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Tue Sep 1, 2015, 09:23 AM

Donald Trump & white America’s anxiety: The political throes of a forgotten country

Donald Trump & white America’s anxiety: The political throes of a forgotten country

Liberals, don't kid yourselves: "The Donald" is not just a media creation. He's a tribune of our past — and future
Elias Isquith Follow



The New York Times’ Charles Blow is a fine columnist. But if you want to understand why Donald Trump has become the mad king of American politics, the thundering attack on “The Donald” that Blow wrote last week, entitled “Enough Is Enough,” could hardly serve you worse.

The basic theory of Blow’s column, which soon went viral, is that the Trump campaign is a “shallow farce,” sustained by a “drooling” and “naïve” media. “Yes, the Republican Party created this Frankenstein [sic] of hatred, hubris, narcissism and nativism,” Blow grants, “but the media is giving it life.” He’s not alone in this conviction: Political scientist John Sides maintains that Trump is fundamentally no different from other short-lived bizarro presidential candidates, such as Newt Gingrich or Michele Bachmann.

Well, sorry not sorry, but this is all wrong. Donald Trump is not running a Potemkin presidential campaign. He is not simply the beneficiary of a restless and vapid press corps. He is not the Herman Cain of 2016. He is not some carnivalesque distraction, seducing us into avoiding “the real issues.” Ignoring him, as Blow has vowed to do, may be good for one’s blood pressure. But as a recent in-depth look at Trump’s support from the New York Times found, no amount of wishful thinking will make him disappear.

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Although their complaints are often unsympathetic and their solutions are frequently barbarous, they are not exactly wrong. Republicans are, on the whole, older and whiter than Democrats. They’re also more religious, more discriminatory in their sexual mores (or at least their professed ones) and more likely to live in rural areas. For the vast majority of their lives, the American mainstream has been white, Christian and at least suburban, if not rural.

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Like Long and Wallace before him, what Trump offers these people is not only a return to a glorious past, but also a reassurance. Specifically, Trump’s vision of a nation purged of immigrants — both documented and otherwise — and cleansed of “political correctness” suggests to these voters that America-as-they-knew-it is not historically contingent. And that the transformation of the country was not an inevitability. He promises them, in effect, that they will not be so easily swept aside.

These are forces decades in the making. But there’s no doubt that nearly seven years of an African-American president — one named Barack Hussein Obama, no less — has had an impact. In the America they knew, an African-American does not become president, full stop. But he certainly doesn’t do it if he’s an intellectual cosmopolitan who does not hide his affection for LGBTQ people or his fundamental belief in the welfare state. And he is not reelected after using big government to help moochers.
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Elias Isquith is a staff writer at Salon, focusing on politics. Follow him on Twitter at @eliasisquith.

http://www.salon.com/2015/08/31/donald_trump_white_americas_anxiety_the_political_throes_of_a_forgotten_country/

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Reply Donald Trump & white America’s anxiety: The political throes of a forgotten country (Original post)
marble falls Sep 2015 OP
kimbutgar Sep 2015 #1

Response to marble falls (Original post)

Tue Sep 1, 2015, 11:13 AM

1. When I heard Trump talk about the silent majority

I remembered that term from the 70's and the Christian Right and George Wallace using that term. He is using old rhetoric to rile up the old racists who buried deep inside themselves old racism. The election of President Obama stirred up that old emotion and trump is actively tapping into it more obviously. I know he will use the term " blacks are lazy" you know it's coming.

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