In The End, This Probably Won’t Hurt Trump

Here’s what I know for certain: Republicans always come home. So I doubt Trump’s statements will lose him much support where it counts – in the voting booth.

And while many people were outraged by Trump’s statements, there will be quite a few people who agree. Oh, they’ll water it down so they can swallow, but they will swallow. After watching Trump’s racist speech I made myself watch it again. As someone intimately acquainted with white people, I knew what I’d soon be hearing – and not only from those on the right. Here was Trump’s message:

1. Both sides were wrong.

White voters always agree with this. It’s a really comfortable stance and employing it takes many uncomfortable topics off the table. We see this time and time again when it comes to police shootings. “What was 12 year old Tamir Rice doing with a toy gun?”,Why did Trayvon Martin run away from a complete stranger with zero authority?”,  “I’d never kill/hurt anyone, but those black/brown people, women, gay, Jews, Muslims are really pushing it and I understand why people are tired of it.”

Do not underestimate this sentiment. It’s strong among many, many white voters (even progressives). Take a look at any comment section on racism, women’s issues, LGBTQ issues, Muslims, Jews, etc.. The pull is strong, and one, I’ll admit, I underestimated even though I lived through these comments. Shame on me for ignoring that and their numbers.

2. Not all white supremacists protestors were bad. There were good Nazis people there.

This is a biggie. Have you ever tried to talk to white people about race? It’s beyond painful. It’s impossible. Some of the most racist statements follow the words, “I’m not racist, but…” What Trump did here is the same thing he did with the “deplorable” comment. He made people who aren’t Nazis, yet share some of their beliefs about race, religion, LGBTQ people and women, relate. He basically said, “If you feel any resentment towards these groups, the counter-protestors say you’re Nazis!”

3. Violence was on both sides – equally. Or, the Stand Your Ground defense

Trump knew exactly what to do and he did it. First, he lied and painted the torch wielding protest the night before as peaceful and quiet. That painted the white supremacists as victims. See? Everything was fine until the counter-protestors showed up and instigated the Nazis nice, peaceful people.

We are now seeing this defense on FOX, from conservatives and from the Nazis. The guy that drove that car into the counter-protestors was fleeing the counter-protestors (fear for his life) and that’s why the “accident” happened. The Nazi in the Vice video who said he was fine with Heather Heyer dying and that more people would die, now has a video up of him crying, because the police may have a warrant out for him, is putting on an act. He cites that he was standing his ground against violent counter-protestors. Watch this message take hold of white America – “Of course, Nazis are awful, but both sides were violent. Everything would have stayed calm and peaceful had the counter-protestors not shown up.”

So, my guess is that this uproar, too, will fade. Sure, people will condemn white supremacists, Nazis, KKK – that’s easy! – what they won’t do is condemn a lot of their views. They’ll simply repackage them, soften them and then act surprised when other people question their “reasonable” stance. Make no mistake. Trump’s racist message resonated with its intended audience.



9 comments on “In The End, This Probably Won’t Hurt Trump

  1. Excellent article. Very well written, and quite informative to an old white gay man like myself

  2. Sad agreement, polls find agreement with Trump from Republicans in the mid 70’s and up. Steve Bannon, rotting pile of flesh or not, noted that the Dems “would be crushed” if they ran on race and I agree. But once again the nation gets a good drubbing in the eyes of the world with more to come with eight other planned rallies coming. Do we sit home and say or do nothing? Sorry, I think not. Battles must be fought, and not ignored.

  3. As usual, I disagree, and as usual you offer scant support for your predictions.

    Perhaps you have noticed that these people don’t like being called racists. The “repackaging” is going to have to involve dropping Trump, because they cannot stand in the face of this. And I’m not talking about his minions, but about Republicans office-holders.

    As I have maintained from the beginning, at some point they will realize that their heads are below water, and at that point they will move away from Trump.

    None of this will be pretty, and it will get much worse than this before it gets better, but your notion that “this won’t hurt him” is already inaccurate. You cannot distinguish, apparently, the approval of his core from the soft support of many of his other voters.

    • First, I said “probably”. Second, Trump has already been losing support, except for his hard core base – which he will need and use. And it seems you’re underestimating the power and the pull of white grievances.

      • I understand their power and pull. I question their numbers, and, given the whiny responses from the Nazis after Charlottesville, their ability to motivate anyone to join them — or even to keep others from fleeing them.

        The backlash is going to outperform the original offense; in many ways it already has. Just as the election of Obama spawned an outsized backlash that led to Trump, I think the backlash from this is going to lead people away from him, and white nationalism generally. It’s ugly, and only the hardcore racists want to be associated with it.

        • I hope you’re right, but I fear you’re not. Soft racism has a big role in this.

          • In my experience, soft racism is built on “it doesn’t affect me.” The silver lining of Charlottesville is that it forces people like that to choose a side.

  4. As evidence of my point, it has already led to the departure of Steve Bannon.

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