Trump's Plan to Make Racism and Xenophobia Great Again
President Trump's racist and xenophobic attack on the "Squad" of four minority Democratic Congresswomen is part of a reelection strategy to appeal to white voters who are angry or apprehensive about America's growing diversity, a part of which is driven by immigration. He seeks to delegitimize these women, to cast them as "foreign," and un-American. Adam Serwer nails it in the Atlantic. The "go back" trope is an old white nationalist device.
Atlantic: "When Trump told these women to “go back,” he was not making a factual claim about where they were born. He was stating his ideological belief that American citizenship is fundamentally racial, that only white people can truly be citizens, and that people of color, immigrants in particular, are only conditionally American. This is a cornerstone of white nationalism, and one of the president’s few closely held ideological beliefs."....
And this morning the Anti-Defamation League joined in denouncing President Trump’s tweets, noting his words were “ripped straight from a white supremacist manifesto.”
But, it took Trevor Noah to point out the proof, with a bit of humor. Would Trump tell a white guy who wanted to change things in America to go "go back" to the "country" they were from? Nope, never, of course not.
The Week, Noah: "How come he's never said anything like this to Bernie Sanders?" Noah asked. The senator from Vermont is always talking about how the United States can learn from other countries, "but Trump has never once told Bernie to go back where he comes from....."
So, What does Trump hope to gain from racist, xenophobic rants targeting the four minority Congresswomen? Three things, and there is substantial overlap between them.
First, Trump knew that Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi would step in to defend her colleagues and she responded exactly as he had hoped.
New York Times: "It is the kind of fight that the president relishes. He has told aides, in fact, that he is pleased with the Democratic reaction to his attacks, boasting that he is “marrying” the House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic Party to the four congresswomen known as “the Squad.”
He will work throughout the election to make the "Squad" the "face" of the Democratic Party no matter who they nominate for President. He has seen polling data that shows that they are unpopular with the "swing voters," whites without a college education, that he must have to win reelection.
Washington Post: “Trump is proposing a giant swap: Republicans can no longer count on suburban women and we will continue to lose college-educated men and women, while we increasingly pick up working white Americans without college degrees,” said Ari Fleischer, who was a White House press secretary for President George W. Bush and who has spoken with Trump campaign advisers about their strategy for increasing turnout."
Second, Trump is going to frame the election, even more so than in 2016, as "us vs. them." Like Richard Nixon in 1972, Trump wants to wrap himself in the flag [ie. the 4th of July Celebration] and portray his opponents and their policies as "un-American" rather than just liberal or progressive. And, he believes that attack is much easier to make on minority women than it is on Nancy Pelosi, Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren.
New York Times: "The strategy is reminiscent of how President Richard M. Nixon and the Republican Party tried to frame their fight with Democrats during the 1972 elections around questions of patriotism and loyalty. Nixon supporters took to using the slogan “America: Love It or Leave It” to cast the Democrats and the growing opposition to the Vietnam War as anti-American — not merely anti-Nixon or anti-Republican."
Expect to hear "love it or leave it chants" at Trump rallies whenever he brings up the "Squad."
Third, like 2016, Trump is going to make 2020 about "white identity politics" and the President sees the rise of the four minority congresswomen within the Democratic Party as a gift to his reelection campaign. To him the "Squad" represents both race and immigration wrapped up in one, and he will use them throughout the campaign as short-hand for those fears among his supporters. Because of their color and their back-stories, he believes he can successfully brand them as the "other," not white, not real Americans, foreign.
And, as usual, Kellyanne Conway understands Trump's strategy better than anyone else in the administration. She tried to capture in all within just one quote yesterday.
New York Times: “Forget these four,” said Kellyanne Conway, the counselor to the president, in an interview with Fox News on Tuesday. “They represent a dark underbelly of people in this country,” she added. “We are sick and tired of people denigrating that American flag, the American military, veterans and America.”
"Dark underbelly?" Really? That's why Kellyanne will remain Trump's favorite.
By: Don Lam & Curated Content