Skip to main content

On the KKK, Trump Borrows from the Republican Playbook

Let's first of all admit one thing: When it comes to David Duke and the Klan, Republicans have generally been pretty good about the repudiation thing. Republicans have long been very good about being against undeniably explicit, overt, no-doubt-about it racism.

Still, I can't help but hear about this:
CNN anchor Jake Tapper repeatedly asked Donald Trump on Sunday to denounce David Duke's support for his candidacy, but Trump insisted he didn't know anything about the former KKK grand wizard. 
"Even if you don't know about their endorsement, there are these groups and individuals endorsing you. Would you just say unequivocally that you condemn them and you don't want their support?" he asked Trump. 
But Trump again insisted again he didn't know about Duke: 
I have to look at the group. I mean, I don't know what group you're talking about. You wouldn't want me to condemn a group that I know nothing about. I have to look. If you would send me a list of the groups, I will do research on them. And certainly I would disavow if I thought there was something wrong.
And I can't help but think about this:
It is true that Republican leaders have previously steered clear of endorsing Birtherism. But they have also steered clear of denouncing it. Pressed to denounce Birtherism, Republicans have evaded it. (Eric Cantor: “I don't think it's an issue that we need to address at all. … I don't think it's nice to call anyone crazy.” John Boehner: “It’s not my job to tell the American people what to think. Our job in Washington is to listen to the American people.”) They danced delicately around the question because Birthers constitute an important segment of the Republican coalition they could not afford to alienate. The same logic drove Mitt Romney to publicly solicit and accept Trump’s endorsement four years ago, an event that prompted little complaint from conservative intellectuals.
In both cases, the play is the same: Ignore the obvious racism of your constituency by pleading ignorance of a sort. A Venn diagram of KKK members and birthers wouldn't be a perfect circle, but it would be close enough that it's not hard to see a through line.

Again: The Republican-conservative establishment laid the groundwork for this. As Jonathan Chait said this week: "It has been a bracing experience for conservative elites to behold when the forces they have successfully harnessed for so long shake free and turn against them." Again, let us resist Trumpenfreude. But let's not kid ourselves about the foundations of it.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Yoga

I've been making some life changes lately — trying to use the time I have, now that I'm back in Kansas, to improve my health and lifestyle. Among the changes: More exercise. 30 minutes a day on the treadmill. Doesn't sound like a lot, but some is more than none, and I know from experience that getting overambitious early leads to failure. So. Thirty minutes a day.

One other thing: Yoga, a couple of times a week. It's nothing huge — a 15-minute flexibility routine downloaded from an iPhone app. But I've noticed that I'm increasingly limber.

Tonight, friends, I noticed a piece of trash on the floor. I bent over at the waist and picked it up, and threw it away.

Then I wept. I literally could not remember the last time I'd tried to pick something off the floor without grunting and bracing myself. I just did it.

Small victories, people. Small victories.

Liberals: We're overthinking this. Hillary didn't lose. This is what it should mean.

Interesting:
Nate Cohn of the New York Times estimates that when every vote is tallied, some 63.4 million Americans will have voted for Clinton and 61.2 million for Trump. That means Clinton will have turned out more supporters than any presidential candidate in history except for Obama in 2008 and 2012. And as David Wasserman of Cook Political Report notes, the total vote count—including third party votes—has already crossed 127 million, and will “easily beat” the 129 million total from 2012. The idea that voters stayed home in 2016 because they hated Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton is a myth. We already know the Electoral College can produce undemocratic results, but what we don't know is why — aside from how it serves entrenched interests — it benefits the American people to have their preference for national executive overturned because of archaic rules designed, in part, to protect the institution of slavery. 

A form of choosing the national leader that — as has happened in …

I'm not cutting off my pro-Trump friends

Here and there on Facebook, I've seen a few of my friends declare they no longer wish the friendship of Trump supporters — and vowing to cut them out of their social media lives entirely.

I'm not going to do that.

To cut ourselves off from people who have made what we think was a grievous error in their vote is to give up on persuading them, to give up on understanding why they voted, to give up on understanding them in any but the most cartoonish stereotypes.

As a matter of idealism, cutting off your pro-Trump friends is to give up on democracy. As a matter of tactics, cutting off your pro-Trump friends is to give up on ever again winning in a democratic process.

And as a long-term issues, confining ourselves to echo chambers is part of our national problem.

Don't get me wrong: I expect a Trumpian presidency is a disaster, particularly for people of color. And in total honesty: My own relationships have been tested by this campaign season. There's probably some damage…