Archive - Aug 2015


August 30th

The Appeal Of The Donald

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Memo to Trump's 28%: I GET IT.

I went into this some last week on Twitter, but ultimately, the success of the Donald Trump candidacy to date, and its chances for eventual success overall, hinges on one group of people. People who resent getting in trouble for being racist and/or sexist.

When you hear people talking about how Trump "tells it like it is", what he's telling, and what these people agree "it is", is that foreigners are out to get us and women are hormonal creatures but some of them are pretty enough to throw a dick at. And when they applaud his lack of "political correctness", what they're actually applauding his ability to say racist and sexist things in public and then shrug off and ignore any criticism while suffering none of the consequences most public figures suffer for being this blatantly awful.

And when they say it's "refreshing", it's because it is. If you deeply resent having to actually pay attention to the words you use so that they don't end up matching the thoughts inside your head, because the thoughts inside your head are no longer acceptable to a society that, at least publicly, has progressed a tiny bit beyond those ideas, of course it's going to be "refreshing" to think that someone can ignore all that and still succeed

This is not a new phenomenon. People always look for an excuse to get away with being racist. It's the same impules that causes a lot of people to seize on any negative-seeming fact about a black victim of police violence so they can say the victim "deserved" to be beaten, tortured, or killed. It doesn't matter if the thing they did actually justified a beating, torture, or killing. That's the excuse. The underlying idea is that they deserved it because they were black. The infraction is the excuse to be racist.

This is Trump's base. They don't care about whether or not innocent people might get swept up in Trump's massive and unspecific mass deportation plan, or even whether or not Trump cares if the people he deports are here legally or otherwise. They just know whoever gets sent away is brown, and that's good enough for them, because they have the "they came here illegally" excuse to fall back on.

The question is, how prevalent is this sentiment? Can other Republicans appeal to it while maintaining Trump's seeming imperviousness to blowback? They're trying. Chris Christie suggested tracking legal immigrants like FedEx tracks packages, and everyone immediately made the Holocaust connection he and his staff either missed, or ignored completely.

Scott Walker suggested we need a border wall with Canada too, which is yet another misstep for the Walker campaign - not because the Canadian border is twice as long as the Mexican one, but rather because Canadians are mostly white, and therefore keeping them out of the United States is not a priority of the anti-immigration crowd. At best, keeping Canadians out is an afterthought. They'll say they want to keep Canadians out too if you ask them whether or not they're racists, but it'll never come up unprompted.

So with the other GOP candidates stumbling around trying to snatch up the nativist xenophobe vote, their incompetence plus the size of the field could easily give Trump a plurality going forward. The bigger question is, would that be enough to give him the White House? The 2008 and 2012 elections say no - if they proved anything, it's that with the right turnout, racists can't win a national election, because if they could, we wouldn't have a black president.

Of course, to match 2008 and 2012, the Democrats need to field a candidate who can create the kind of enthusiasm in the non-racist community that will get them out to the polls. And I hope they realize that ain't Joe Motherfucking Biden.