Trump’s message is still 'white power': NYT's Michelle Goldberg
President Donald J. Trump offers a fist pump to awaiting supporters as he disembarks Air Force One Saturday, Dec. 14 2019, at Philadelphia International Airport to attend the 120th Army-Navy football game, official White House photo by Joyce N. Boghosian

With so many polls showing President Donald Trump trailing former Vice President Joe Biden, some conservative pundits have been asserting that he needs a stronger message. But liberal New York Times columnist Michelle Goldberg argues that Trump still has a consistent message: racism.


“Trump does indeed have a reelection message, a stark and obvious one," writes Goldberg, a frequent guest on MSNBC. “It is ‘white power.’”

Racism, Goldberg stresses, is something that Trump inevitably turns to when he wants to rally his base.

“Some commentators spent the first year or two of his presidency dancing around the reason he was elected, spending so much time probing the ‘economic anxiety’ of his base that the phrase came to stand for a type of willful political blindness,” Goldberg asserts. “But Trump understands that he became a significant political figure by spreading the racist lie that Barack Obama was really born in Kenya. He launched his history-making presidential bid with a speech calling Mexican immigrants rapists.”

Goldberg cites various examples of Trump resorting to racism during his reelection campaign — for example, a vow to protect Confederate monuments, names and images.

The columnist explains: “At a time when even Mississippi is removing Confederate imagery from its state flag, Trump has thrown himself into the protection of what he calls ‘our heritage’…. He said he’d veto a $741 billion defense bill over a provision, written by Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, requiring that military bases honoring Confederates be renamed. Apoplectic over New York City’s plans to paint the words ‘Black Lives Matter’ on Fifth Avenue in front of Trump Tower, he called the slogan ‘a symbol of hate.’”

On top of those things, Goldberg notes, Trump has “made a point of calling the coronavirus the ‘kung flu’” and recently tweeted a video of one of his supporters yelling, “White power!”

“Republicans who complain that the president is undisciplined, that he can’t adhere to a strategy, miss the point: bigotry has always been the strategy,” Goldberg stresses. “The Republicans who support him are yoked to that strategy. Their real frustration isn’t that it’s ugly, but that it’s no longer working.”