Sunday, August 13, 2017


President Trump won't specifically condemn white nationalist violence, a choice Jeff Greenfield finds not only morally outrageous but baffling even as an act of profound political cynicism:
... think about it: Would any halfway rational political mind think that in condemning neo-Nazis and Klansmen, you would risk losing any part of your broader base? That crowd of losers in Charlottesville was tiny—no more than a few hundred people. Is there anything more than a small fragment of Trump’s supporters who genuinely sympathize with the white hoods and swastikas?
But let's turn the question on its head: Is there anyone in Trump's base who's going to abandon him because he won't condemn the neo-Nazis?

By now I assume we've all stopped doing what we were doing in late 2015 and throughout most of 2016: We know now that when Trump says or does something deeply offensive, it's unreasonable to assume that it will ruin his political career. Insult women, slander Gold Star parents, attack John McCain for his POW years -- no problem. Everyone in the base may not share those opinions, but none of it is ever a dealbreaker. So why should Trump condemn white racial hatred when part of his base clearly shares that racial hatred (and a much larger portion of the base than Greenfield believes), while the rest of the base literally cannot be offended by anything Trump says?

I think Trump would lose support if he condemned white racism, even among supporters who don't regard themselves as racist. It's been said many times that all Trump supporters may not be racist, but they're all tolerant of racism; I'd go further and say that they may not all be racist, but they would think less of Trump if he weren't being condemned for racist and offensive remarks. They love him because he angers people they hate, and because he won't back down when we challenge him. So, yes, he would risk losing a considerable part of his broader base if he condemned white racism. To his base, that would be seen as "politically correct." They continue to support Trump precisely because he isn't "PC." Of course he's not going to run that risk.

No comments: