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Expert who studied white supremacy for almost 50 years explains why racists flock to Trump’s rhetoric

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Donald Trump (Photo: via Facebook)

White supremacists have never made a secret of their affection for Donald Trump. But since his election, they’ve grown ever more emboldened, holding rallies in Washington, D.C. and even planning their own “Deploraball” to ring in the new year.

This development comes as no surprise to Chip Berlet, an investigative journalist and academic specializing in right-wing movements who recently revealed to ProPublica why Trump’s rhetoric resonates so profoundly with these hate groups.

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“The thing about coded language is that it’s heard differently by different audiences. So if you’re an angry farmer in Nebraska and someone talks about ‘international banks‘, you think Wall Street maybe. But if you’re in a white supremacist movement or wrapped up in conspiracy theories about money manipulation you think Jews.”

Bertlet, who co-authored “Right-Wing Populism: Too Close for Comfort,” hopes to put Trump’s crazed theories in historical context.

“The use of conspiratorial rhetoric and bigoted rhetoric targeting and demonizing ‘others’ is nothing new in American politics. It comes and goes in cycles that are not regular. So it’s not a pendulum. There’s no time frame.”

In Trumpland, psychology trumps reality, which helps explain how a candidate proposing one of the largest transfers of weatlh from the bottom to the top could effectively brand himself as a populist hero.

“People’s perceptions of their status are just as important as their actual status,” he argues. “If people have been pushed down the economic, social or political ladder, well, that’s real. If people feel they’ll be pushed down the ladder, that’s real, too.”

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America’s nightmare is likely only just beginning. Bertlet expects the violence of the campaign season to continue apace, even if he believes white supremacists only consitute a few thousand Americans.

“If you scapegoat a group from a high public place for long enough, it’s inevitable that some people will act out on that belief and say, ‘If they’re so evil and they’re out to destroy America, why don’t we get them before they get us.”

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GOP lawmaker in Tennessee admits to prescribing opioids to his second cousin — who was also his lover

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Tennessee state Sen. Joey Hensley (R) is under investigation by a medical review board for providing opioids to family members, one of which was his second cousin -- who also happened to be his lover, the Tennessean reports.

Hensley, an anti-LGBT ideologue who wrote his state's infamous "Don't Say Gay" bill, admits that he prescribed drugs for his relatives, but says he's the only doctor in town.

“There are not many people in the county who haven’t been to see Dr. Hensley, and she was one of them,” defense attorney David Steed said, adding, “Half of the county are Hensleys. Everyone there knows everyone. There were multiple relationships and the physician-patient relationship was only one and somewhat incidental to the others.”

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2020 Election

West Virginia voter: ‘I’ll probably vote for Donald Trump’ because ‘he keeps the people to the TV set’

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A group of West Virginia voters explained their voting choices to MSNBC on Monday.

"I don't have TV, I don't have internet," one woman said. "I'm pretty far behind. And I bet you a lot of around here are because we're poor. I don't know nothing about Joe [Biden]. I ain't never heard nothing about him at all. Donald Trump, I know a little bit about him because of the past couple of years."

"I'll probably vote for Donald Trump," Jeff Kibbey told MSNBC. "He keeps the people to the TV set."

"One, Trump is good," Francis Senter insisted. "Biden -- however you pronounce his name -- is good too. But like I say, I can't judge either one of them. It's the same community it ain't never going to change because if it was going to change it wouldn't look like this right here."

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2020 Election

White nationalist group ‘training for violence’ as Trump’s defeat grows likelier: report

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On Tuesday, BuzzFeed News reported that Patriot Front, a white supremacist group formed from the collapse of groups that participated in the Charlottesville neo-Nazi riots, is preparing for civil unrest as they believe President Donald Trump's re-election is a lost cause.

"BuzzFeed News has received a cache of hundreds of messages exchanged by Patriot Front members on Rocket.Chat, an encrypted group messaging app," reported Jane Lytvynenko. "In logs of the chats, all from this year, around 280 members of the group discuss grandiose goals — creating a white ethnostate from the existing United States. The group wants to expel immigrants, people of color, and Jews, remaking the fabric of America."

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