Matthew Yglesias over at Vox marvels at how a 2,000-word column about how Donald Trump stole the Republican Party never once bothers to mention racism. It’s kind of like talking about the American Revolution and not talking about taxes. Or examining the Civil War and never bringing up slavery. It’s possible but you would be deliberately ignoring a foundational element of the story.
And that’s how the corporate media works these days: You cannot discuss right-wing racism because that makes you “biased” somehow.
But Yglesias isn’t interested in phony balance and false equivalencies and he digs in deep.
Catering to wealthy racists
Yglesias explains that the corporate media seized on the narrative that Trump appeals to the poor and his economic populism is what powers his campaign. Which is, surprise, total bullshit:
As best we can tell from the data available in exit polls, the median household income of a Trump supporter is about $72,000 a year.
Trump, in particular, built his big primary wins on the backs of people who are economically comfortable. There is no country on Earth where the median household income is higher than the median household income of a Donald Trump primary voter, and there never has been throughout world history.
The flip side is that while Trump does appeal to some poor white people, he appeals to very little poor non-white people. I noted here just how unpopular Trump is with everyone that’s not a white male and that makes a real difference to the narrative the media would very much like you to believe. After all, as Yglesias also points out, minorities are, on the whole, far poorer than whites. Why wouldn’t Trump’s message of populist economics appeal to them as well? Probably because his central message is one of white supremacy.
Just as a side note, although Yglesias seems too nice to mention it, the corporate “liberal” media makes the poverty of minorities simply disappear by pretending Trump is appealing to the economically hurting while ignoring the fact that only white people are responding to him. In other words, only the poverty of white people counts in this narrative. No institutional racism there, no siree bob!
Demographics don’t lie
As much as the corporate media would like to pretend otherwise, Yglesias takes not that, magically, Trump’s base just happens to be located in the most racist parts of America:
But we do know that the unusual geographic pattern of Trumpism — stronger in the South and Northeast than in the Midwest or West — corresponds to the geography of white racial resentment in the United States. We also know that Trump rose to political prominence based on the allegation that America’s first black president wasn’t a real American at all, and launched his 2016 campaign with the allegation that Mexican immigrants to the United States are largely rapists and murders.
We know that this kind of rhetoric does not resonate with nonwhite Americans but has appealed to white voters in the kinds of places — some poor, others affluent — where the level of racism among the white population is unusually high.
Surely this must be some kind of coincidence! Just because Trump spent months spewing the ugliest kind of racism and attracting the most overtly racist followers he could, doesn’t mean his entire campaign in focused on white resentment, right?
Pfft, of COURSE that’s what it means. According to Yglesias, this even explains why so much of the GOP is absolutely furious with Trump:
…over the past 15 years the Republican Party has been trying to respond to the shrinking white share of the population by broadening its demographic appeal. There have been plenty of disagreements about exactly how to do that, but building bridges to black and Latino voters has been a common goal.
Trump represents, in effect, abandonment of that goal in favor of a very different idea of responding to the shrinking white share of the population by politicizing and mobilizing white identity while downplaying free market doctrines.
The Party Of Angry Bigots
I’ve been saying this for years: The Republican Party, by embracing its far right extremism, has set itself on an almost irrevocable course to becoming the party of white supremacy. I thought it would take 10-20 years to get where we are now but Trump accelerated the entire process. This is the GOP’s last chance, though. Once Trump is crushed in November, there will be a brief window of opportunity to take back control of the party from the far right and its unbridled racism. It will be wrenching and painful and will send the GOP into the wilderness for a generation but the alternative is to stay the course of sucking up to bigots for votes. And that course leads right off a cliff.
Or, as Yglesias finishes his column with:
It’s polite to both Trump and his supporters to sweep this all under the rug with hazy talk of “anti-establishment” feeling. But to do so completely misses a huge part of what the conflict between pro- and anti-Trump forces is actually about — is the Republican Party going to be an ideological party or an ethnic one?
Featured image via IYON archives.