2016 — September 12, 2016 at 4:54 pm

Trump and white nationalists have the same goal — normalizing extremism


After years of offending Muslims, Mexicans, and black people, Trump is is very offended on behalf of… racists screen-shot-2016-09-12-at-9-04-11-pm

Friday was quite a day.

The leaders of the white nationalist “Alt-Right” had a press conference that dealt with what they called “the Jewish question” while hoping to keep their lasso around the rocket-ship of racism known as the Donald Trump campaign for president.

A few hours later, NBC’s Katy Tur had the chance to explain to a Trump surrogate that birtherism is as common at a Trump rally as pneumonia is in the Clinton campaign:

And then a few hours later, Hillary Clinton gave a speech that featured her now-famous thoughts on the “baskets of deplorables” that some Trump voters belong in.

On Monday, Trump blasted back with an attack on Hillary Clinton as an elitist who slandered his supporters:

She divides people into baskets as though they were objects, not human beings. Hillary Clinton made these comments at one of her high dollar fund-raisers on wall Street. She and her wealthy donors all had a good laugh. You heard them. They were all laughing. Good, good solid laugh. They were laughing at the very people who paved the Ros, and these are the roads that she with all of her security drive on. Paint the buildings she speaks in and importantly all of the other functions. I mean, if you think all functions in life including this auditorium and its makers.

It was an effective rebuttal to what amounts to a full blown defense of all his supporters — and not just the half Clinton somewhat carefully parsed out and later clarified, noting that “half” was too big a leap.

It’s notable Trump wasn’t just defending the “decent folk” who back him; he was defending the birthers at his rallies and Alt-Right-ists at their antisemitic press conference. He made no effort — and never has made an effort — to call out the many extremists who take cover in his embrace of full-throated racial politics.

The politics of Clinton’s attack are definitely debatable.

White nationalists are going to take Trump’s win as their own regardless of what Democrats say. So you can argue that it’s important to make the case to Republicans who don’t want to be identified with those infected by an allergy to America’s growing diversity that is necessarily limiting the hegemony of white males.

MSNBC’s Joy Reid — in a fascinating Twitter thread — argues that it could actually give those voters cover to “take umbrage at being tarred with the brush they themselves may have quietly painted on white nationalist Trumpists…”

Perhaps, it’s always a bad idea to psychoanalyze millions of voters — even when they are embracing what in the least is tolerance for intolerance.

Regardless, this moment has revealed something about America: We are very protective of the feelings of white people.

This is a man who suggested that any Mexican-American immigrant you come across might be a rapist or a murderer, that all Muslims need to be banned from this country and that our first black president couldn’t be a citizen. And he gets to stand in front of this nation an be offended without the world laughing him into dust.

“For speaking a truth, backed up by data, Clinton was accused of promoting bigotry,” Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote. “No. The true crime was endangering white consciousness.”

And that people are more offended by that than by Trump’s normalizing of extremism shows you how powerful the urge to still the currents of change really is.