MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
Okay, Donald Trump is a brash, brazen, bumptious, sexist billionaire who appeals to a bilious, bigoted segment of the US population. Some argue his followers love Trumpism because Trump himself blares out loud the thoughts rattling inside their own heads. Trump, according to this theory, allows the haters who might ordinarily feel inhibited about expressing their intolerance to blatantly bask in feelings of white superiority.
This is coded into Trump's now-iconic campaign slogan that simply says: "Make America Great Again." What a loaded four words those are. Ever since Obama's election, this expression - or variations of it - have been the rallying cry for making America "white again." After all, many Republicans still don't believe Obama was born in the United States. (The "birther" movement was essentially about denying a Black man residence in the White House.) This is the context in which Trumpism and the "Make America Great [White] Again" appeal has spread like wildfire among whites who feel that the United States should be a nation of white governance and privilege.
A September 1 Salon article confirmed the nativist, vile racist support for Trump:
By a significant majority, Trump’s supporters consist of the relatives you’ve been forced to block on Facebook because you’d finally seen enough pictures of President Barack Obama’s face superimposed onto the body of a chimpanzee or suicide bomber. Public Policy Polling’s latest national poll found that 66 percent of Trump’s supporters believe Obama is a Muslim, compared to only 12 percent who believe he’s Christian. (How soon they forget Jeremiah Wright!)
Sixty-one percent of Trump supporters aren’t convinced that the president was born in the United States, which isn’t surprising, given that just last month Trump rekindled his status as one of the "birther" movement’s most prominent advocates, saying that he still doesn’t understand “why [Obama] wouldn’t release his records.”
Needless to say, the statement that rocketed Trump to an outer orbit of brash racism was his contention that Mexican migrants are "bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists."
A July 8th Washington Post article firmly debunked Trump's incendiary charge:
Data on immigrants and crime are incomplete, but a range of studies show there is no evidence immigrants commit more crimes than native-born Americans. In fact, first-generation immigrants are predisposed to lower crime rates than native-born Americans....
Immigration and crime levels have had inverse trajectories since the 1990s: immigration has increased, while crime has decreased. Some experts say the influx of immigrants contributed to the decrease in crime rates, by increasing the denominator while not adding significantly to the numerator.
Trump is engaging in the most base and sordid form of racist appeal - and it is working to attract and energize bigoted whites, closeted or otherwise. There's a reason David Duke called Trump "the best of the lot."
The "Make America Great Again" slogan makes people like Sarah Palin, who admires Trump, feel right at home. That is because the return to a mythical era of US "greatness" is really a coded desire for the nostalgic image of a majority-white, white-dominated, white-ruled society. It is a thinly veiled statement that roundly rejects a robust democracy that embraces diversity. It is an appeal to make the US resemble the so-called "founding fathers": in general, white, male, propertied and wealthy.
A Washington Post columnist glommed onto an interesting finding in a recent Iowa poll this week:
Witness a poll question buried deep in the new Des Moines Register/Bloomberg Politics poll of Iowa voters. Here's how the question reads: "Do you want to be clear about specific policies [NAME OF FIRST CHOICE CANDIDATE] would address if elected or do you trust [HIM/HER] to figure it out once [S/HE] is in office?"
Just 41 percent of likely Republican Iowa caucus-goers said they wanted their preferred candidate to "be clear about specific policies" while almost six in 10 (57 percent) said they would simply trust him or her to figure it all out once they got into office.
What these numbers prove -- not for the first time in this election -- is that Donald Trump has a remarkably refined understanding of the Republican electorate. "Well, I think the press is more eager to see it than the voters, to be honest," Trump said earlier this month in Iowa when asked when he might release a detailed immigration plan. "I think the voters like me, they understand me, they know I'm going to do the job. ... I think they trust me. I think they know I'm going to make good deals for them."
What Trump's avid supporters trust is that he is the candidate who signals loudly and clearly that he is in favor of white rule and white privilege - and he doesn't need a policy written out to affirm that.
Trump's followers believe that it will take a brash billionaire to get the job of "restoring" white power done. Just ask David Duke and the other white supremacists who support Trumpism.
Not to be reposted without the permission of Truthout.