There has been a lot of conversation in the media about “white non-college educated economic anxiety” being the motivating factor for Trump support, but after Charlottesville, the press can no longer deny that racism is the real motivator of many Trump supporters.
The white supremacists were chanting hail Trump in Charlottesville:
— Antonio French (@AntonioFrench) August 12, 2017
Trump’s own comments trying to negate the actions of his white supremacist supporters only confirmed what was obvious to anyone with a pair of eyes.
Instead of standing up against racism and bigotry, Trump said, “But we’re closely following the terrible events unfolding in Charlottesville, Virginia. We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry, and violence, on many sides. On many sides. It’s been going on for a long time in our country. Not Donald Trump, not Barack Obama. This has been going on for a long, long time.”
The President’s comments were the ultimate dog whistle to the racists, who could immediately point to his both sides do it rhetoric as a wink of approval. It can also be viewed as Trump suggesting that the racists were defending themselves from violence caused by the left. The President frequently used that excuse on the campaign trail as a candidate, and it was taken by his supporters to mean that he is fine with violence in his name.
The idea that economic anxiety was the primary motivator of Trump support was always a form of press Trump enablement. Not all Trump supporters are racists and white supremacists, but some of the most vocal and at least three members of his West Wing staff are.
It is time for the press to stop pretending and deal with the reality that a significant amount of Trump support is fueled by racism.
Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association