|Alt-right white power folks flocked to Donald Trump. Now he has to feed them.|
In the classic chicken-or-egg dilemma, it's hard to know if white supremacists were waiting for a Donald Trump to come along, or if Trump ran hard on hate and turned over the rocks in his path and found the vermin swarming to his support. Either way, white power is having a field day.
This week the Los Angeles Times reported on the surge of political activity among extremists, particularly white supremacists and the alt-right, noting that online hate groups are now dominated by pro-Trump conversation:Those paying attention -- as I have to politics for decades -- have always seen a tendency for the GOP to gather up the fringe to their causes. There's a reason the southern states are so solidly red. Simply put, racial bigots don't make good bed fellows with blacks, Latinos, and gays. There is no ready home for them in the Democratic Party.
Andrew Anglin, editor of the Daily Stormer website and an emerging leader of a new generation of millennial extremists, said he had “zero interest” in the 2012 general election and viewed presidential politics as “pointless.” That is, until he heard Trump.In the same edition, the Times reported that hate crimes had risen sharply in the Los Angeles area over the past year. It wasn’t the worst year for hate-inspired violence in recent times (2001 and 2002 hold that record), and when you look at the numbers year over year, you can see that this current is always lurking underneath the surface. What’s unusual about the present moment is that we have a political leader who is unapologetically drawing it to the surface and giving it light to grow and flower.
“Trump had me at ‘build a wall,’” Anglin said. “Virtually every alt-right Nazi I know is volunteering for the Trump campaign.”
Donald Trump, in his very first speech when he announced he was running for president, declared in advance that he was the enemy of the "brown." They were rapists and criminals. He has, in the past few days since his crushing defeat -- by a "girl" as Elizabeth Warren likes to point out -- in the debate with Hillary Clinton, lashed out at the very target Clinton was savvy enough to put in front of Trump's face, Alicia Marchado, the Latina beauty queen Trump so mistreated back when she had the audacity of putting on a few pounds after winning the Miss Universe contest.
First, we have to question why Trump would take the bait, but the answer is at our fingertips: Trump is hyper-defensive and explodes at the smallest criticism. Second, it's predictable that, after such a debate defeat, he'd want to fire up his racist, misogynist base to come to his rescue, especially with the polls, something he's also obsessed with.
If there's a miscalculation, it's not that his base is full of people who would chant "fuck the fat bitch!" No, the miscalculation is that the attack on Marchado is, for Clinton, a perfect trifecta: It's anti-women, anti-fat-people, and anti-immigrant. Hey Donald, somewhere out there are a bunch of women, a bunch of fat people, and a bunch of immigrants, many of whom are voters. To quote debate expert Rick Perry, "Oops."
I don't know what this portends for the future of the GOP. Here's what Harry Reid said in the Senate the other day:
The outgoing Democrat linked the actions of GOP lawmakers to Trump, arguing that the party had in fact created him.
"Everything that he's said, stood for, done in this bizarre campaign that he's run has come — filtered up from what's going on in the Republican Senate," Reid said. "Disagreeing with everything, anything that President Obama wanted. They filibustered things they agreed with just to slow things down."
The race is not over, and -- I hate to say it! -- Trump could still win, though he'd need a true deus ex machina to pull it off. But it's important to keep in mind as we work our way through this particular stretch of American history that this confluence of racial, misogynist bigotry and Donald Trump is no accident. It's the logical conclusion of the Republicans' letting their dumpster accumulate the hate all these decades. No wonder it's burst into flames.Reid continued: "Trump is no anomaly. He is the monster the Republicans built. He is their Frankenstein monster. They own him. All you have to do to see that the Republicans are the party of Trump is to look at the way they've treated him."
Will it haunt them or carry them in the future? We'll see. But I'm not holding my breath for the day that racism has fled the GOP. Because, to be blunt, where else is it going to go?