White identity politics: Trump plays the ‘reverse racism’ card

1
695

After the Washington Post exposed his son-in-law Jared Kushner as Baltimore’s chief slumlord, and the The Baltimore Sun accurately compared him to a “rat,” our mentally and emotionally unstable racist president doubled-down on his white identity racist attacks in a Twitter tirade Sunday night, and picked up where he left off this morning.

Sunday night, Trump sought to paint urban enclaves as violent, dirty and socially deviant, a sharp contrast to the praise he heaps on whiter, more conservative communities.

Screen Shot 2019-07-29 at 5.57.20 AMScreen Shot 2019-07-29 at 5.57.43 AMScreen Shot 2019-07-29 at 5.58.01 AM

‘Louder and more hateful’: Big-city leaders say Trump’s attacks on Baltimore are escalation of his strategy to denigrate diverse, liberal areas:

President Trump’s denunciations of Baltimore as an uninhabitable city are the latest in a string of disparaging attacks on diverse, liberal enclaves as violent, dirty and outside the mainstream — rhetoric that paints those areas of the country as fundamentally less American than whiter, more conservative strongholds.

Trump denigrated Maryland’s largest city over the weekend as “a disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess” and blamed it on Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.), who is black, and claimed on Sunday that the lawmaker himself is “racist.” Long before, Trump had taken aim at other major cities, some of which are predominantly African American, and their elected leaders.

He called San Francisco streets “disgusting,” labeled Oakland and Ferguson, Mo., among the most dangerous places in the world, and lambasted the “crime spree” and “terrible blight” in Chicago. He also tagged Atlanta as “crime infested” and said the city represented by civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) was “falling apart.”

Last month, Trump used an interview with Fox News during a trip to Japan to condemn the “filth” caused by homelessness in Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York, blaming it on their Democratic leaders.

“It’s disgraceful,” Trump said, adding that his administration was looking at steps to “get that whole thing cleaned up.”

To the leaders of those jurisdictions, Trump’s indictment of Baltimore fits a long-standing pattern of a president who accentuates the nation’s divisions along racial, ethnic and geographic lines.

“His spewing of white supremacist rhetoric is unending,” Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf (D) said in an interview Sunday, adding: “I fear that the rhetoric will only get louder and more hateful the closer we get to the election.”

Trump also screwed up and revealed what is actually driving his racist attacks on Rep. Cummings.

Screen Shot 2019-07-29 at 5.58.23 AM

That last line is a reference to the House of Representatives Oversight Committee voting 23-16 along party lines to allow its chairman, Elijah Cummings, to issue the subpoenas to White House officials including the Republican president’s daughter Ivanka Trump and son-in-law Jared Kushner. U.S. House panel approves subpoenas for Trump officials’ private emails:

“The Committee has obtained direct evidence that multiple high-level White House officials have been violating the Presidential Records Act by using personal email accounts, text messaging services, and even encrypted applications for official business – and not preserving those records in compliance with federal law,” Cummings said in a statement.

Cummings said the subpoena was necessary because the White House had not turned over a “single piece of paper” this year in response to requests made in his committee’s investigation.

Trump built his entire 2016 campaign around Hillary Clinton’s emails and her private server, now it is his princess daughter and princeling son-in-law who are accused of the very same thing (including Jared Kushner communicating with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman via the WhatsApp encrypted messaging application owned by Facebook).

Then Trump moved on to playing the “reverse racism” card, which boils down to “I’m not a racist. YOU’RE the racist for pointing out my racism.

Screen Shot 2019-07-29 at 5.58.51 AMScreen Shot 2019-07-29 at 5.59.11 AM

So civil rights leader Elijah Cummings is a racist, and Donald Trump, who has a long history of racism is not? Puh-lease. Trump embraces the ‘reverse racism’ feared by his supporters:

Trump is claiming that allegations of racism directed at himself and his policies — and the supporters who embrace them — are themselves examples of racism. Analysis by The Washington Post found that Trump is three times as likely to accuse nonwhite people of racism as he is white people.

This isn’t a new phenomenon. When segregationist Alabama Gov. George Wallace was asked if he considered himself to be a racist during a 1968 interview, he offered a similar deflection.

“No sir, I don’t regard myself as a racist,” Wallace said, “and I think the biggest racists in the world are those who call other folks racist. I think the biggest bigots in the world are those who call other folks bigots.”

Last year, as the anniversary of the violent 2017 protests in Charlottesville arrived, Trump tweeted a condemnation of “all types” of racism. This was an obvious reference to the sort of reverse racism embedded in his and Wallace’s rhetoric: Purported racism against white people.

As we pointed out then, nearly two-thirds of Trump voters say they’re at least somewhat concerned about “reverse racism” impacting their lives — that is, the idea that whites are the focus of discrimination. That includes a quarter of that group who say they’re very concerned about it.

About a tenth of respondents told Pew that whites face more discrimination than blacks; 80 percent of that group identified as Republican or Republican-leaning.

Screen Shot 2019-07-29 at 6.43.15 AM

Trump’s response to the [“squad”] criticizing him and his policies is to suggest that they are themselves racist.

* * *

Changing mores have meant more skepticism about and condemnation of racist or sexist comments. Those who make those sorts of traditionally racist and sexist comments or who reinforce traditional race and gender roles are generally members of the more powerful racial and gender groups: whites and men. Being told that it’s unacceptable to say or do things that others see as racist or which reinforce racial hierarchies is seen as a race-based criticism. Is seen, apparently, as racist.

So then, what makes them racist? They are racist because they “want to tear down the structure of our country,” largely because they oppose Trump’s policies on immigration?

If so, what does that say about whom Trump’s immigration policies are meant to support?

Steven Greenhut has the answer at Reason, White Identity Politics, Not Trump’s Racist Tweets, Is National Conservatism’s Real Problem:

The debate over Donald Trump’s “go back” tweets regarding four minority Democratic members of Congress has centered on the unmistakably bigoted words that he wrote, but has missed the deeper point. The fundamental nature of the Middle American Revolution the president is leading is mired in white-identity politics and closely tracks the blueprint of a little-known writer, Sam Francis, who espoused disturbing racially tinged views.

As New York Times columnist David Brooks wrote about the late Washington Times columnist, “There’s very little Donald Trump has done or said that Francis didn’t champion a quarter century ago.” Many other writers of various political stripes have noted the connection, although not in the context of the latest tweet storm.

Francis despised the Republican leadership, which isn’t unusual or necessarily unwarranted. But his main argument was that GOP elites were selling out the white working class, refusing to fight back against multiculturalism and putting globalism above the needs of Americans. He not only loathed big business, which he accused of putting profits above national identity, but capitalism itself, which he described as the “enemy.”

His main bugaboo was mass immigration—legal and illegal. Does that sound familiar? Francis’ thought “was infected by the same cancer that may destroy Trumpism,” Brooks presciently noted in that 2017 column. Francis kept heading into the racial fever swamp because “people like that always go there, sooner or later.” That’s exactly what we’re seeing now, as the national political conversation has taken a decidedly race-tainted tone.

Despite efforts by some of the new nationalists to banish the alt-righters and avowed white nationalists, this movement always ends up fixated on birthrights and genetics. Many of these folks can’t help from going there. There’s a likely reason that former KKK leader David Duke touts the president’s agenda or why the far right is attracted to this movement like white on rice.

President Ronald Reagan said “since this is the last speech that I will give as President, I think it’s fitting to leave one final thought, an observation about a country which I love. It was stated best in a letter I received not long ago. A man wrote me and said: “You can go to live in France, but you cannot become a Frenchman. You can go to live in Germany or Turkey or Japan, but you cannot become a German, a Turk, or a Japanese. But anyone, from any corner of the Earth, can come to live in America and become an American.”

Nationalists mostly reject that concept. To them, America is the product of a time, place and people. They can’t talk about their views for long before fretting about third-world immigrant rapists and yammering about cosmopolitans. Nationality—not liberty—is at the core of their philosophy.

“A concerted and long-term attack against the civilization of white, European and North American man has been launched,” Francis said at a 1994 conference sponsored by a group that’s focused on racial issues. “The war against white civilization…invokes liberal ideals as its justification and as its goal, but the likely reality is that the victory of the racial revolution will end merely in the domination or destruction of the white race and its civilization by the non-white peoples.”

The president doesn’t describe his views with precision, but his tweets tap into low-road sentiment. It doesn’t take many discussions with hard-core MAGA folks to end up hearing about “Mexican invaders” or “black crime.” That appears to be by design.

Monday morning, the world’s greater grifter and con man (stealing the presidency is the greatest con job of all time) has added civil rights leader Rev. Al Sharpton to his racist attacks, calling him a con man. It takes one to know one.

Screen Shot 2019-07-29 at 6.00.32 AMScreen Shot 2019-07-29 at 6.01.04 AMScreen Shot 2019-07-29 at 6.01.17 AM

Rev. Sharpton responded this morning. Al Sharpton brilliantly smacks down Trump on Morning Joe after the president calls him a ‘con man’:

Trump called the civil rights leader a “troublemaker and con man” in his Monday morning attack, and Sharpton called out his hypocrisy.

Sharpton told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that the president once begged for his approval shortly after his election.

“He would support us and come to us even after I would challenge him,” Sharpton said, “about (the) Central Park (Five) and attacking him on the birther (conspiracy). But make this note — on December 1, 2016, three weeks after the election, he called me after seeing me on this show, ‘Morning Joe,’ and asked me to come and meet with him.”

“He was president-elect,” the reverend recalled, “and he wanted me to come meet with him at Mar-A-Lago. I said, ‘I will only meet with you if I can bring other leaders of national civil rights organizations. (Trump said,) ‘No, Al, I just know you, let’s meet and let’s talk.’”

“Why would you want, as president-elect of the United States, to meet with a troublemaker and a con man?” Sharpton said. “That’s who he is, and we know who he is. The question is, what are we going to do about it?”

Finally, Trump’s twitter rage has added Senator Bernie Sanders to the mix.

Screen Shot 2019-07-29 at 6.02.13 AMScreen Shot 2019-07-29 at 6.02.23 AM

So now Trump is casting himself as “the Great White Hope” of black Baltimore? Phillip Bump of The Post calls bullshit, The ‘I alone can fix it’ president wants black areas to fix themselves:

This [is], after all, the president who pledged at his party convention three years ago this month that he alone could fix the government’s problems. Since he’s been president, Trump has traveled to Maryland several times in an official capacity, but never to Baltimore.

His invocations of the city since he has been president include a mention of East Baltimore as he established “opportunity zones” in several regions — designations that could end up benefiting Kushner.

Most of the times he has mentioned Baltimore, though, have been to lump it together with other heavily black places such as Detroit and Chicago as a stand-in for “dangerous, run-down areas.” We’re spending money on wars overseas, he said, while “neglecting the fate of American children in cities like Baltimore and Chicago and Detroit.”

He uses “Baltimore” as an invocation of something bad. It is something from which people must be lifted up or against, something from which the rest of the country should be compared. It overlaps with how he uses “infest,” a term that been used by Trump on Twitter to describe only places that are mostly nonwhite or heavily Democratic.

To contrast himself with Cummings, Trump insisted on Sunday that he has done more for black Americans than have Democrats simply because the black unemployment rate has fallen.

When Trump took office, 57.5 percent of the country’s working-age black population was employed; now, 58.2 percent are. Over the prior three years, the percentage had climbed 4.2 points. The unemployment rate in the Baltimore area has dropped under Trump, from 4.5 percent to 3.8 percent. Three years before his inauguration, it was at 6.3 percent. Employment growth there has trailed the rest of the country.

On the campaign trail, Trump repeatedly conflated the concerns of black Americans with problems in the “inner city,” as though what was happening in places such as West Baltimore defined the black experience.

Trump’s disparagement of Baltimore and his insistence that its problems are Cummings’s problems and not his own reflects where Trump thinks government resources should be expended. Just as he championed a $16 billion bailout for farmers at the same time his administration was mulling a $15 billion cut to food stamps, Trump sees some parts of America as deserving of concern and others as hopelessly broken.

Struggling places such as West Virginia are victims from outside forces that must be combated, like environmentalists and drug-smuggling immigrants. Baltimore? Baltimore’s problems aren’t a function of decades of structural racism or neglect but, instead, the fault of the people who live there and represent it.

There’s a paradox that’s worth reiterating: If it’s an indictment of Cummings that Baltimore has problems, it is necessarily also an indictment of Trump. Both are in positions of political authority over it, but at least Cummings has spent time in the district.




1 COMMENT

Comments are closed.