Donald Trump’s reaction to the fascist violence in Charlottesville has justifiably been called out for pandering to racists, but the charge of racism is easy to make, while harder to analyze exactly what the nature of the attitude is.
The Nazis who marched in that incident, chanting “Jews will not replace us,” are the obvious type. They’re open about their belief that a person’s qualities are determined by the person’s ancestry. They’re also clearly terrified of this, believing that some fourteen million people with a long history of a rich culture have a secret plan to shove a bunch of bloated “Aryans” out of their mothers’ basements.
That type of racism is nothing new in this country, once — and sadly in the future, it seems — enforced by the law or by social convention in many states, not all of them in the south. Back when America was great, in the view of today’s Republicans, Jews were excluded from high society, blacks from so much more, and too many whose recent forebears were from Europe behaved as though this was ordained by their deity.
But even in what I just said, I’ve smoothed over a distinction. There is the bitter hatred experienced by poor whites for members of other races who are on their same economic level — think of the Snopes family in Faulkner’s “Barn Burning,” as an illustration. And then there is the snobby condescension for anyone who isn’t wealthy. That may be what Trump’s father felt.
Is this a situation of like father, like son? The son has left no doubt that the races that he cares about is green with regard to men and plastic when it comes to women. To him, there are the few who control the vast majority of the world’s resources and the many whose work should be exploited for the benefit of the former. The true nature of his racism ultimately comes down to a case of malignant narcissism — if you’re not Trump, you are not of his race. And thanks be to whatever powers there are that this is a fact.
What I conclude here is that Trump’s use of people who are simplistically racist is a continuation of his one skill of appealing to the base instincts of so many who envy his gold-plated world. The milieu of high-end real estate depends on this, as do casinos, and especially in the latter case, their owners don’t care how many are harmed along the way. Trump’s transition to a brand for sale without content was mostly harmless, even when he planted himself on television. But he then discovered the notion that Obama was born outside the nation, and he went from a carnival barker separating people from their pocket change to a tyrant on the rise.
It’s important that we understand exactly what is going on in Trump’s mind and among his supporters if we’re to bring the lot of them down. We had a previous president who had the personal fortune to be “misunderestimated,” and we cannot permit Trump to be re-elected in 2020 through ineffective flailing on the part of progressives and Democrats.
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