Trump, emboldened delusional racist whites, and harsh reality
Salon has two separate looks at Trump and his racist white nationalist supporters this Sunday. The first takes a look at the false “victimhood” narrative:
The right sees its political opposition as #triggered snowflakes who need a “safe space.” In the words of Trump’s chief strategist Stephen Bannon, “They’re either a victim of race. They’re victim of their sexual preference. They’re a victim of gender. All about victimhood and the United States is the great oppressor, not the great liberator.”
While Donald Trump and his ilk claim that victimhood is exclusive to the coastal, “politically correct” elite, I find that feelings of victimhood are central to Trump’s appeal. Trump supporters believe that whites and Christians face discrimination while people of color reap the benefits of government largess. Far from being concerned about “facts, not feelings,” Trump supporters and the conservative movement have created a false narrative of victimhood that motivates their supporters.
The author, Sean McElwee, crunches a ton of numbers and reaches this conclusion:
To paraphrase a popular idiom, when you’re accustomed to privilege, equality feels like discrimination. These data suggest that this feeling of loss and victimization, and the need for racial solidarity to protect what remains, is core to understanding Trump’s appeal. As I’ve noted before, beliefs in the importance of white racial solidarity are powerful predictors of Trump support. Whites who believe their race is “very important” to their identity had warmer feelings toward Trump. Trump’s rhetoric reflects this reality: He has described a world in which his white supporters are the victims of bad trade deals, elites and rampant crime. They feel they are living through rapid demographic change that will leave them as a minority of the population — and they know how minorities have been treated for so long in American populations.
And that fantasy is deftly sliced and diced by Chauncey de Vega, who explains why it can’t stand:
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Through discriminatory immigration policies; government subsidies that created the white middle class and were denied to black Americans and other people of color; de jure and de facto white supremacy; racial discrimination in housing, banking, and the labor market; white racist pogroms and ethnic cleansing; racist terror inflicted by the police, other law enforcement and paramilitary groups such as the Ku Klux Klan; eliminationist policies and land theft toward First Nations people; and a founding document that dictated that black people were human property, America has been a white republic for most of its history.
In his role as the white nationalist in chief of the United States, Donald Trump wants to make clear that America is a white man’s country and that everyone else permitted to live here is just a guest, permanently “on notice.” This is revanchism of the worst kind, and a desperate effort to turn back the clock to the wrong side of history.
Donald Trump and his minions will soon discover that black and brown people built America. Indeed, many of them were in the United States long before “white” Europeans arrived and tried to claim it exclusively as their own. The United States is a mulatto society, not a white nation. In many ways, black and brown people are the quintessential Americans. Whatever Trump may say or do, they are not going anywhere.
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