American Culture

Slate wonders if Trump is succeeding because of racism. Well duh.

Racism is the single most defining political issue in the history of America, after all.

Donald TrumpJamelle Bouie, Slate’s chief political correspondent, has penned an analysis of the role racism plays in the success of the Donald Trump campaign – and just in time, as the latest CNN poll shows Trump surging to a 21 percentage point lead over his closest competition (39% to Ted Cruz’s 18%).

Nothing wrong with analyses of voter racism. Nothing at all. But, check the subhed:

What if Trump is winning because of his racism and bigotry, not despite it?

Ummm. I mean, isn’t this sort of like asking if you’re a little warm because the house is on fire? I’m not being snarky here. Seriously, is there anybody out there for whom this isn’t about the most obvious observation of the whole election season?

Sam Smith, the guy who publishes this rag, gave us a foreshadowing of what was to come way back in campaign 2008.

Make no mistake, in the coming months you’re going to see the ugliest artillery that our nation’s drooling, inbred hatemongers have at their disposal. The looming prospect of a nigra in the White House is going to bring the vermin out of the woodwork, out from under their rocks and out into the light. It’s going to incite the well-heeled country club elite to crank up the meme machine with every sort of subtle, codemongering dogwhistle it can manufacture. The truly ignorant and hateful are going to be liquored up on rhetorical bile of the lowest sort and those who live further up the social ladder are going to be provided with a variety of messages that let them vote white without having to admit to themselves that they’re fundamentally just like the snuff-suckers in the trailer park across the tracks.

This is a good thing. Let me say that again: this is a good thing.

Of course, what was being described wasn’t just about a few months. Obama’s election was the beginning, not the end. The post continues, outlining the shape of the cultural battle to come.

Ignorance breeds in the dark recesses of a culture. It thrives when it’s allowed to grow and fester free of scrutiny. But when you throw harsh light on it, when you force it to stand and face the reality that educated, enlightened, progressive people aren’t afraid of it, that they relish the opportunity to face off, to take a stand on their principles, well, that’s a little different story.

No, you can’t intimidate ignorance into some kind of magical, After School Special transformation just by standing up to it, because you don’t stamp racism out overnight. But that’s precisely the approach that ensures eventual victory. We will not tolerate your ignorance. We will not be intimidated by your threats.

We will not fear your mask. Because what we believe in doesn’t need to hide.

Frankenstein’s monster looked Victor in the eye and told him: “I shall be with you on your wedding-night.” Donald Trump is that monster, and he was spawned by four decades of GOP-engineered movement conservatism. When you get right down to it, racism has been the single most defining political issue in the history of America. It began with slavery and with the intransigent refusal of Southern states (notably South Carolina) to join the Union unless slavery were legal, and proceeded through the Civil War, through Jim Crow and the Civil Rights movement, and the current incarnation is Donald Trump, a sort of George Wallace/Lester Maddox/Jesse Helms type without all the charisma, grooming and social grace.

The modern Republican Party laid the foundation for the movement conservative revolution in the 1960s and 1970s by funding “intellectuals” and “think tanks” and the result was a grand strategy for focusing centuries of diffused ignorance, hatred and prejudice into a tight laser of white-hot activism. That the health of the Republican Party is now threatened by the monster it created is wonderfully ironic. Mr. Hoist, meet Ms. Petard.

Donald Trump didn’t invent racism and we won’t be free of it once he’s gone. But of course his success is because of racism, not despite it. That’s the whole freakin’ butt-obvious point.

And as Sam wrote in 2008, this is a good thing. It’s very hard to defeat an enemy who’s allowed to hide and shoot from cover.

In this election campaign, let’s invite the Klan and its fellow hate groups out into the light. Let’s get their hoods off of them. Let’s show all their videos. Let’s make sure that everybody gets to read their brochures and visit their Web sites. Let’s hand the microphone to their most eloquent speakers and stand aside. Let’s get them front and center and make sure America sees, in all its slack-jawed, toothless glory, precisely what racism looks like.

Donald Trump is what racism looks like and he’s important to our battle against bigotry and ignorance. And as ugly as the next few months are going to be, every time he opens his mouth we win another battle.

5 replies »

  1. If democrats and their reliable news sources would stop lending gravitas to that miscreant by providing him with 24/7 news and social media coverage he would dry up and blow away. Seriously, no moderate republican or independent is going to vote for that fool.

    Also, speaking of oneself in the 3rd person is a distinct warning sign of mental infirmity. I realize you’re utilizing it as an artistic device here Sparklesmith but still, it’s something to keep an eye on.

    • First off, Sam has no idea what you’re talking about.

      Now, to this:

      If democrats and their reliable news sources would stop lending gravitas to that miscreant by providing him with 24/7 news and social media coverage he would dry up and blow away.

      1: Yes, the media needs to stop doing what they’re doing.

      2: However, he IS the frontrunner. What would you say about a news organization that pretended the GOP frontrunner didn’t exist?

      3: The news sources you’re talking about are corporate and ownership is very, very Republican.

      Seriously, no moderate republican or independent is going to vote for that fool.

      Probably true. He’d take the nutbag fringe, which is larger than we’d like, and he’d take a lot of more “serious” voters who have allowed themselves to believe that any Dem is the devil. Now, most Dems ARE the devil, including the presumptive nominee, but voting for Trump is the answer the same way that sawing your dick off is a cure for tennis elbow.

    • One of the most surprising whackings I have seen on him came, oddly enough, came from NBC. I have to admit, I was stunned to see them whip out “vulgar” and use it in the headline. Yeah, a lot of the hellraising comes from the places you cite (although HuffPo is liberal in its brand only, not in the actuality of the place). But none of them are agenda setters. If they were, Bernie would be up by 40 points.

  2. “How America’s dying white supremacist movement is seizing on Donald Trump’s appeal”

    That’s some good reporting on how the KKK is cozying up to him. Trump doesn’t strongly disavow them either. Kind of reminds me of that great The Simpson’s jab at Fox News “Not Racist; But #1 With Racists” (

    I’m not worried about Trump and the resurgence of Know-Nothing-ness. If he makes the ballot, it will be the biggest get-out-the-vote drive this country’s ever seen for moderates and the Left. And it will flush out the bigots throughout the country.

    The real fun will be seeing what will the GOP do if he gets nominated. Will the more rational leaders pretend to rally around him? Will they continue to disavow his more outrageous comments? Will there be a sharp split in the party? Will many Americans vote for him as a protest vote since they are so sick of ‘politics as usual’?

    My bet is that it is going to be Rubio v. Clinton. If it is anyone else, it will be a blowout and she will have some pretty big coattails to fill in some congressional seats.

    Hey, I’m going to make a bowl of popcorn. Anyone want some?