A Few Thoughtful Conservatives Condemn Trump's Racist Campaign Strategy
There are some conservatives who understand the harm that President Trump is doing with the racist "us or them" campaign strategy he unleashed over the weekend. It will win him votes with bigots and those uncomfortable with a increasingly diverse America, but it threatens to fracture the country along racial and cultural lines. Trump is willing to reopen these old wounds to mobilize his base for the upcoming election whatever the long-term consequences. Conservative columnist Max Boot captures the President's strategy well:
Boot, Washington Post: "Trump is a bigot and doesn’t even bother to hide it. In fact — and this is the truly appalling part — he parades his bigotry in the expectation that it will win him votes. And — what is even worse — he may well be right. Such appeals to prejudice might be exactly what Trump needs to mobilize some blue-collar, white voters in swing states such as Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and Florida who haven’t seen any economic benefit from his tax cuts, much less his trade wars. Trump can’t reopen steel mills or coal mines — but he can stigmatize people of color and win the votes of bigots. I wish that weren’t the case, but I fear that it is."
And, the consequences of Trump's "us or them" strategy will damage our nation, undermining the efforts of President Obama and so many others who have worked to heal the racial divide in America.
Conservative Icon George Will via CNN from a New York Times Book Review podcast : "I believe that what this president has done to our culture, to our civic discourse ... you cannot unring these bells and you cannot unsay what he has said, and you cannot change that he has now in a very short time made it seem normal for schoolboy taunts and obvious lies to be spun out in a constant stream. I think this will do more lasting damage than Richard Nixon's surreptitious burglaries did."
And Trump understands that if the 2020 election becomes about his foreign policy failures or domestic issues like health care or the environment he will lose... badly. So, he has returned to his 2016 strategy, firing up the crazies, to paraphrase former Sen. John McCain.
Conservative talk show host Charlie Sykes, The Bulwark: "There’s no point in debating whether his tweets were racist because… of course they were… raw and undiluted even by Trumpian standards. He no longer needs to rely on dog whistles; his latest tweets are bullhorns."
"And they will likely have the intended effect."
"As loath as I am to attribute Trump’s impulses to deep strategy, the latest attack reflects his reptilian cunning when it comes to playing the race card. His cynicism has no bottom because so far, it has worked for him, from birtherism to Mexican rapists to Muslim bans to the “very fine people” in Charlottesville."
In November of 2020, voters will get a chance to signal that simple-minded xenophobia and racism have no place in American politics in the 21st century. We are cautiously optimistic.
By Don Lam & Curated Content
Photo credit: Gage Skidmore