Being Known by the Company you Keep…

Support for Trump's comments are very telling.

donald-trump-hatI have started at least three different posts on the Trump “shithole countries” business.  My inability to focus on a single post is indicative of the fact that this is not just an example of Trump being crude and ignorant (it is certainly that), but it is part of the simple fact that we do, in fact, have a racist white nationalist as president, and the fact that too many Americans are okay with that fact. That is disturbing and inspires a lot of words that are often unfocused.  So, I am trying to slice off some discreet issues.

 

One way to look at this comments is to see who is supporting them.  This is what I mean by the title of the post:  one is known by the company one keeps, even if we are just talking about intellectual associations.   To wit, let’s look at some key examples of support for President Trump’s immigration views.

 Neo-Nazi and alt-right leader, Richard Spencer:

https://twitter.com/RichardBSpencer/status/951668654969671680

Former Grand Dragon of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, David Duke:

An editorial from the neo-Nazi Daily Stormer:

The Daily Stormer, the largest neo-Nazi website online, welcomed Trump’s reported remark, saying it was evidence he was “more or less on the same page with us.”

“This is encouraging and refreshing, as it indicates Trump is more or less on the same page as us with regards to race and immigration,” the site said. (via The Hill).

We aren’t talking dog whistles; this isn’t code.  To generalized about countries with dark skinned persons as “shithole[s]” while preferring Norwegians is about as straight-forward as one can get.

And this is not just about some abstraction.  For example, there are roughly 200,000 El Salvadorans living in the US, and their families, who are about to have their lives utterly destroyed because Trump just sees them as being from some “shithole country” that can be dismissed.  Those are real human beings whose circumstances deserve a far more thoughtful, far more intelligence policy response than they are receiving from the President of the United States.

There are also roughly 700,000 Dreamers who also deserve compassion and basic consideration of their humanity.

Instead, they and many other get a President whose views on their circumstances make neo-Nazis happy.

FILED UNDER: *FEATURED, Borders and Immigration, Donald Trump, US Politics
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is Professor of Political Science and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Troy University. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. Scott says:

    Part of the pathology of Donald Trump is that he doesn’t see anyone as being worthy, not even family and friends. Everyone is a mark, someone to be conned. He sees humans in terms of how does it help him.

    I am hesitant to write this because I don’t want him off the hook. He certainly engages in racist behavior but I think his sickness is deeper than that. He is a predator that needs to be removed from the national ecosystem.




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  2. gVOR08 says:

    I’m more disturbed by the 35% or so who aren’t by any stretch neo-Nazis, but aren’t bothered by this and other statements, and actions, by Trump.




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  3. @gVOR08: Which is the broader implication of the title of the post.




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  4. Gustopher says:

    Is Trump a white nationalist? Or is he a garden variety racist who has surrounded himself with white nationalists, and who is too weak to have his own opinions?

    It might be a distinction with no difference, and it certainly is to those who feel the brunt of his policies, but the latter is probably worse for us all in the long run (he’s so susceptible to whoever he spoke to last, and that’s going to cause a whole host of problems).

    The presidency always attracts people With all sorts of contradictions, who try to be better than their worst aspects. Lincoln wanted to deport the slaves to Africa, Haiti, or anywhere else but America, but slowly came around. LBJ had his n-bill comment, while still working to pass that n-bill. Their deeds often show them at their best, while their private writing shows them at their worst.

    And then there is Donald Trump. He doesn’t just appeal to America’s worst impulses, but he appeals to his own worst impulses.

    Well, at least he’s genuine, I suppose.




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  5. Matt Bernius says:

    What’s amazing to me is the mental gymnastics Trump supporters constantly engage in to explain away his (decades) long history of bigoted, if not outright racist, actions. Of course these are the same people who have explained away the bigoted and racist behavior of other populists like Steve King and others like Rush Limbaugh.

    I wonder what, for them, is the breaking point. Why are Trump, King, and Limbaugh (to name a few) defensible and yet people like David Duke and Richard Spencer are able to be safely labeled as racist.

    Is it simply that behavior will always be explained away up until the point where someone says, explicitly, “I hate [x] race or religion?” We know that simply dropping the “N-bomb” isn’t enough (see the defense of Dr. Laura and others).




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  6. Matt Bernius says:

    Following up on previous post… I look forward to the defense of Trump when even former Republican National Chair Michael Steele is calling the statement (if not the man) racist:

    http://time.com/5101077/donald-trump-racist-michael-steele-shithole-countries/

    Of course, its not as if Mr Steele would have any personal experiences that might provide him with some perspective on the topic. Or is it the case that, as with Colin Powell’s support of Obama, there is a specific reason why populist conservatives (like Rush Limbaugh) can dismiss his position.




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  7. James Pearce says:

    we do, in fact, have a racist white nationalist as president

    Not only do we have a racist president, but we have a racist culture. We’ve made a lot of progress in some respects, but took two steps backward in too many others.




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  8. CSK says:

    Trump isn’t smart, but he’s shrewd enough to know that he can get a lot of love from his fans by being a crude oaf who’s also a racist xenophobe. He’s also very, very easily manipulated by people who are slightly smarter but no less loathsome than he.

    It’s hard to think of a worse combination.




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  9. Guarneri says:

    “Support for Trump’s comments are very telling.”

    As are the criticisms.




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  10. Kylopod says:

    @Gustopher:

    Is Trump a white nationalist? Or is he a garden variety racist who has surrounded himself with white nationalists, and who is too weak to have his own opinions?

    The only distinction I would make is between people who merely hold racist views and members of organized, openly racist groups such as the KKK or the website Stormfront. We ought to keep in mind that the term “white nationalist” was in fact coined by people in the latter category–it was an attempt to make their cause sound more respectable, compared to the previous term “white supremacist.” (It’s similar to the distinction between “Holocaust denial” and “Holocaust revisionism.”) But what ends up happening is what linguists call the euphemism treadmill–after a while the term “white nationalist” gets applied to practically everyone suspected of harboring racist beliefs, and so the organized hate groups fish for a new term, like, say, “alt right.”

    Trump is not a “white nationalist” in the sense that he’s attending meetings at groups like American Renaissance or VDARE (though certain members of his administration have ties to such groups). But he has certainly voiced beliefs that make such groups cheer. I tend to stick to calling him simply a racist, because in this case I think it’s sufficient, and I don’t see any reason to dilute the more specific term “white nationalist” in the process.




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  11. loaded says:

    When socialists voiced support for Obamacare it didn’t make Obama a socialist. And Obama kept company with socialists a lot more than Trump has kept company with Nazis.




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  12. James Pearce says:

    @Guarneri:

    As are the criticisms.

    What do they tell you?




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  13. CSK says:

    Well, he’s on Twitter now screeching about the Fake Media promoting the Fake Book of a “mentally deranged author,” presumably Michael Wolff. He adds: “The Mainstream Media is crazed that WE won the election.”

    Is that the royal WE?




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  14. James Pearce says:

    @loaded:

    When socialists voiced support for Obamacare it didn’t make Obama a socialist.

    No, being black, liberal, and supporting Obamacare made Obama a Kenyan communist usurper who might be gay.




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  15. Matt Bernius says:

    @loaded:

    When socialists voiced support for Obamacare it didn’t make Obama a socialist.

    Obama’s speeches, policy positions, party affiliations, and overall personal history suggest that he probably was sympathetic to, if not aligned, with a mainstream Western European Democratic Socialism — you know, the type practiced in places full of “desirables” like Norway. Those feelings were typically tempered by a nod to what was practical within US politics.

    Again, if we look at Trump’s personal history, speeches, and policy positions, there’s likewise a pretty clear longstanding pattern of bigotry and racism. See: https://www.outsidethebeltway.com/a-litany-of-trumps-racism/

    I leave it up to you whether or not you want to argue whether Western European Style Socialism is as bad or worse than Racism. But both men’s histories definitely suggest where their allegiances and tendencies lie.




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  16. Jc says:

    @loaded:

    “Obamacare cannot be considered socialist in any way,” according to Greg Pason, the national secretary for Socialist Party USA.

    Compare that statement to those made by David Duke and US Nazis.




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  17. HankP says:

    It’s one thing to distrust government, most Americans have what I consider a healthy skepticism about government. When you can’t trust the people, though, that’s a whole other – and much bigger – problem.




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  18. Scott F. says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Trump also keeps company with the Republican Party. There is now a direct line of association from David Duke to Donald Trump to Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell.

    This unbroken connection needs to be front and center of any commentary on Trump’s racism until such time as the Republicans act to remove him from office.




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  19. Hal_10000 says:

    While I agree that Trump’s statement was racist, I dislike the idea that praise from white nationalists proves anything. Take the statement on its own and forget the guilt by association. These guys are political outsiders and tend to glom onto … whatever they can. In this case, they got something right up their alley. The next time it will be some random statement from a politician who isn’t the least bit racist.




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  20. CSK says:

    @Hal_10000:

    Except for the fact that Trump has had the consistent support of the white nationalists/Nazis. His candidacy was endorsed by The Daily Stormer and supported by the Klan newspaper, The Crusader.




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  21. Monala says:

    @CSK: It’s more than that, because Trump has supported them in return.




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  22. CSK says:

    @Monala:

    I’ve always found it interesting that he’s very, very careful to keep on their good side. Duke, Anglin, and the crew at American Renaissance were rejoicing today and yesterday that he hadn’t abandoned them.




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  23. MarkedMan says:

    If you created a character like Trump in fiction and made him black or Hispanic (or a few generations ago, Irish or Italian), progressives like me would call it out as promoting stereotypes. I mean, what are Trump’s defining characteristics? He’s low class. He lies about everything in the most ridiculously transparent ways, making himself a laughingstock in the process. He has no morals, no trustworthiness, no integrity, which has left his multiple families in tatters and his children on the treadmill to make another generation like him. He will screw anything that moves and ludicrously brags about what a great lover he is, when it’s obvious that a selfish pig-man like him couldn’t even think about another human being long enough to imagine what might satisfy them, much less act on it. He goes from one con to the next, preying on the weak and desperate. He squandered his sizable inheritance through epically stupid business deals, and glommed his way back into money by getting in bed with the Russian mob, who consider him a hilarious albeit useful patsy.

    Bottom line, if Trump was a foreigner trying to immigrate to America we would be smart to rip his application up and flag him as the no-account bum he is. And take in a thousand hardworking Haitians or Africans in his place.

    Heck, I lived in West Africa and I can tell you that 99% of the Ghanaians I know would make better citizens on their worst day than Donald Trump would on his best.




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  24. Kylopod says:

    @Hal_10000:

    While I agree that Trump’s statement was racist, I dislike the idea that praise from white nationalists proves anything.

    I agree that statements in support of a politician from an extremist group don’t in themselves necessarily prove anything. I’ve mentioned before how Louis Farrakhan praised Obama’s candidacy in 2008, and how some of Obama’s opponents (including some pro-Hillary Democrats) were trying to use that fact against Obama as a form of guilt-by-association to discredit Obama. Unlike Trump with white nationalists, however, Obama strongly repudiated Farrakhan.

    But I disagree with you that support from white nationalists, when taken together with other pieces of evidence, isn’t significant. WN groups generally do not express support for run-of-the-mill Republicans. We never saw these statements in support of Romney or McCain or either George Bush. In fact, to my knowledge no Republican presidential nominee has attracted this level of support from this crowd since Barry Goldwater. (I hasten to add that Goldwater was not personally a racist; however, his opposition to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was unquestionably the main thing that made him the first Republican presidential candidate to attract such groups.)

    Trump’s support from these groups isn’t incidental. From the time he first started running for the GOP nomination he was actively courting such groups. He retweeted tweets from groups with names like WhiteGenocide. His infamous “Star of David” tweet was traced by reporters to a white nationalist, as was another tweet with a phony stat about African American crime. After David Duke endorsed Trump’s candidacy, Trump played this coy game where he first refused to disavow Duke then after the press made a big stink about it he finally issued a vague, anodyne disavowal. (We saw the same thing, to an even greater degree, after the Charlottesville fiasco and his initial statements about there being “fine people” on both sides.)

    Then, of course, there’s his hiring of Steve Bannon, the man who once proudly described his own website as a “platform for the alt right.” And despite Bannon’s repeated denials, the “alt right” is predominantly a movement of open racists and white nationalists. Bannon is relatively closer to the mainstream than Richard Spencer (who coined the term “alt right”), but he ran a website that for a long time had a section on “black crime.” And even though Bannon has now been shafted after being overheard saying a few negative words against Der Fuhrer, the Trump Administration still has Stephen Miller, who has a long history of racism and active involvement with WN groups (he worked together with Richard Spencer on anti-immigration stuff while at Duke University).

    This isn’t “guilt by association,” it is an undeniable record of tacit support for these groups.




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  25. SenyorDave says:

    @MarkedMan: Heck, I lived in West Africa and I can tell you that 99% of the Ghanaians I know would make better citizens on their worst day than Donald Trump would on his best.

    But Trump is about as low a bar as you can get. I personally don’t know anyone who is as bad a person as Donald Trump. He literally has no good qualities that I can think of. Personal morals? Cheats on all his wives, laughs as a DJ calls his daughter a good piece of ass. Professional ethics? Stiffs contractors, cheats investors when possible, skirts the law (did business with Cuba during the embargo). HE STOLE FROM HIS OWN CHARITY! He’s racist, uninformed, ignorant. Take the Boy Scout oath, and Trump is a living example of the opposite of all the qualities.




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  26. @Hal_10000:

    While I agree that Trump’s statement was racist, I dislike the idea that praise from white nationalists proves anything. Take the statement on its own and forget the guilt by association.

    On balance, I tend to agree.

    BUT, there are times when it is wholly appropriate and noteworthy to see the parallels between the thinking of POTUS and some of the most odious political actors in our country.

    It matters when the president sounds like this and is praise by these types of people, especially when the president in question make apologies for neo-Nazis but is constantly making sweeping disparaging remarks about various racial, national, and ethnic groups.

    I would also hope that endorsements from Duke, Spencer, et al., will case some marginal supporters to stop and think.




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  27. @Scott F.:

    Trump also keeps company with the Republican Party. There is now a direct line of association from David Duke to Donald Trump to Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell.

    This is certainly part of the point.




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  28. reid says:

    @SenyorDave: But… the religious right love him! How can it be!

    I have a few very religious right-wing friends on facebook, and they sometimes post some bizarre stuff defending Trump. The self-delusion is phenomenal.




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  29. @loaded: I am not a socialist. Having said that, socialists are not some left-wing equivalent to Nazis.

    If Obama had kept company with Stalinists and promoted Stalinist policies, you might have a point.

    And the notion that Obamacare (that was structured not unlike Romneycare) is the zenith of socialism is more than a bit silly (as was more or less noted above).




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  30. Kylopod says:

    @Matt Bernius:

    Obama’s speeches, policy positions, party affiliations, and overall personal history suggest that he probably was sympathetic to, if not aligned, with a mainstream Western European Democratic Socialism

    The same could be said of most liberals and progressives in the US. But the American political mainstream is strongly phobic of the s-word. A 2015 Gallup poll found that 50% of Americans said they won’t vote for a socialist–higher than those who said they wouldn’t vote for an atheist, a Muslim, a Jew, a gay person, a black, or a woman. So it’s not surprising that neither Obama nor any other standard Democrat is rushing to embrace the term.

    In Europe, the term is far less taboo. Indeed, there are old-style socialists who think that the term “socialist” has been hijacked by people who merely support a generous social safety net and who aren’t “true” socialists. There’s some merit to that argument; Norway doesn’t really fit the classical definition of a socialist country as one where there is “collective ownership of the means of production.” It’s more like the term socialist has been expanded. I prefer to use the term social democrat.




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  31. Andre Kenji says:

    @loaded:

    When socialists voiced support for Obamacare

    Who were these socialists that voiced support for Obamacare?




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  32. gVOR08 says:

    @reid: Recently read a generally disappointing book by Matt Taiibi, The Great Derangement. But I find I keep being reminded of it. He spent a lot of time with Evangelicals and drives home the point that they’re the most gullible people in the sorld.




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  33. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @Guarneri: Yes, indeed, The criticisms identify decent people.




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  34. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @SenyorDave: The only way to get the bar lower than Donald Trump is to bury it in the ground… deeper.




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  35. Kylopod says:

    @Andre Kenji:

    Who were these socialists that voiced support for Obamacare?

    The only example that pops into my head is the fact that Bernie Sanders ultimately voted for the Affordable Care Act. But it’s pretty clear that was a pragmatic choice. He hadn’t spent years advocating an Obamacare-like program; he’s consistently been a supporter of single-payer.

    On a broader level, there’s no evidence that Obama was widely seen by socialist groups as “one of them.” While he represented somewhat of a move to the left relative to where the party was in the 1990s, he’s hardly the most left-wing candidate the Dems ever nominated. (George McGovern, anyone?) Even some of his rivals in the Democratic primary ran well to his left, such as Dennis Kucinich, and even John Edwards to a degree. There would never have been a Bernie Sanders insurgency in 2016 if the far left had considered Obama a fellow traveler.

    Of course as already pointed out, mentioning “socialists” as though they are the left’s equivalent to white nationalists is ridiculous on the face of things. But even ignoring that crucial consideration, it’s clear that “socialists” as a whole never embraced Obama the way WNs have embraced Trump from the moment he emerged on the political scene.




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  36. al-Ameda says:

    @loaded:

    When socialists voiced support for Obamacare it didn’t make Obama a socialist. And Obama kept company with socialists a lot more than Trump has kept company with Nazis.

    Exactly how are the socialists of say Denmark, Netherlands, France, Finland or Austria some how equivalent to Nazis?




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  37. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Hal_10000:

    The next time it will be some random statement from a politician who isn’t the least bit racist.

    If a bunch of avowed racists begin cheering something you said, would you not question yourself about what you said or the way you said it? It certainly would me and I would make a post haste correction denouncing them and their interpretation. I certainly wouldn’t be calling friends and colleagues asking how they thought it was playing out “in the real world.”




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  38. Bob The Arqubusier says:

    Being Known by the Company you Keep…

    Pardon me while I laugh hysterically. You’re about ten years late on expressing this concern.

    Of course, back then the concern wasn’t “what some despicable people are saying in support of the president.” Back then it was “the despicable people the future president was choosing to keep around.” Things like Obama getting a sweetheart deal on his first house from notorious political fixer (and now convicted felon Tony Rekzo. Things like Obama making one of his closest advisors Chicago slumlord Valerie Jarrett. And Obama `spending years working extremely closely with unrepentant domestic terrorists William Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn.

    In the meantime, in case you missed it, one year into Trumpocalypse some things have been happening. Here are a few you apparently have missed.

    1) The stock market is booming.

    2) More working Americans are getting to keep more of the money they earn.

    3) Companies who got tax breaks (again, allowed to keep more of the money they earn) have been passing along those savings to their employees through raises and bonuses.

    4) Unemployment among blacks and Hispanics has been dropping to near-record levels.

    5) North and South Korea are actually talking.

    6) The Muslim world failed to melt down over the Jerusalem embassy move.

    7) ISIS in Iraq has been virtually exterminated.

    8) The Bundy case has been dismissed with prejudice because of absolutely incredible misconduct by the government.

    9) We put an end to ignoring Hezbollah’s program of setting up drug-smuggling operations throughout the Western hemisphere.

    But a belated welcome to teh club of people concerned about presidents and “the company they keep.” We’ll waive the back dues as a courtesy.




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  39. Bruce Henry says:

    @Bob The Arqubusier: drivel, mostly.

    1.) The stock market boomed under Obama too.

    2.) A little bit, temporarily, while the rich and corporations get a LOT, permanently.

    3.) Bullsh*t publicity stunts accompanied by layoffs at those same companies. Companies hire because demand for their products and services increases, not because they suddenly get a tax break.

    4.) Due to Obama-era policies.

    5.) In spite of, not because of, Trump’s bellicose saber-rattling.

    6.) But the “peace process,” such as it was, will no longer be influenced by anything the US says or does. Trump’s action cedes the Middle East as a sphere of influence to Russia and Iran.

    7.) Due to Obama-era strategies, tactics, and policies.

    8.) I’ll give you that one. Botched in that the traitor Bundy is not currently under the prison where he belongs.

    9.) Not familiar with this RWNJ talking point, but if it is true that “Hezbollah’s program of setting up drug-smuggling operations” has been curtailed, I’m willing to bet it is due to policies and strategies put in place by the previous administration.

    You belong back on Wizbang. They could use you.




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  40. mattb says:

    @Kylopod:
    Agreed 100% on all counts. I had tried to draw that distinction, but I now to your knowledge of the proper terms — social democrat is definitely a better choice.




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  41. @Bob The Arqubusier: Even if we accept, for a millisecond, that you have provided some slam-dunk list of accomplishments for this president, I would have to point out that they are irrelevant to the discussion at hand, as none of them absolve him of his racism nor do they ameliorate the fact that he is making actual neo-Nazis happy with his proclamations (while mainstreaming those views).

    It makes me think of a quote from some dude, “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world, if he loses his soul?” I forget who said it, but I am sure you can Google it.

    Beyond that, Bruce Henry is largely correct: your list is not that impressive, especially since the economic era we are in started prior to Trump’s time in office.

    To demonstrate intellectual honesty: I think the jury is out on whether his belligerence has actually encouraged NK to talk to SK. But, it is far too soon to run victory laps over the effects of the tax plan. For one thing, yes: AT&T and WalMart have announced bonuses, but both companies have also announced some shut-downs and lay-offs.

    Your Hezbollah comment, however, does demonstrate that you spend far too much time on questionable websites, as almost every story about Hezbollah in the Western Hemisphere is nonsense.




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  42. Kathy says:

    Right now America may have a president de jure. But what she’s burdened with de facto is a racist ignoramus who agitates for the white supremacist minority.




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  43. And, to be clear: empowering and emboldening people like Spencer and Duke is not a good thing at all. So, yes, I think this all matters.




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  44. Matt Bernius says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    It makes me think of a quote from some dude, “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world, if he loses his soul?” I forget who said it, but I am sure you can Google it.

    FWIW, when you track comment thread debates within the populist conservative community about Trump, this does seem to be of the key topics of discussion.

    Based from what I’ve seen in places like Red State, most “Never Trumps” fall into the camp that he is the step too far. They see him as lacking any core ideology and ultimately a false standard bearer for conservative values.

    Whats equally telling is that the response from the Trump supporters more or less boils down to “the enemy of my enemy is my ally.” All that appears to matters to them (based on their comments) is that he’s producing the results that they want — ideological purity be damned.

    The entire thing reminds me of the debate between Thomas More and Will Roper in A Man For All Seasons.




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  45. Hal_10000 says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    I agree with that, definitely.




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  46. John430 says:

    Trump made crude remarks. No doubt about it but many, many people think likewise without admitting it.

    MSN online news just published the Top Ten countries which generated the most refugees. They are: Syria, Afghanistan, Somalia, So. Sudan, Sudan, Congo, Central Africa Republic, Myanmar, Eritrea and Columbia.

    Which one of the aforementioned countries is NOT a shithole?




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  47. Mikey says:

    @John430: Again…it’s not about shitholes, it’s about people.

    That the standard Trumpist defense of Trump’s statement elides that fact is telling.




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  48. @John430: First, it’s Colombia, not Columbia. If you are going to insult countries, at least spell their names correctly.

    Second, I have lived in Colombia. I would by no means describe it as “shithole”–it is a beautiful place with lovely people and, in fact, in doing pretty well. (And I say that knowing its problems far better than you do, having studied the place for 25 years).

    Third, dismissing complicated political, social, and economic circumstances with colloquial vulgarities is simple ignorance that is wholly inappropriate for policy-makers.




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  49. al-Ameda says:

    @John430:
    T

    rump made crude remarks. No doubt about it but many, many people think likewise without admitting it.

    MSN online news just published the Top Ten countries which generated the most refugees. They are: Syria, Afghanistan, Somalia, So. Sudan, Sudan, Congo, Central Africa Republic, Myanmar, Eritrea and Columbia.

    Which one of the aforementioned countries is NOT a shithole?

    That list, I noticed that Trump left out: Syria, Afghanistan, Myanmar, and Colombia – I wonder why?

    As you know, in the mid-19th century well over 1 million Irish people left the “sh**hole of famine and starvation that was Ireland at that time. Also, from the late 19th century through the 1st three decades of the 20th century nearly 4 million Jews fled the sh**holes and hellholes that were Russia and Eastern Europe.

    If we ignore the obvious fact that Trump has shown us consistently over the past 30-plus years that he actually is racist, then the parsing of his word might serve the purpose of persuading me to give him the benefit of the doubt on this.

    Trump plays the racist dog whistle stuff all the time; however his time it wasn’t the polite “you have people who are very fine people on both sides,” message that he pushed out there with respect to the murder in Charlottesville, this was unfiltered reservoir-dog-whistle stuff.




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  50. An Interested Party says:

    @J-E-N-O-S: And yet, despite all of that supposedly marvelous news, this president is reviled by many and distrusted by most…now, why ever could that be? It couldn’t possibly have anything to do with the fact that he is a racist, duplicitous sleazeball, now could it…

    Trump made crude remarks. No doubt about it but many, many people think likewise without admitting it.

    Anyone who would excuse a racist is probably also a racist…I wonder what shithole your ancestors came from…




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  51. John430 says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: I am a lousy keyboardist and occasionally make typing errors. I know its Colombia, having extensively traveled through Honduras, Guatemala and Mexico. Yes, I thoroughly enjoy many of the people there and hasten to add that the love of my life here in Texas is a beautiful, brown-eyed Latina/Hispanic/Mexican-American or whatever . Her Hispanic friends/colleagues are all professionals in Education and they all stay away from Mexico and Central America. The State Department has declared Tamaulipas and other states as “Do Not Travel” sites.
    Why? Because they are dangerous shitholes.




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  52. Monala says:

    @John430: You are still missing (or deliberately ignoring) the point. Trump didn’t just call those places sh*tholes; he said, “Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” (emphasis added)

    He wasn’t just talking about the places; he was insulting the people from those places, saying that they aren’t people we want in this country. And if elected officials with Trump’s attitude had been in charge in the last several decades, you would never have had a chance to meet the love of your life in Texas. She wouldn’t have been allowed to come.




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  53. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @Monala: John doesn’t care. His admiration for people/things Latin American is limited to his beautiful, brown-eyed wife, and her professional-level friends. He agrees with Trump that we shouldn’t allow those people not his wife, her professional friends,or people who can be exploited by him personally to come from their shithole countries and despoil our great, wonderful, amazing, and bigly country. MAWA!




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  54. @Monala: And I think it goes beyond the people/place distinction to the fact that the person charged with making policy is talking like a guy in a blog comment section.




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  55. @John430:

    I am a lousy keyboardist and occasionally make typing errors.

    In fairness, so do I–Colombia/Columbia is just a bit of a pet peeve.

    Of course, one might get the benefit of the doubt if one wasn’t here to directly defend calling places “shitholes” (regardless of the ethnicity of one’s wife).

    What, precisely, is gained by this defense?

    One can intelligently discussion levels of violence and development without being directly, purposefully, insulting.

    Why defend it?




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