?

    This question is almost unanswerable in the absolute, but there is mounting circumstantial evidence pointing in a most disquieting direction.

    First, we must submit that Trump is not particularly discerning in the administration of his insults. As The New York Times Upshot pointed out in July, “Trump is on track to insult 650 people, places and things on Twitter by the end of his first term.”

    He is often reflexive with his derisions, attacking those who criticize or condemn him. Many of Trump’s lackeys laud his instinct to counterpunch. When Trump attacked MSNBC host Mika Brzezinski, Huckabee Sanders explained, “When the president gets hit, he’s going to hit back harder.”

    They paint it as strength, although it is clearly weakness. It is a masking of fragility with aggression. And the traditionally marginalized — women, racial, religious and ethnic minorities — are treated to a particularly personal strain of Trump’s venom.

    In Trump’s eyes, Barack Obama wasn’t simply a bad president, he was illegitimate and inferior, a person who couldn’t possibly be as talented as the world thought he was. He questioned whether Obama had actually attended his prestigious colleges and insisted that Obama’s memoir was too well-written for him to have written it, that it must have been written by a white man.

    Is Trump patriarchal and misogynistic? Definitely. But, what of white supremacy?

    It is clear that Trump is hero among white supremacists: He panders to them, he is slow to condemn them and when that condemnation manifests, it is often forced and tepid. Trump never seems to be worried about offending anyone except Vladimir Putin and white supremacists.

    What does that say about him? How can you take comfort among – and make common cause with – white supremacists and not assimilate to their sensibilities?

    I say that it can’t be done. If you are not completely opposed to white supremacy, you are quietly supporting it. If you continue to draw equivalencies between white supremacists and the people who oppose them — as Trump did once again last week — you have crossed the racial Rubicon and moved beyond quiet support to vocal support. You have made an allegiance and dug a trench in the war of racial hostilities.

    Hill may have pushed into the realm of hyperbole with a few of her statements — it was Twitter after all — but I judge the spirit of her assessment to be true.

    Either Trump is himself a white supremacist or he is a fan and defender of white supremacists, and I quite honestly am unable to separate the two designations.

  • Clyde Duncan  On September 18, 2017 at 1:23 pm

    David Letterman:

    “Here’s what I keep saying:

    We know there’s something wrong, but what I’m tired of is people ― daily, nightly, on all the cable news shows ― telling us there’s something wrong. I just think we ought to direct our resources and our energies to doing something about it. And other people have made this point:

    If the guy was running Dairy Queen, he’d be gone. This guy couldn’t work at The Gap. So why do we have to be victimized by his fecklessness, his ignorance?

    But it’s just the behavior is insulting to Americans, whether you voted for him or not ― and I feel bad for people who did vote for him because he promised them things that they really needed and one wonders if he’s really going to come through. I know there’s trouble in this country and we need a guy who can fix that trouble.

    I wish it was Trump, but it’s not, so let’s just stop whining about what a goon he is and figure out a way to take him aside and put him in a home.“

  • Clyde Duncan  On September 18, 2017 at 8:30 pm

    This is Hilarious Stuff – Donald Trump and his Fools Want to Turn the Clock Back

  • Clyde Duncan  On September 20, 2017 at 5:39 pm

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