Even Trump’s “outreach” is coded to play to the worst stereotypes of the right
It’s now almost impossible to tell the difference between Donald Trump and the hordes of online trolls who back him.
For a while, even after he launched his campaign with a tirade of hate against Mexican immigrants, it hard for some people to see why a New York punchline whose daughter has converted to Orthodox Judaism has become the vessel for the most vile spewing of online antisemitism and bigotry we’ve ever witnessed. But Trump’s recent escapades show exactly why he’s become the hero to leagues of white nationalists who would take his victory as his own.
It’s about policies and and it’s about loyalty.
Trump’s hyper nationalistic agenda is one of the only consistent elements of his campaign. All threats are foreign and the only way to seal ourselves from them to literally seal ourselves.
Scratch the surface of this retreat into nostalgia for a past where white privilege wasn’t contested and you end up with an outsourcer who is ranting against outsourcing, a man who rants against immigrants who hires immigrants over citizens and a “law and order” candidate who can’t get himself to follow the law.
Trump’s messaging is entirely patriarchal and tied into the sort of authoritarianism that doesn’t prompt or even allow questioning of “Daddy.” And it helps that he’s running against the first woman major party nominee.
But Trump also nurtures the support of racist trolls by never outwardly attacking them. He’s made glancing disavowals, but never via his primary mode of signaling to them — Twitter.
Also, his choice of targets — Judge Curiel, the Khans, Alicia Machado — seem to resemble the exact sort of people a white nationalist might target online. And his extraordinary wrath has never been extended on David Duke or any white racist. It’s completely reserved for Obama, Clinton, Curiel, Khan, Machado and lots of other women and minorities whom the racist Alt-Right just happens to hate.
Even Trump’s “outreach” is coded to play to the worst stereotypes of the right.
His recent attempts to pose in front of minority communities might have hoped to have a side effect of reassuring wavering moderates but his underlying message remained pure white nationalism.
Even in front of an African-American crowd, he suggests that “we should subject innocent non-white people to widespread police harassment because of something someone who shares their race or ethnicity might have done in the past, a policy white people will never have to worry about,” Paul Waldman explained.
Trump even took his racial purity message a step further in mid-September, Waldman points out, by saying that banning refugees, “isn’t only a matter of terrorism, but also a matter of quality of life.”
This is why Trump scares this shit out of every minority group in America. The idea that our mere presence hinders the majority’s “quality of life” is an excuse that justifies almost anything.
Look at what Trump has casually proposed: mass deportations, erasure of war crimes laws, the end of birthright citizenship, religious tests… And add to that the typical conservative policies he backs: overturning Roe v. Wade, deregulating Wall St., uninsuring 20 million, transferring trillions to the rich…
It’s genuinely terrifying, unless you’re a rich white dude — like the guy who created Dilbert, Scott Adams.
Adams’ has become a leading voice of Trump supporters, though he claims to have endorsed Clinton because he fears for his life. So his argument is that Clinton is a fearsome killing machine who is dumb enough to be fooled by a hollow endorsement. And then last weekend he endorsed Trump because that’s how seriously scared he was.
“I consider my self-inflated sense of importance an asset,” Adams wrote last year, as Ben Dolnick reports in an excellent profile on the cartoonist for Slate — “No One Understands Donald Trump Like the Horny Narcissist Who Created Dilbert“.
It’s ridiculous bullshit and it’s all just about raising his profile and amusing himself.
There’s nothing new in this kind of trolling.
Here’s Sartre back in 1946 describing anti-Semites as the original trolls. True of the alt-right today. pic.twitter.com/Q6Pam4tCxU
— Matt O’Brien (@ObsoleteDogma) August 29, 2016
This sort of bad faith arguing as sport is the kind of thing a man who never has to worry about losing his basic rights, being uninsured or not being able to feed his family can amuse himself with in his spare time. It’s the luxury of having nothing to lose and believing that when Trump becomes king you’ll be the last against the wall.
But it’s also a reminder that politics is mostly about identification.
Racist trolls believe in Trump because they see themselves in Trump. And the terrifying thing is Trump continues to have no problem with that.