Thanksgiving week began with two national polls showing Donald Trump holding a double digit lead over his nearest Republican opponent. The two polls demonstrated the incredible resiliency of Trump’s campaign. With each outlandish statement Trump makes on the campaign trail, pundits predict his political demise, only to find Trump holding steady or gaining strength after each supposed gaffe.
What beltway pundits have not seemed to grasp yet, is that Trump’s racist slip ups and his verbal tirades are not a bug, but rather a feature of his campaign. Donald Trump is running as a white nationalist, and his campaign appeals to racists, bigots, xenophobes and insecure white voters who are growing uneasy with an increasingly multicultural America.
Since Trump is a major party candidate, the media has been overly cautious in avoiding labeling Trump a racist, but his campaign has not been cautious about demonstrating that Trump is in fact, a racist. Trump’s blatant racism was on full display on Sunday when he tweeted bogus crime statistics from a neo-Nazi twitter user, falsely claiming that 81 percent of white murder victims are killed by black perpetrators. The real percentage is 15 percent. The vast majority of white murder victims (82 percent) are killed by other white people.
While Trump’s tweet elicited some shocked outrage, his racism has been on display throughout his entire campaign. So far, it is serving him well politically. He kicked off his campaign by accusing Mexican immigrants of being rapists and criminals, and he has called for revisiting Dwight Eisenhower’s “Operation wetback” to deport undocumented immigrants.
Furthermore, Trump has lied about witnessing New Jersey Muslims celebrating the fall of the twin towers on 9-11, using that malicious propaganda to malign Muslim-Americans. In addition to drumming up anti-Islamic and anti-Arab hysteria through lies, Trump has also called for tracking Muslims in America through a national database. He has also suggesting shutting down American mosques.
At a recent Trump event, a “black lives matter” protester was assaulted by several Trump supporters. Violence against “black lives matter” demonstrators has also spilled fresh blood on America’s streets, with anti-black assailants apparently opening fire on protesters in Minneapolis.
Trump’s presidential campaign has been dominated by ugly racist rhetoric and a slew of lies that promote a white supremacist agenda. Republican leaders should denounce Trump unequivocally, but many of them are silent or timid in their criticisms of Trump, because he is resonating with the Republican base. Republican voters may reject the notion that they are white nationalists, but as long as Donald Trump is leading the race while running an explicitly racist and xenophobic campaign, their claims to being anything other than white nationalists will ring hollow.