While the Democrats pursue impeachment to remove Donald Trump from the White House rather than risk losing to him again in the next election, they already have lined up a second strategy: call all of his supporters racists.
This showed up in a key moment in the most recent Democratic debate. It came and went rather quickly, no big deal. Moderator Jorge Ramos, known for his past clashes with the president, calls on Pete Buttigieg and says:
“President Trump has called Mexican immigrants rapists and killers, tried to ban Muslims from entering the country, separated children from their parents. His supporters have chanted, ‘Build a wall!’ and, ‘Send her back!’ Do you think that people who support President Trump and his immigration policies are racist?”
Mayor Pete doesn’t miss a beat: “Anyone who supports this is supporting racism.” So there it is: just like that, almost 63 million people who voted for Donald Trump, myself among them, are racists. Is this any way to win an election?
Use guilt and admonishment to bludgeon past supporters of Donald Trump to do the right thing and vote Democrat. Shame us into it. It entails condemning half the country, of course — who wants to sit down and find common ground with a bunch of racists? But, hey, the Democrats have an election to win.
Or perhaps this is a way to rally the base and bring out a raft of new voters. The U.S. economy is humming right now. Jobless rates are at all-time lows, more people hold jobs than ever before, and blacks, Latinos, and women are at or near their highest levels of employment in U.S. history. The stock market is humming, too. Meanwhile, thousands of inmates, many of them minorities, are being released from prison under criminal justice reform signed by President Trump.
When you can’t find a way to bash any of that, play the racist card to give your voters a false sense of moral outrage and uprightness. It is all so misleading, cynical, and negative, and as biased and harsh as the views of President Trump are in the eyes of the Democrats. But then, what do I know — my vote makes me a racist, and that’s a charge you dare not deny these days, otherwise your white male privilege is showing.
To deny it is to prove it: you are racist and you don’t even know it. Three longtime friends, all of them white and anti-Trump, have informed me in recent months that I am unable to comprehend the outrage over Donald Trump because I just don’t get it, owing to my white privilege. Thus expiating themselves of their own, apparently.
The cry-racism strategy against Mr. Trump started even before his unlikely election. In a column in July 2016, New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof takes 1,056 words to review the Trump record back to the 1970s and conclude in the last line, “I don’t see what else to call it but racism.”
By the time the Dem debates began this summer, virtually all the candidates had blithely branded President Trump a racist. And a white supremacist. And a white nationalist. The lib media saw no reason to fact-check these assertions. Somewhere along the way, the damnation spilled over to anyone who dared support this president.
On Twitter on July 27, the longtime Clinton advisor Joe Lockhart put out a tweet that was damning and embittered:
@joelockhart: Anyone who supports a racist or a racist strategy is a racist themselves. 2020 is a moment or [sic] reckoning for America. Vote for @realDonaldTrump and you are a racist. Don’t hide it like a coward. Wear that racist badge proudly and see how it feels.”
In response, I posted this tweet, looping in @joelockhart without any expectation he would answer it:
#Shaddup. Pious & preachy. Telling 63MM Trump voters they are racists is a bad way to woo any of them to vote for a better candidate. It’s so prejudiced & stereotyping, so judgmental & desperate, as to make any racist proud. #GFY @joelockhart”
Mr. Lockhart’s tart riposte to my riposte: “The truth hurts.”
In September, a columnist in the Daily Beast who has advised Democratic candidates went even further. Banner headline: “Trump is a Racist. If You Still Support Him, So Are You.”
If I sat down with someone on the other side, I’d hope to say: I believe President Trump wants the best for his country and for all of the American people. I wish he thought before he spoke, that he would be less of a jerk, that he would avoid taking so much offense at any and every criticism. These Trumpian traits are lamentable, but they are something other than racism.
At this point, though, I doubt the other side would bother to listen.
Dennis Kneale is a writer and media strategist in New York. Previously he was an anchor at CNBC and at Fox Business Network, after serving as a senior editor at The Wall Street Journal and managing editor of Forbes. He helped write “Wealth Mismanagement: A Wall Street Insider on the Dirty Secrets of Financial Advisers and How to Protect Your Portfolio,” by Ed Butowsky, published in August 2019 by Post Hill Press. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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