Donald Trump And The Mainstreaming Of Racism

Donald Trump may or may not be racist himself, but he has most certainly exploited and helped widen racial divisions ever since bursting on the political scene in 2015.

In an Op-Ed in The Washington Post in the wake of Roseanne Barr’s racist tweets and the cancellation of her television show, Max Boot argues that Donald Trump has normalized racism:

My immediate reaction, upon seeing the news of Barr’s vile comments, was to post on Twitter: “Trump is normalizing racism.” Brett Baier and Dana Perino of Fox News were incredulous. “I don’t think that President Trump had anything to do with this tweet,” Perino said. Baier denied that Trump is “responsible for that tweet.” Brit Hume jumped in on Twitter to proclaim that my comment “is an example of the way too many Trump critics think everything is somehow about him.”


What I was suggesting is that racists such as Barr might feel emboldened to publicly vent their hatred because they see the president doing something similar. This should not be such a radical idea for conservatives. They used to believe that a president’s conduct mattered, because it set a moral tone for the entire nation.

Here is Bill Bennett writing in 1998: “Civilized society must give public affirmation to principles and standards, categorical norms, notions of right and wrong. Even though public figures often fall short of these standards — and we know and expect some will — it is nevertheless crucial that we pay tribute to them.” Bill Clinton’s flagrant misconduct with Monica Lewinsky, Bennett opined, “is moral bankruptcy, and it is damaging our country, its standards, and our self-respect.”

How much greater must the damage be from a president who pays off a porn starendorses an accused child molester for the Senate, mocks a disabled reporter, lies an average of 6.5 times a day— and, yes, engages in flagrant racism. It is striking how little conservatives who scolded Clinton have to say about any of this — and especially about Trump’s regular attacks on minorities.

Remarkably enough, nearly 80 percent of Republicans claim that Trump isn’t biased against black people. (More than 80 percent of Democrats and 52 percent of all Americans say he is.) How can they deny what’s in front of their eyes? He has a decades-long history of racist comments and acts, and he rose to political prominence by claiming that the first African American president wasn’t born in America. As president, Trump has said there were “very fine people” on both sides at the white-supremacist rally in Charlottesville, defended Confederate monuments, pardoned racist Sheriff Joe Arpaio, described African nations as “shithole” countries, and vilified African American NFL players who were peacefully protesting police brutality by saying they “shouldn’t be in the country.”

Trump calls certain immigrants “animals” — this has become part of his rally shtick — and complains that people in sanctuary cities are “breeding” like, well, animals. He claims it’s only MS-13 gangsters that he is referring to as “animals,” as if that somehow makes it okay to employ the kind of dehumanizing language used by ethnic cleansers from Rwanda to Nazi Germany. But he is seeking to make these outlaws, who make up less than 1 percent of all gang members in America, the symbols of undocumented immigrants.

While it’s worth noting that Boot is among the most vocal members of the “Never Trump” crowd among conservative pundits, his argument is fairly solid in the extent to which his he makes the case that, in the three years since President Trump entered the 2016 Presidential race we have seen numerous examples, from Charlottesville to the positive comments about Trump from former KKK Grand Dragon David Duke that it took Trump far too long to disavow to Trump’s own campaign rallies, the signs that hate and racism have been normalized, at least among the small group of people who are in tune with those beliefs. Additionally, as Boot notes later on his piece, there are at least ten white supremacists running for office this year, all of them as Republicans and all of them claiming to be strong supporters of the President. Additionally, we can point to failed West Virginia Senate candidate Don Blankenship who based much of his campaign in the final weeks before the primary on a tirade on Mitch McConnell’s family of “China people.” Boot also makes note of Michael Williams, who ran an ultimately failed bid for the GOP nomination for Governor in Georgia and campaigned around the state in what he called a “deportation bus.” Finally, as Boot notes, that several civil rights organizations, including the Anti-Defamation League, the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism and the Southern Poverty Law Center. have reported that the number of reported hate crimes has increased measurably since Trump took the oath of office on January 20, 2017.

While it’s not necessarily fair to hold Trump responsible for all of this, it certainly does seem as if his candidacy, election, and Presidency have led to the creation of an environment where racism and open contempt for immigrants, regardless of their legal status, are far more socially acceptable than they used to be, at least among the crowd that is already inclined to support Trump. Rather than discourage these tendencies, Trump has repeatedly encouraged them. From the moment he entered the race for President, for example, Trump has built his entire political reputation and the movement that led to him winning the nomination and, eventually, the General Election on the idea of dividing America, principally on racial and ethnic lines, in a way that hasn’t been seen since the days of the George Wallace campaign in 1968 and the Dixiecrats in 1948. This has included attacks on  Mexicans, Muslimsdisabled people, a Federal District Court Judge who happened to be Mexican-American and a Gold Star Family who happened to be Muslim. In response to the racist rally in Charlottesville last year, Trump blamed “both sides” for the violence, referred to the participants in the rally as “very fine people,” and doubled-down on those comments even in the face of overwhelming criticism. In response to N.F.L. players who were peacefully kneeling to protest racially biased police violence, he responded by calling the largely African-American plays in question “sons of bitches.” Both during the campaign and since becoming President, he has used campaign-style speeches to turn his crowds of supporters into raving lunatics by throwing them red meat on the most divisive issues facing the nation. More importantly, he has done so not only knowingly but with a rather obvious sense of glee at the chaos that he is causing. If anything, one could say that this is Trump’s governing plan, to get the nation so worked up about divisive issues such as race, patriotism, and protests that nobody is paying attention to his actual political agenda. In other words, even if Trump himself isn’t a racist he has created an environment where it is far more socially acceptable to utter racially divisive themes.

This didn’t start with Trump, of course. While many had hoped that the Obama era would have gone a long way toward putting America’s racial divisions in the past, it often seemed as though the opposite was taking place. It didn’t take long for political opposition to Barack Obama, whether as a candidate or as President, to quickly take on a racial tone. From the moment he became a candidate up until the moment he became the first American President to publicly release his birth certificate, for example, he was the subject to persistent claims that he was an illegitimate President, that he wasn’t really born in the United States, and that he was a “secret Muslim.” The number of racially charged and outright racist things that were said about the President, his wife, and his children, especially on the Internet and social media, was disheartening for anyone who believed that we had crossed a bridge to a better future when the United States elected its first African-American President. Instead of healing wounds, though, Obama’s election seemed to have reopened them despite the former President’s often admirable efforts to rise above them, something that was demonstrated quite starkly when Dylann Roof walked into a historically African-American church and murdered nine people even after having spent the better part of an hour participating in a Bible study group with them.

To no small degree, of course, the racial biases that were reopened during the Obama Era were due to hyperpartisanship, but it seems as though there was more to it than that. Whatever it was though, this was at the core of the wound that Donald Trump picked at throughout his campaign and that he continues to deepen during his Presidency. It’s not healthy for the country, of course, and I’m afraid it’s just going to get worse.


FILED UNDER: Environment, Race and Politics, US Politics, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Kathy says:

    Remember “The polls are biased” in 2012?

    The idea was that a very large majority supported Romney, but wouldn’t admit, to the pollsters, that they planned to vote against Obama because that might make them seem racist.

    This was the prevalent opinion on the right. Think about what it implies.

  2. MarkedMan says:

    This is a case where Trump is a symptom, not the cause. In the 1964 campaign two factions fought for control of the Republican Party: one believed that it was better to win than embrace the racist Southern Strategy, while the other believed that the embrace of racism could be handled with dog whistles which would allow leadership to pull back from that position later.

    There was one moment that clarified that the party had gone down the racist rabbit hole and wasn’t coming back out: when Ronald Reagan kicked off his campaign in Philadelphia MS, the site where three “outsider” civil rights campaigners where murdered with the complicity of the police and civic and religious leaders of the community. Reagan talked there about states rights and how the federal government shouldn’t force states into doing things against their values.

    Well, that’s not quite right. My moment of realization wasn’t Reagan’s speech itself, it was the reaction amongst the “serious” Republicans. “But it was just a coincidence!”, “Dems just blow everything out of proportion!”, “The venue wasn’t exactly in Philadelphia!” (On this last point, Philadelphia is a tiny, tiny town that just happened to be the closest point to where the white racists dragged these three young men from their car before brutally murdering them. It didn’t have a venue appropriate for Reagan’s event.) The fact that Republicans who were not racist, who prided themselves on their fair mindedness, were nevertheless willing to contort themselves into knots to avoid looking at the poison in their own party, that was the real revelation to me.

    So today, the old, decent Republicans have mostly aged out of the party or swallowed the bile themselves. Young people with decency become Dems or Indies or stay out of politics altogether, while the racists and alt-right conspiracy nuts have become the parties core. The Republican Party had finally reached a tipping point where an overt racist gains more traction than he loses. Remember, this happened before with Buchanan’s insurgent candidacy, but in that era there were still enough decent Republicans to put a stop to his run.

    Any signs of change? Well, I was over on the American Conservative reading Dreher and a Republican commenter was defending Rosanne Barr’s comparing a black woman to “The Planet of the Apes”. “You liberals call everyone a racist”, but that comment did not mean that Barr was calling Jarrett an ape because there were also humans in the “Planet of the Apes” and how do we know that Barr wasn’t referencing the humans, huh!?” From what I can see, she’s pretty typical.

  3. Dave Schuler says:

    I’m in broad agreement with you, Doug. However, I’m a day forward kind of guy. How do we move the country forward in a productive way? It’s a question to which I don’t have a ready answer.

    The best I can come up with is the Rule of Reciprocity. Model the behavior you want to see from others.

  4. @Dave Schuler:

    How do we move the country forward in a productive way? It’s a question to which I don’t have a ready answer

    Neither do I, unfortunately. .

  5. MBunge says:


    And if you paid attention to the aftermath of a whole bunch of Republicans and conservatives went out of their way to admit they had been wrong and avoided indulging in the same sort of nonsense in 2016. Compare that with the reaction from people on the Left wrong about Donald Trump’s election.


  6. Kathy says:


    This is a case where Trump is a symptom, not the cause.

    I think he’s both.

    Certainly bigotry and racism were alive and well in the GOP. I’ve mentioned before how the agenda for the GOP almost always is about limiting rights (and then complaining the people whose rights they limit won’t vote for their party), while the Democrats are more intent on expanding them.

    Since recognizing (or granting if you prefer) rights to a group of people neither hurts nor violates the rights of other people, the usual reason to oppose most expansions of rights is bigotry.

    But, as you point out, this was disguised, hidden, with euphemisms like “religious freedom,” or dog whistles, and implemented by means of policies like the war on drugs, or “securing the border,” or slogans like “law and order,” and so on.

    Then comes Trump and he begins to spout racist and bigoted sentiments openly, loudly, and frequently. This lets all pretense loose.

    So maybe Trump is not the cause per se, but he certainly made a bad thing worse.

  7. MBunge says:

    @Dave Schuler: How do we move the country forward in a productive way?

    This might be a good step one: Stop treating butt hurt nutters like Max Boot as reasonable voices. At the heart of Boot and the rest of his ilk is a Scooby-Dooish conviction that “We would have got away with it too, if it weren’t for that meddling Trump!” Everything was fine until Trump came along and ruined it all.

    I mean, was Boot in a coma for the eight years of the Obama Administration? Or were all the racist attitudes and outbursts directed at the Obamas somehow Trump’s fault retroactively? Has Trump’s personal wealth fallen because he spent all that money building his own time-traveling DeLorean and inspiring race hatred in the past? Does Boot have an old photo of Trump manning a fire hose in Birmingham in 1963?


  8. An Interested Party says:

    It’s all together fitting (in a morbid way) that we should have this president follow our first black president…some people talked about a “post-racial” America once we elected Obama…the vileness of Trump and many of those who support him show just how foolish that argument was…for racists and haters of other minority groups, Trump is the tonic that allows them to slither out from under their slimy rocks and shamelessly spout their hatred…although our country has made much progress since its founding, this current trend shows how far we still have to go…

  9. James Pearce says:

    @Dave Schuler:

    How do we move the country forward in a productive way? It’s a question to which I don’t have a ready answer.

    David Frum has a suggestion.

  10. Kylopod says:

    It’s also important to keep in mind the nature of the causal relationship when it comes to Trump’s and Barr’s racism. Barr has been saying racist and deplorable things for years; indeed, she compared a black person to an ape back in 2013. The decision to hire her for a reboot of Roseanne was specifically capitalizing on her being a Trumpy who says crazy shit. As I mentioned a few days ago, there are striking parallels with the time ESPN briefly hired Rush Limbaugh as a commentator, only to get rid of him as soon as he opened his yap and talked like Rush Limbaugh. In both cases, the networks were attempting to take advantage of a public figure’s reputation for controversy then pulling back as soon as that figure lived up to that reputation in flying colors. It’s yet another sense in which Trump did contribute indirectly to the recent Barr fiasco: not because he caused her to make those remarks, but because he created an environment in which the entertainment industry felt compelled to push a figure like Barr to the forefront instead of treating her as the unstable, bigoted has-been she actually is.

  11. An Interested Party says:

    Stop treating butt hurt nutters like Max Boot as reasonable voices.

    Oh yes, because it would be so much better to treat slobbering fluffers like you as “reasonable voices”…

  12. Not the IT Dept. says:

    MBunge has a hell of a nerve calling other people “butt-hurt nutters”.

  13. Modulo Myself says:


    The total racists became frightened during Obama’s term. He was a model of reciprocity. Plus things like gay marriage being more credible than being an Evangelical Christian. They realized they were trash humans, and so they elect Trump, who has nothing admirable at all about him, as a way to reassure themselves that the world is exactly as awful as they need it to be.

  14. CSK says:

    David Duke urged his followers to support Trump. The Daily Stormer endorsed him. The KKK loves him. What else do you need to know?

  15. James Pearce says:


    This might be a good step one: Stop treating butt hurt nutters like Max Boot as reasonable voices.

    Mike, I’m going to be honest here. Boot and other conservatives, many of them “never Trumpers,” have convinced me that statements like this from MarkedMan are not actually true:

    “Young people with decency become Dems or Indies or stay out of politics altogether, while the racists and alt-right conspiracy nuts have become the parties core.”

  16. Modulo Myself says:

    @James Pearce:

    Lol–as if Soviet dissenters really overthrew the Communist regime, and by golly they did so with their factually-precise language! Frum, btw, is the guy who coined Axis of Evil, so you know this a man who abhors rhetorical excess.

  17. MarkedMan says:


    then complaining the people whose rights they limit won’t vote for their party

    Good point. Another thing that always fascinates me is the Republicans inevitable answer whenever a bunch of white Republicans get together and start to think about what it means that their party is something like 85% white and they keep on offending the growing majority population. That answer is always “We need to do a better job of explaining to these minorities why our policies are better for them and their people.” And by “always”, I mean 100% of the time since I started keeping track before Romney was running. It never, ever, occurs to these Republicans that it might be worth it to, you know, listen to what minorities think is important? The term “mansplaining” bothers me*, but in this case there is no better term for this behavior.

    *This term bothers me because a) I think it is overly simplistic and b) makes me cringe with embarrassment because, as an all too typical engineering type, I recognize my own all too frequent idiocy in this term.

  18. Neil Hudelson says:

    @James Pearce:

    A very good article. I enjoyed comparing the Satre quote to MBunge’s comments:

    “The person of] bad faith … maintain[s] against all evidence that something is right, when he knows he is wrong. Deaf to rational argument, he builds false reasons, retreating into a defensive absurd system. In this game of right and wrong, the man in bad faith is not fooling anyone, least of all himself.”

  19. Modulo Myself says:

    @Modulo Myself:

    BTW–this is Osip Mandelstam’s The Stalin Epigram, which earned him his first arrest (he later died in a work camp)–

    Our lives no longer feel ground under them.
    At ten paces you can’t hear our words.

    But whenever there’s a snatch of talk
    it turns to the Kremlin mountaineer,

    the ten thick worms his fingers,
    his words like measures of weight,

    the huge laughing cockroaches on his top lip,
    the glitter of his boot-rims.

    Ringed with a scum of chicken-necked bosses
    he toys with the tributes of half-men.

    One whistles, another meows, a third snivels.
    He pokes out his finger and he alone goes boom.

    He forges decrees in a line like horseshoes,
    One for the groin, one the forehead, temple, eye.

    He rolls the executions on his tongue like berries.
    He wishes he could hug them like big friends from home.

    Frum’s point is even dumber when you consider the Soviets despised all forms of mockery. He’s basically asking for self-censorship in order to mimic a totalitarian society.

  20. Hal_10000 says:

    Instead of healing wounds, though, Obama’s election seemed to have reopened them despite the former President’s often admirable efforts to rise above them,

    Bill James likes to note that social progress often comes in the appearance of the opposite. He was specifically talking about the 1960’s Civil Rights Movement: it did not create racism but simply dragged it out into the light. I would say the same thing about the MeToo thing; it’s not that sexual harassment started in 2017, but that people are not putting up with it as much.

    I feel the same thing about race in the Obama era. It’s not that racism got worse; I think it probably improved a bit. It’s that the previously concealed racism came out into the light. That’s not entirely bad; evil ideas tend to shrivel in the light. But Trump and worse, that small fraction of his followers who are vicious racists, have made things worse.

  21. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Dave Schuler:

    Model the behavior you want to see from others.

    But that doesn’t work. Kerry tried to stay above the fray with the Swift-Boaters and look what happened to him.
    Sometimes you just gotta get down in the muck.

  22. Hal_10000 says:


    The Southern Strategy is a good bedtime story for Democrats to tell themselves, but what really happened is a bit more complex. The South didn’t go Republican until the 90’s, when that strategy, such as it was, had long played out. What really happened is that, without the segregationist wing, the Democrats lost their iron grip on Southern votes. And without that, the South went with its conservative tendencies. Notice that the rise of the GOP in the South exactly paralleled the collapse of the Democrats’ conservative wing, not its segregationist wing.

  23. Hal_10000 says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    Which is, funny enough, exactly what the Republicans say. “Democrats play nasty and we play nice so time to play nasty.”

  24. Kathy says:

    @Dave Schuler:

    Ready answers, none. Ideas, plenty.

    To begin with, it’s imperative to remove as much power from trump and his GOP enablers as possible. So vote Democrat in the midterms, even if you hate the Democratic party. And urge others to do so, especially in GOP districts and in red states.

    That’s the easy one. The hard one is to either change the way both parties select candidates for popular elections, or to break the two party duopoly. This is so much harder, because the parties themselves are in full control of both things, and apparently are happy about it.

    IMO, there is enough ideological diversity to support at least three big national parties, but the rules favor the existence of only two. While from time to time new parties may succeed, they do so only at the expense of another. Like the Republicans’ success in the XIX century spelled the end of the Whig party.

  25. Franklin says:

    @Modulo Myself: I am generally *for* Frum’s plan, but yeah I came to say the same thing about the Soviet example – didn’t actually work, did it? But then again, those dissenters didn’t have anywhere near the power that we do.

    Crediting the plan to Frum isn’t exactly accurate, though. Being decent is still being decent. Rule of Reciprocity is still a good start. There are so many vile things on the Right that this should be easy to win, but then along comes Samantha Bee to drop the c-bomb which effectively lets Roseanne off the hook.

  26. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Dave Schuler:

    How do we move the country forward in a productive way? It’s a question to which I don’t have a ready answer.

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Neither do I, unfortunately. .

    I think the answer has to begin with Republicans themselves…they have to clean up their own house. Someone in that party has to stand up and say enough…but right now they are so enamored with their power that they don’t care about what is becoming of their party or what that, in turn, is doing to the nation.
    Steve Schmidt is a good example of a Republican who is very concerned and very vocal about those concerns…but he’s not a party leader.
    Someone, who isn’t dying or quitting, has to grow some balls and say “this isn’t who we are”.
    Until that happens we are in a downward spiral.

  27. george says:


    I think the problem isn’t that they endorsed Trump (guilt by association never, ever turns out well – if a murderer endorses you it doesn’t automatically make you a murderer). The problem is that Trump didn’t renounce their endorsements.

    Not that that necessarily makes Trump a racist either (just as there are opportunists who will happily use a murderer without actually being murderers themselves); however it makes Trump someone willing to follow racist agendas for his own personal benefit. And there’s no practical difference between that and being a racist.

    I don’t care if someone is a racist or an opportunist. In fact I don’t care if someone is promoting hate because they think its in a good cause; its the hate that is wrong, and the reason for it is basically irrelevant.

  28. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    And Melania is still MIA.

  29. Hal_10000 says:


    I think that gets at an important point. Regardless of whether Trump is a racist, he thinks the country is. And so he tends to blow these dog whistles and … surprise! … the racists come out of the woodwork. They feel encouraged to do things like march in C’Ville.

  30. Steve V says:

    @James Pearce: In other words, a little PC maybe isn’t such a bad thing.

  31. James Pearce says:

    @Modulo Myself:

    Frum, btw, is the guy who coined Axis of Evil, so you know this a man who abhors rhetorical excess.

    Whatever his Bush-era sins, I believe Frum is a decent human being and an astute commentator.

    Don’t get stuck on the “During Soviet times” stuff. That wasn’t his main point.

  32. James Pearce says:

    @Steve V:

    In other words, a little PC maybe isn’t such a bad thing.

    Frum was asking for decency…not “political correctness.”

  33. Kylopod says:


    The Southern Strategy is a good bedtime story for Democrats to tell themselves, but what really happened is a bit more complex.

    The Southern Strategy is no “bedtime story.” It is well-documented that Republicans did employ such a strategy. Now, it would be an oversimplification to suggest that the entire South suddenly started voting Republican after the passage of the Civil Rights Act. The historical allegiance of the South to the Democratic Party was far too powerful to disappear overnight. Moreover, the line you’re drawing between the segregationist wing and the conservative wing is a lot blurrier than you are implying. An essential element of the Southern Strategy was that many of the themes of the New Right had distinctly racial overtones, and it was something that even many Southern Democrats in the modern era continued to exploit to some degree.

  34. Modulo Myself says:


    You can be decent and still make mean jokes about powerful people. And women use the c-word, so I don’t know what the big deal is.

    Frum’s argument is basically reduced to talk carefully and repress your instincts. Which made sense in the USSR. People didn’t call Stalin a gruesome d—less pig because it was tasteless–it was because they were afraid of being informed upon and having their teeth torn out.

  35. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Donald Trump may or may not be racist himself,

    If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, what difference does it make? Treat him like the racist POS he wants everybody to think he is,

  36. Modulo Myself says:

    @James Pearce:

    Don’t get stuck on the “During Soviet times” stuff. That wasn’t his main point.

    Ah yes–read this, but read it in a way that you agree with, and then follow this advice, or else.

  37. MarkedMan says:

    @Hal_10000: The Southern Strategy had played out by the nineties? Are you kidding me? The Southern Strategy is the predominant strategy of the Republican Party to this day. Their Presidential candidates literally campaign on the principle that coastals are not real Americans. Stir up racial tensions and make it clear they stand with the whites, back to back, against all the “others”.

    As for it being a myth, that’s just a “We’ve always been at war with Eastasia” level of historical rewrite. Don’t trust me, go read Republican Senator Jacob Javits’ article length howl in 1964 begging his party not to go down this path, and outlining virtually everything it would lead to, starting with the fact that it could never be the temporary usage of the racist fools for one election and then back to the status quo, as its proponents hoped. The only thing that he got wrong was he didn’t give enough due to the importance of momentum and habit in political affiliation, and so ought the crisis would come much sooner, in his lifetime. He didn’t realize that large numbers of decent Republicans, including some key party leaders, would stick with their party until they died.

    A generation ago, Patrick Buchanan stood exactly in Trumps space. Ok. Not an exact match as Buchanan had 200% of Trump’s IQ, 150% of Trump’s racism, but only 50% of his overtness. But at that point their were still party leaders and rank and file voters who could withhold the racists from nominating him. Those people are gone.

  38. Modulo Myself says:

    Trump’s genius is that he can talk about getting away with murder, and it’s fine, but if an opponent says the Republican Party is a bunch of lock-step robots, then it’s wrong. “He thinks you’re dogs–t” is a reasonable and factual statement to tell a Trump supporter. It’s also very insulting: no secret police are enforcing this obedience.

  39. James Pearce says:

    @Modulo Myself:

    then follow this advice, or else.

    Or else someone will pull your teeth out?

  40. KM says:

    The way I usually explain Trump is to liken him to vaping. Smoking was and still is a large part of life in America but in recent times acquired a massive negative social stigma. It’s very hard to find a proud smoker these days; even if you catch someone with a cigarette in their hand, they’ll spin some song and dance about “wanting to quit” and just somehow never quite succeeding to get you off their case. Most either faded in the background sneaking breaks in ever more isolated locales, reduced it down to a few quick puffs during times of “stress” or found a new addiction to love. It was a dirty, sordid habit you knew you were being judged for and resented the hell out of it. Smokers couldn’t get dates, had their insurance jacked up and basically were treated like pariahs when smoking in public.

    Then came vaping and suddenly it wasn’t so bad. This was DIFFERENT. It wasn’t the same as before – you could vape without the same restrictions society leveled on smokers. People cater to you and go out of their way to sell you custom products to suit your whims; you’re a valued customer again, not a statistic they need to replace to keep the business running. You could have your habit and social acceptance too because vaping is IN, baby. Smokers gleefully vape indoors and in front of pregnant women and gripe that it’s just “scented water vapor, what’s your problem”? There’s a satisfying sense of getting away with it that incredibly tempting to a group that was on society’s shit list not too long ago and draws them back to something bad for them and the public in general.

    Trump is to racism what vaping is to smoking – a reinvention of the wheel that lets people unapologetically indulge in something society had deemed terrible while changing very little of the actual activity. He made them acceptable in public again and for that alone, his acolytes will love him till the day they die.

  41. Modulo Myself says:

    @James Pearce:

    Your entire schtick amounts to do what I tell you or get what you deserve. You’re just not very good at it.

    And per Dave Schuler, master of reciprocity, here’s a nice bit of behavior from his blog:

    Close the border, zero immigration, and deport all illegals, including any children born to them. In the interim, while waiting for actual transfer put all illegals and the children born to them in concentration camps.

    You will need to amend the 14th, but do it.

    We already have a large, violent and unassimilable black minority, we don’t need any others.

    Of course, it’s probably too late. History shows that multicultural, multiethnic empires like the USA are only held together by brutal despots, viz. Iraq et al. So Iraq is our future.

    sam 
    You seem just fine with brutal despotism.

    Dave Schuler 
    He does raise an interesting question. When does enforcing the law end and “brutal despotism” begin? From the point of view of the lawbreaker all law is brutal despotism.

    Guarneri 
    Don’t ask sam to actually deal with thorny issues. Petty name calling is more his speed. Reynolds replacement.

    It’s very, very tough. No one in their right mind wants to harm children. But the blatant exploitation by their parents, politicians and zealots ranks among the most despicable of crimes. Thins requires more thought. I’m not thinking there is an elegant solution…..

    Dave Schuler 
    Take the example of a news report I saw the other day. They interviewed a woman separated from her teenage son at the border. She was Brazilian and said that her husband beat her. I sympathize with the woman’s situation and it’s too bad she and her son were separated but by what stretch of the imagination is she a refugee? There should have been an immediate status hearing and she and her son should have been tossed out.

    Concentration camps–such an interesting issue. Dave’s just modeling his behavior on being Auschwitz-curious, and maybe Guarneri can come here and blurt out his useless cheap nonsense, and pretend he’s laughing, rather than living in shoddy fury about tricky parents loving their children.

  42. gVOR08 says:


    What else do you need to know?

    The Central Park Five.
    Which along with the Birther thing makes it clear that Trump is, and has long been, a racist. We may not be able to prove what’s in Trump’s hypothetical heart well enough to meet Jame’s standards for journalists, but seriously, is there any doubt?

    Doug, Obama’s birth certificate was on his campaign website in the primaries. He later posted the “long form” certificate that Trump and the rest of them had made a big deal of, and that hardly ended the “persistent claims that he was an illegitimate President, that he wasn’t really born in the United States, and that he was a “secret Muslim.””

  43. MarkedMan says:

    You could have your habit and social acceptance too because vaping is IN, baby.

    FWIW, Vapers look like ridiculous clowns to me.

  44. James Pearce says:

    @Modulo Myself: My entire schtick is to get liberal people to stick up for liberal values. And, holy god, it’s nearly impossible.

    You should listen to those commenters and not just dismiss them as racists. Bob Sykes certainly sounds like a racist, but he also sounds like a guy who thinks multiethnic societies require a despot. Shall I call him names? Or can I convince him that we dont need despotism and maybe soften his stance on multiculturalism?

  45. James Pearce says:

    @MarkedMan: what do smokers look like to you? Animals?

  46. george says:

    @James Pearce:

    Actually all humans are animals. The only people I know who think otherwise are a small subset of creationists, who think humans are created as some sort of special image of God, and so not animals.

    Calling someone an animal is supposed to be an insult, but that’s just a carry-over from the days before evolution (and modern biology), and mainly in the Biblical tradition at that. Many cultures have long felt a bond with other animals, and know its no insult to be called one. My grandfather used to reply to being called an animal with “yup, in spirit a bear in fact”.

  47. Dave Schuler says:

    @Modulo Myself:

    What makes you think that I approve of Bob Sykes’s ideas? I don’t.

    I notice that you don’t have a practical solution to the problem I was discussing there but that’s typical. You have a lot of hate but very little positive to offer. The easiest way to disprove that is not to offer more hate but to offer some positive suggestion. Again, model the behavior you’d like to see from others.

  48. MarkedMan says:

    @James Pearce: (Speaking as an ex-smoker) Ridiculous Clowns

    I have to admit that I am embarrassed to tell my kids that I once smoked. They have never asked me, so I don’t know why it is important that they know it, but I have told them anyway under some vague notion that it will do them some good. This may be a “good intentions – bad father” moment.

  49. MarkedMan says:


    My grandfather used to reply to being called an animal with “yup, in spirit a bear in fact”.

    Just out of curiosity, exactly how often did someone call your grandfather an animal? 😉

  50. Modulo Myself says:

    @Dave Schuler:

    Probably reading the exchange, I guess. And your problem is in your head–nobody sane or caring is vexed by the existence of ‘lawbreakers’ who cross an invisible line vs actual crime. As far as I can tell your problems are designed to elevate you and dehumanize others. No one is fooled, Dave–trust me. That’s why you’re so bitter.

    Wait–the concentration camp guy and Guarneri are fooled.

  51. MarkedMan says:

    Why do I associate smoking with being a ridiculous clown? Well, my reason for starting to smoke when I was thirteen was that I used to play poker with my smoking friends for cigarettes and then sell them back the cigarettes (Why? We were thirteen…) One day, I completely cleaned them out and when they ran out of cigarettes I completely cleaned them out of their money too. So I couldn’t sell the cigarettes back to them. I hung out behind my parents garage with another non-smoking friend and we both lit up and tried it. He was a smarter kid than I. I was, in fact, a ridiculous clown.

  52. TM01 says:

    I’m old enough to remember when Condi Rice was called the House Ni–a. When Clarence Thomas was called an Uncle Tom. All those political cartoons portraying Rice with big lips, the negro dialect (thanks, Crazy Uncle Joe), etc.

    And Tim Scott is the house negro (Senate!).

    And I tell ya, you just can’t walk into a 7-11 without hearing an Indian accent!

    If Roseanne were a hard core leftist and she said that about Condi Rice, she would have issued a little non-apology apology and we’d all have moved on within a couple of days.

    Spare me your faux outrage.

  53. TM01 says:

    You people normalized racism by NEVER calling out your own side and just accepting it from yourselves.

  54. MarkedMan says:

    @Dave Schuler:

    I notice that you don’t have a practical solution to the problem I was discussing

    I more or less agree with Modulo here. Why is this such a terrible problem? Under the “Republican Sensible Immigration Plans” my parents wouldn’t be allowed in the country. They both had an elementary education, which meant under their Irish school system they went to school until they were 16. They were farmers. When my mother came she was a nanny and when my father came he worked for a farmer and then became a plasterer. To you Republicans they were just trash. Or would you have exempted them because they were white? Remember, though, they are Irish Catholics and in 1950 “the good kind of people” didn’t want to let any more Catholics into the country, especially those drunken ape-like Irish.

    Despite this I actually do think we need to have sensible immigration laws. I just have zero trust in the racist Republican Party and their fellow travelers to do anything more than develop policies to kick the little guy to the curb.

  55. george says:


    Calling indigenous peoples animals used to be common. Typically with an adjective like “dirty” or “drunken” in front of it.

  56. MarkedMan says:

    @george: There is real irony in the Deep South white’s obsession with how black people’s culture and (said only in private) genetics are what keeps them down. Reading the stories behind the newly unveiled lynch memorial alone is enough to make you wonder if Southern white’s are anything but depraved monsters condemned to a life of misery due to their culture of sadistic and twisted violence (ex: attend church then bring the whole family including kids to the lynching, where a hapless human being is hoisting up with a noose , being careful not to actually choke him to death so that he is still suffering when you set a fire underneath and slowly roast him alive. Then take your family, including kids, to the professional photographer who specialized in lynchings to get a picture taken with the corpse in the background, to be made into a postcard and sent to family and friends. It would be easy to write such people off as mindless savages who could never become decent Americans. At least, until we remember that if we scratch beneath just about any human’s history we can find such appalling savagery. Heck, until not so long ago my ancestors were painting themselves blue and eating each other.

  57. grumpy realist says:

    Guess we’re going to have to lose our position in the world to the Chinese and have all non-Chinese people being treated as Not Those Worthy of Power before we learn exactly how stupid indulging in this sort of behaviour is.

    After the British vote for Brexit, they have seen a huge jump in racial crimes and anti-foreign comments (“go back to your own country” when someone speaks a foreign language) is the mildest. Of course, because of this, they’re getting more and more highly-skilled foreigners either leaving or not coming. Which, since the U.K. has depended on said highly-skilled foreigners for a) medicine b) research c) entrepreneurial activities d) investments, will mean the U.K. should look forwards to a poorer and crappier economy. They’ll also discover that British individuals who DO want to work in whatever is considered the “best country for opportunities” will be going abroad and contributing elsewhere–not in Britain.

    I suspect that the only way out of the problem in the US is for us to break the country in pieces as the Republican Party becomes less and less inhabited by the Eisenhower Republicans and more and more a straight White Rights party against everyone else. Let the turds who think that their pasty skin colour entitles them to everyone treating them as The Master Race actually try to create a competitive (and growing) economy. The rest of the world will just laugh at them, as it already is starting to laugh at Trump.

  58. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @James Pearce: The two Daves:

    How do we move the country forward in a productive way? It’s a question to which I don’t have a ready answer.

    The best I can come up with is the Rule of Reciprocity. Model the behavior you want to see from others.


    There’s a lesson here. Donald Trump and the political movement behind him are empowered by ugly talk. Their own talk stands out less sharply in contrast. “You did it first … you did it worse … you do it more” are accurate enough answers, but they are not as powerful as not doing it at all.

    Let Trump be Trump.

    Let decent people be decent.

    I’m not seeing a distinction. Why are you?

  59. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Modulo Myself: Now THAT was an interesting idea. Thank you!

  60. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    Someone, who isn’t dying or quitting, has to grow some balls and say “this isn’t who we are”.

    That’s gonna be tough: it is who they are! Unless the speaker has a mouse in his pocket, he’s gonna find that there isn’t any we.