Sunday, July 31, 2016

Attacking Trump’s Racism Is Not Enough

Last week’s pep rally was a big success. It showed that the Democrats are fundamentally decent people who won’t blow up the world or throw Muslims into concentration camps, and they did a fine job highlighting the contrast between themselves and the bigoted cave trolls in the Republican party. This is a good thing and Hillary’s surrogates should continue to do it.

But we already knew all of this. We already knew that Democrats aren’t racist and won’t mock the disabled. We already knew they’re nicer people, listen to better music and are more fun to be around than Republicans. And we already knew that Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine are, in contradistinction to Donald Trump, sane, level-headed professionals who won’t rock the boat and spook the markets. Believe me, we know this. We know this all too well. It is as familiar to us as that first stabbing pain in the bowel that unmistakably signals an attack of diarrhea. But it won’t be enough.

“We’re nice people and Donald Trump is an evil racist” just won’t get the job done.  After the warm and fuzzies from last week’s multicultural love fest wear off, we’re left with the unsettling fact that Republicans control Congress and a majority of state houses, and they’ll probably continue to do so after the election. The ugly truth is that the racist, xenophobic, fear-mongering, Bible-thumping, modernity-hating, knuckle-dragging troglodytes who goose step in Trump’s torchlight parades are, as far as the election goes, half the country. Demonizing Trump while offering nothing but business-as-usual is a woefully deficient strategy.

Frank Bruni discusses this problem today, and mentions some interesting poll results:
In a Gallup poll two weeks ago, just 17 percent of respondents said that the country was on the right track, while 82 percent said it was on the wrong track. In an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shortly before that, the corresponding figures were 18 percent and 73 percent.
A poll is a poll is a poll, it’s true, but I think these results accurately reflect the mood of the country. Things are not good and they’re going to get worse. I bring this up, yet again, because it’s exactly the kind of thing that the smug neoliberals in Hillary’s pampered inner circle will completely misunderstand or ignore. They’ll view it as a mere messaging problem and combat it with spin, double-talk, and statistics. They won’t acknowledge the reality of the problem or address it in a substantive way.

My hunch is that there are a lot of closet Trump supporters out there, a lot. I think there are a great many people who won’t admit in polite society that they support him but will, in the secrecy of the voting booth, pull the lever for him just to shout “Fuck you” to an establishment that is so corrupt, so unresponsive, so utterly worm-eaten and foul, that they’re willing to watch Trump dynamite it all to hell regardless of the consequences. These people aren’t going to be reached by calling Trump a racist meanie.

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