Quantcast
Connect with us

Trump is betting on reckless approach to win in November

Published

on

- Commentary

On the Fourth of July, a day meant to celebrate American independence, Donald Trump once again focused on creating a racist spectacle. Despite concerns about spreading the coronavirus and starting wildfires, Trump insisted on having a fireworks-heavy celebration at Mount Rushmore in South Dakota, which was clearly a campaign rally no matter how much the taxpayers were bilked for it. Of course, the president’s speech was pure culture-war vitriol, complete with classic Trumpian projection, this time when he called anti-racist activists “fascists,” an extraordinary word choice that obviously better suits him.

ADVERTISEMENT

Despite the propaganda photos equating Trump with the carving of Abraham Lincoln on the mountain, his speech was once again better understood as a celebration of the Confederacy. Trump sniped at those who would “tear down our statues,” “defame our heroes” and “indoctrinate our children,” a slam clearly aimed at Black Lives Matter protesters who object to monuments celebrating white supremacy and who seek to “indoctrinate” people with the revolutionary argument that racism is wrong.

The trolling event played out as intended. The choice of Mount Rushmore, carved by a Ku Klux Klan-linked white supremacist who also carved the infamous tribute to the Confederacy on Stone Mountain in Georgia, helped drive home Trump’s campaign theme to his most overtly racist followers: White supremacy is the truest form of patriotism.

But the location, which is unfortunately a national memorial, also provided cover to those who choose to pretend liberals are just imagining all the racism. Folks like Rich Lowry at National Review eagerly provided such gaslighting, arguing that the press was being “unhinged and dishonest” in covering Trump’s speech as divisive and hateful, even though the president literally accused the left of trying “to overthrow the American Revolution.”

(That honor actually goes to the Confederacy, which Trump loves so dearly.)

It was a classic bit of red meat for the Trumpian audience, a major dose of racism along with an opportunity to get all huffy and offended at anyone who points out that racism is racist.

ADVERTISEMENT

“Trump does indeed have a re-election message, a stark and obvious one. It is ‘white power,'” Michelle Goldberg of the New York Times wrote over the weekend.

As she notes, Trump won the 2016 election on a racist message, and so he’s clinging to “what seemed to work for him before.”

But the polling data, at least right now, suggests this is a foolish path if Trump actually wishes to win in November. Polling shows that two out of three Americans support the Black Lives Matter movement. Former Vice President Joe Biden, Trump’s Democratic opponent, is leading all major polls by robust margins. Trump isn’t just watching his favorability slide across the board, but also in the battleground states he needs to win the Electoral College — since he is likely to lose the popular vote once again.

ADVERTISEMENT

Trump’s downward trajectory in the polls can’t just be chalked up to the coronavirus pandemic and the economic collapse that’s happened on his watch, though both surely play a role. (And rightly so, since both things are largely his fault.) But as David Graham at the Atlantic points out, “the driving factor for Trump’s collapse appears to be race,” as polling data clearly shows that swing voters, especially suburban women, are increasingly disgusted with his racist antics.

But Trump — who is ignorant enough to ask whether we could kill the coronavirus by injecting household cleaners into people’s bodies — has, in classic Trump fashion, simply decided that since he doesn’t like the numbers, the numbers aren’t true. The polls say Americans don’t like him being a noxious racist, but Trump has decided he knows better than the pollsters what Americans want. What they want, he clearly believes, is more racism.

ADVERTISEMENT

Last week, Axios reported that Trump has begun attacking his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, for convincing him to contemplate “woke shit,” which Trump defines as any kind of criminal justice reform, and instead has “resolved to stick to his instincts,” a very Axios-style euphemism for dialing up the racism and ignoring what the polls say.

Trump is so committed to his belief that the polls are simply wrong that he lashed out on Twitter at Fox News on Sunday for even reporting on his bad polls, encouraging his followers to switch to outlets that are even more willing than Fox News to spread misinformation.

“We are leading in the REAL polls because people are sick & tired of watching the Democrat run cities, in all cases, falling apart,” Trump declared, without saying where those “REAL” polls can even be found. (Perhaps the “REAL” polls reside in what Axios would call Trump’s “instincts.”)

ADVERTISEMENT

On Monday morning, Asawin Suebsaeng at the Daily Beast reported that some in Trump’s orbit are skeptical that “the statue shit” — Trump’s belief that he can rally voters around a message of defending statues of Confederate leaders and other racist historical figures — is really the political bonanza Trump thinks it is.

Ed Rollins, a veteran Republican consultant, told Suebsaeng that Trump might do better to “talk about jobs, jobs, and jobs” instead of running on nostalgia for the racist past. On the surface, that sounds like reasonable advice, but it’s unclear how Trump can put a positive spin on the country’s employment situation. In reality, the U.S. has at least an 11% unemployment rate — it could be much higher — and faces a widespread underemployment situation as service-economy workers find that stores and restaurants remain empty because customers are staying home amid the worsening pandemic. If Trump tries to make happy talk about “jobs,” it will only ring hollow.

Let’s say this for Donald Trump: His racism is clearly authentic and deeply felt. Along with narcissism and rage, racism is one of the few genuine feelings he appears to have.

That combination is clearly why Trump feels that the polls are wrong and he’s right about public opinion. As a pathological narcissist, he clearly struggles to imagine that other people feel differently about these issues than he does.

ADVERTISEMENT

All that said, while the polling data looks dreadful for Trump right now, Democrats can’t afford to let their guard down too much.

The widespread support for Black Lives Matter grew rapidly over a very short period of time, growing an eye-popping 28 points in a matter of two weeks. Wild polling swings like that tend not to stick around forever. A lot of white people got a shock to the system from the brutal murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis and the anguish of the protesters and endorsed Black Lives Matter in response. Over time, it’s entirely likely that many of those people will fall back on old habits of blaming Black people for their own oppression, and return to Trumpian narratives that paint white privilege as righteous and noble, instead of something to feel guilty about. Regression to the mean is a real phenomenon, after all.

Still, there’s reason to be hopeful that Trump, by dialing up the racism, is doing more to harden the anti-Trump opposition than to sway white people away from their newfound sympathy for the Black Lives Matter movement. There’s a reason that Republicans of yore who ran on the “Southern strategy” preferred their racist messages to be layered in abstraction and code words. Many people harbor racial prejudice, of course, but most strongly prefer not to think of themselves as racist. By being so up front and unapologetic about his racist views, Trump is making it harder every day for white voters to convince themselves there’s a way to support him without actually being racist. If Joe Biden reaps the benefits of this, so do the rest of us.


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

2020 Election

Trump’s latest attack on Joe Biden is stunningly delusional — even for him

Published

on

Few ever accuse President Donald Trump of subtlety. But in a new speech in Cleveland on Thursday, he let loose with a particularly wild rant against his Democratic opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden, that was over-the-top, even for him.

It’s worth just quoting in full:

He’s following the radical left agenda. Take away your guns. Destroy your Second Amendment. No religion! No anything! Hurt the Bible! Hurt God! He’s against God! He’s against guns! He’s against energy, our kind of energy. Uh, I don’t think he’s going to do too well in Ohio.

Many people pointed out that there’s much more evidence that Biden is a committed Christian than there is for Trump. But almost that seems to miss several key points about how wild this is:

Continue Reading

2020 Election

Facebook removes network of fake accounts that posed as Trump supporters

Published

on

Facebook said Thursday it took down accounts running a deceptive campaign out of Romania pretending to be Americans supporting US President Donald Trump ahead of the coming election.

The leading online social network removed 35 Facebook accounts, three pages, and 88 Instagram accounts as part of an ongoing fight against "coordinated inauthentic behavior," according to security policy head Nathaniel Gleicher.

"The people behind this network used fake accounts to pose as Americans, amplify and comment on their own content, and manage pages including some posing as President Trump fan pages," Gleicher said.

Continue Reading
 

2020 Election

Brace yourself for months of lawlessness — ‘Election Night’ likely will not end until 2021

Published

on

There’s nothing wrong with treating American politics like a sport as long as everyone involved in the competition is playing the same sport by the same rules. There’s nothing wrong as long as both sides agree the rules are legitimate, both commit to obeying them and both accept the consequences when they break them.

This article was originally published at The Editorial Board

But there is a problem with treating American politics like a sport when one side is playing soccer and the other is playing football while neither can agree to the rules, because one side won’t commit to obeying them. There is something wrong when one side not only refuses to accept the consequences of rule-breaking but sets out to undermine the idea of rules altogether. In that case, treating politics like a sport, as the Washington press corps habitually does, isn’t helpful. It’s harmful. Even dangerous.

Continue Reading
 
 
You need honest news coverage. Help us deliver it. Join Raw Story Investigates for $1. Go ad-free.
close-image