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.