Donald Trump is white America’s harvest, and yet no one seems to remember when the seeds were planted and who planted them. What a crop to behold.
Donald Trump did very well on Super Tuesday, as he continues to confound those political pundits and strategists who believed the Republican candidate would enjoy his short-lived reality show and fade into the distance. But that has not happened. Not only will Trump not go away, he is gaining and leading the field, proving that so many people underestimated the depths of hate that exists in America, from all corners in this country.
This time, the prognosticators got it all wrong, because race was not built into their analysis. As Hadas Gold reported in Politico, the Nate Silvers and Chris Cillizzas, the columnists, experts and other media people who many turn to for their astute predictions all concluded that Trump would not survive. Many still in denial, they must contend with the reality that Trump will likely become the Republican nominee.
“Now all these journalists, and more, are coming to grips with their mistaken assessments. And some, too, are freaking out,” wrote Gold. “The fact that so many of us, all of us, were wrong in predicting anywhere near the extent of his success so far, may be partly due to the fact we didn’t want to believe those currents could be appealed to so well and so deeply and successfully,” said David Remnick, editor of The New Yorker, to Gold.
Remnick said the Trump phenomenon is “beyond belief,” reflecting an “ugliness” that appeals to “every worst instinct” in America.
To be sure, those who pride themselves on getting it right have to admit they had no clue, as they now point to a sea change and political realignment in America.
Joe Biden had some enlightening words for Trump during a #BlackLivesMatter event at his residence.
“I want to thank Donald Trump…” the Vice President said, as Mediaite reported, with the crowd responding with laughter. “Guess what? The stuff he’s doing, and others, including Cruz and others. He’s making the American people look in the mirror. And the American people are honest. And they look in the mirror and see what’s looking back at them.
“Maybe the divisiveness, particularly with the other team right now, maybe it’s a good thing, to awaken the American people about the subtle and not so subtle deals going on,” Biden added.
The Donald Trump phenomenon is proof that racism is not limited to the South, nor to a few Klansmen wearing white sheets, though even the Klan supports this man. And yet, in a nation in denial about white supremacy, racism is viewed as a thing of the past in this so-called post-racial Obama era, even as it is in full view and just as strong as ever.
On CNN, Van Jones — who is African-American — and Jeffrey Lord — a white Trump defender — had a spirited exchange on Super Tuesday night.
“There is a dark underside here,” Jones said. “He is whipping up and tapping into and pushing buttons that are very, very frightening to me and frightening to a lot of people.”
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“I know this man, when he gets passionate about terrorism,” Jones said about Trump. “I know how he talks about terrorism. The Klan is a terrorist organization,” he added, saying, “No, you need to take a serious look at the fact that this man is playing fast and loose …When you talk about terrorism, he gets passionate. He says, ‘No, this is wrong.’ But when you talk about the Klan, ‘Oh, I don’t know, I don’t know.’ ”
“Reverend Wright is an anti-Semite,” Lord said.
“Reverend Wright never lynched anybody!” Jones responded.
“… Reverend Wright never put anybody on a post. And you guys play these word games, and it’s wrong to do in America. It is wrong to do!”
“What you’re doing here is dividing people,” Lord said. “We’re all Americans here, Van. You are dividing people. This is what liberals do. You are dividing people by race. This is what liberalism is all about.”
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) March 2, 2016
Meanwhile, the GOP leadership, faced with the prospect of an openly white supremacist nominee, must decide whether to embrace him or kick him to the curb. Past experience suggests they will bet on Trump. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) condemned Trump, but it remains to be seen if they will support the man — who proposes a Muslim travel ban and a wall to keep out Latinos — should he become the GOP standard bearer. Sen. Mike Rounds (R-SD) told a reporter that even with his comments about the KKK, Trump is a better choice than the Democrats:
Even if you’re disappointed with the way he’s responding to things, even if you’re mad at him, you disagree with him, if he did it intentionally — I don’t think he did, I think he just made a mistake — even if he did, they’re still going to do a better job with him there than if you had Hillary or Bernie in his place.
Ultimately, white Republicans in particular, and white America in general, must own up to Trump as the experiment they created. Yet, white conservatives surely will find a way to blame President Obama for all of this, for his so-called “failed policies” or “failed leadership” — which is code for the N-word, in an America where the first Black president is deemed illegitimate to many whites. And we know this.
Yet, the newly crowned leader of white nationalism is a man who has no political or policy experience. He was born wealthy, yet is praised for being a self-made man. And his foray into politics came through a sham of a presidential run in 2000 under the Reform Party, and later by making “birther” claims that Obama is a foreigner not born in this country.
But let us not forget the ways in which Trump stirred the pot back in 1989, immediately following the Central Park jogger attack, when he took out a full-page ad in four major New York newspapers calling for a return to the death penalty: “BRING BACK THE DEATH PENALTY! BRING BACK THE POLICE!”
Five suspects — Black and Latino teens — had already been arrested for raping and attacking a white woman, and subsequently were wrongfully convicted and imprisoned for someone else’s crime. But the damage had been done, and Trump is creating more damage today on a wider scale. But he has his enablers, this time the white electorate. This is the man who would become the symbol of American excellence.