Explaining Trump’s Racist Attacks On ‘The Squad’

The President's decision to base his re-election campaign on racism and stoking racial and ethnic divisions is quite simple to explain.

The news this week has largely been dominated by the reaction, or in the case of Republicans the lack thereof, to the President’s racist tweets and comments about four minority Democratic Congresswomen, including the comment that they should ‘go back where they came from’ if they don’t like how the country is being run. As we saw on Wednesday night in North Carolina, that rhetoric has been eagerly lapped up by President Trump’s supporters and, while he attempted to distance himself from the way the crowd acted yesterday, today he was back to endorsing it. Meanwhile, we’ve also seen nearly all the Republicans in the House and the Senate, as well as Republican proxies who appear on cable news and, of course, the White House’s propagandists at Fox News Channel take up the President’s argument that the real issue is the allegedly offensive things that these women have said in the past.

For most other Americans, the President’s comments are being perceived as racist, but that doesn’t seem to matter to him, and a recent poll demonstrates why:

Regardless of whether you think it was racist for President Trump to urge four nonwhite (and mostly non-immigrant) Democratic freshman congresswomen to “go back” to their countries, the practical effect is clear: He’s pitting himself against these minority women to help him win reelection in 2020, no matter how ugly that strategy is.

And a new poll shows just how ugly it could get.

The Economist and pollster YouGov are out with a survey testing the images of a bevy of politicians, including all the big-name 2020 presidential contenders, party leaders and the four freshmen Trump targeted Sunday. The poll was conducted beginning Sunday, the morning on which Trump sent those racist tweets, so it provides a good window into how people viewed the four congresswomen as they were thrust into the spotlight.

As you peruse it, it becomes clear that the conventional wisdom about why Trump picked these targets is right: They were ripe for motivating the GOP base. Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.), Ilhan Omar (Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (Mich.) are already hugely unpopular among Trump voters. All of them are better known among Republicans than Democrats, which suggests that a steady stream of coverage in conservative media has elevated them as potential Democratic bogeywomen. Trump is tilling fertile soil.

And in fact, they might already be his most effective foils.

Ocasio-Cortez is viewed “very unfavorably” by 74 percent of voters who supported Trump in 2016, while Omar is at 65 percent and Tlaib is at 58 percent.

But those differences are mostly a function of name ID. If you adjust their “very unfavorable” ratings for the percentage who have actually heard enough to rate them, the picture becomes clearer. By this measure, Trump voters already rate them as three of the four Democrats they dislike the most — more than any of the 2020 Democratic presidential hopefuls, even. Only House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.), who is tied with Tlaib for third-most-disliked, prevents them from monopolizing the top four spots.

(Rep. Ayanna Pressley (Mass.) was the fourth congresswoman Trump targeted. She remains less well known and less despised than the other three members of “the Squad.”)

(…)

Whatever Trump’s real motivations here, he has a political incentive to keep the focus on these three women (not to mention the next two people on the list, who are also women: Pelosi and Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts).

That doesn’t necessarily mean Trump’s tweets were a good idea — it’s possible to keep the focus on the right opponents without tweeting something racist that could alienate swing voters — but Trump is a politician obsessed with pleasing his base. If his supporters respond to something, he’s going to keep doing it. And he suggested as much in a new interview with the Daily Mail. Asked whether he was pleased with how this whole situation panned out, he said, “Well, let’s put it this way: I’m not unhappy.

Trump has shown before that he’s perfectly willing to demean his political opponents, especially women (Clinton) and racial minorities (Obama), in intensely personal ways. What happens when his targets are both of those things? It seems we’re about to find out, over and over again.

In other words, in “the squad” Trump has found a political target that he can attack at will with the roaring approval of his supporters, which is really the only electoral demographic that he cares about. The fact that it also taps into the same racially divisive themes that he based his first campaign, and indeed much of his Presidency, on is merely icing on the cake. It’s also consistent with his past behavior of tapping into the hatred of his supporters to keep them afraid and motivated. In 2016, it was hatred of Hillary Clinton, and that led to the “Lock Her Up!” chants that were so common at Trump rallies back in the day. It also explains his frequent attacks on MexicansMuslimsdisabled people, a Federal District Court Judge who happened to be Mexican-American and a Gold Star Family who happened to be Muslim. It also explains why he attacked N.F.L. players who knelt for the National Anthem, and why he called them “sons of bitches.”He says these things because he knows the crowds will eat it up and that they’ll not only give him and his racism a pass, but that they actually support it.

Along the same lines, political analyst Ron Brownstein notes that Trump likely needs to keep stoking racial divides if he wants to win in 2020:

Trump has telegraphed that, ahead of 2020, he hopes to focus at least as much on the jagged divide of “Who is a real American?” as on the traditional question incumbent presidents seeking reelection highlight during generally good economic times: “Are you better off than you were four years ago?”

That choice may reflect the convergence of inclination and calculation. Trump’s instinct is to center his politics on cultural and racial conflicts that pit Americans uneasy about the nation’s changing identity against those who welcome or accept it. But Trump also faces clear evidence that he may be unable to build a winning coalition with just the voters satisfied with his performance in office. That’s evident even with an economy that’s booming, at least according to measures like the low unemployment rate and the soaring stock market

Brownstein goes on to dissect the findings of recent polls and poll analysis that find that, while voters are giving Trump credit for the state of the economy they are still uneasy about him, but that there is a portion of that group that potentially remains persuadable and that’s where the divisive rhetoric comes into play:

Those numbers notwithstanding, [GOP pollster Gene] Ulm doesn’t consider the obstacles Trump faces with these voters insurmountable: “He’s creeping up with them.” Like most Republican strategists I’ve spoken to, he sees three keys to Trump converting conflicted voters: focusing their attention on his economic record, soothing their concerns about his behavior and rhetoric, and painting Democrats as ideologically extreme. “When you separate Trump out on it, and you look at the commentary on these voters, they are by no means liberal voters,” Ulm says. “You have a lot of people [who] like everything he’s doing but would never have him [over] for dinner.”

With his openly racist and xenophobic attacks on four Democratic congresswomen, Trump this week has elevated the third goal at the price of impeding (if not incinerating) the first two. Still, Ulm sees little risk for Trump with these conflicted voters in deploying such language. ” I don’t think it affects moving them one way or another,” he says. “So much of how he talks … is just built into his stock price.”

That last point is well taken. We’ve been exposed to so much nonsense from Trump over the past four years since he entered the race for the White House, and indeed long before that, that’s it’s hard to believe that there’s anything that he can say or do that will shock people anymore. It’s even harder to believe that there’s anything he can say or do that will cause his hardcore supporters to abandon him. As he is fond of saying, he could murder someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, and these people would still support him. What makes anyone think that they are going to abandon him over racist comments like the ones he’s been spewing this week, especially when the polls show that they agree with him?

The lesson from all of this, of course, is that we’re unlikely to see this racially divisive strategy of Trump’s come to an end. If anything, it’s likely to get much, much worse as we get closer to the election, especially if the current polling that shows the President losing to several of the top Democratic contenders in key states. With numbers like that, Trump knows that he can’t and likely won’t win if he runs a campaign that attempts to broaden his base, which is the strategy that most incumbent President’s try to use when running for re-election. The only hope he has is to rile up his base and hope that their turnout in key states is stronger than Democratic turnout, or at least strong enough for him to pull off what would likely be another narrow Electoral College win, perhaps one even narrower than the one he won in 2016 which ranks at 46th among the 58 Presidential elections we’ve had since 1789. (Source) Will it work? I’ll tell you on November 4th, 2020.

FILED UNDER: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Campaign 2020, Donald Trump, Politicians, US Politics, , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds 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. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Stormy Dragon says:

    Rep. Ayanna Pressley (Mass.) was the fourth congresswoman Trump targeted. She remains less well known and less despised than the other three members of “the Squad.”

    It’s not coincidence that the least known of the four is the one who has an ethnically ambiguous name.

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  2. DrDaveT says:

    All of them are better known among Republicans than Democrats

    THIS IS THE KEY.

    Trump’s attacks on The Squad would be pointless if they didn’t rile up the base, and they wouldn’t rile up the base if they hadn’t been teed up in advance by Fox News and the rest of the Fascist Disinformation Complex. This is no different in kind than stories of Hillary Clinton running pedophile pizza parlors, in terms of goals and effects. And Trump is not the only GOP official in on the con — take note of how many of the Congressional responses repeat the talking points about ‘communists’ who “hate America”.

    I was over at DuffelBlog today, and an ad popped up that had a poll question: “Do you think that the Democratic Party is attempting to force a socialist agenda on the American people?” 88% of the 16,000 respondents said “Yes”. That’s the level of propaganda saturation we’re up against.

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  3. Jen says:

    […] political analyst Ron Brownstein notes that Trump likely needs to keep stoking racial divides if he wants to win in 2020.

    I think this is one of the most depressing sentences I’ve read in a while.

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  4. CSK says:

    @Jen: Yes, it is.

  5. Steve V says:

    @DrDaveT: Watching them tee off on AOC in real time when she was elected was something behold. The threw everything at the wall no matter how stupid it was (like her dancing video), and online libs said “ha, she’s living rent free in their heads.” But they ultimately succeeded in making it so that no self-respecting Republican could ever publicly acknowledge anything positive about her.

  6. Teve says:

    @Jen: a meme that went around social media last month said ‘it has not yet begun to get as stupid and ugly as it is going to get.’

  7. grumpy realist says:

    I’m sure the Russians are loving all of this.

  8. michael reynolds says:

    Roughly 75% of voters are white. Trump is betting that at least 2/3 of them are racists. If he’s right, the country is finished. He has utter contempt for the intelligence and moral core of white people, and so far he’s not wrong. See our local liberated racists, @Guarneri and @Paul. Three years ago they’d have pretended at least not to be racist, now they are openly racist and proud of it. The psychopath correctly assessed them and those like them. It’s the genius of the psychopath to find weakness and exploit it.

    Interestingly, Trump and I share an opinion on that. I’ve always said most people are racist, tribalist, nativist. And most men and quite a few women are misogynist. I think we were led to premature optimism by a black president and gay marriage. The troglodytes are still out there, they are very numerous and beyond shame.

    That said, even the unlikable Hillary beat Trump by 3 million votes. If a third or more of whites are actually decent people, we win. If.

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  9. Gustopher says:

    Remember when rank and file Republicans were horrified when David Duke ran for office as a Republican? That was a nice time.

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  10. wr says:

    The trouble is that Trump’s hardcore racist base wouldn’t have been enough to eke out even that “win” he got in 2016 — there were plenty of voters who didn’t like either candidate and either sat out the election (or voted third party — same thing) or decided to roll the dice with the unknown rather than settling for a known they already disliked. How many of those people are going to come rallying around to “get out unless you’re white and pro-Trump”?

    And how many black and brown voters who sat out 2016 are going to be mobilized to vote by this?

    You can’t win an election simply by making the people who were already going to vote for you even more excited about voting for you…

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  11. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    This is going to be the ugliest campaign in our history.
    Get ready for it…

  12. michael reynolds says:

    @grumpy realist:
    Then again the Russians are idiots. They actually helped Hitler rise to power. And how did that work out?

    They tried collective farming – famine.

    They tried to destroy ethnic groups within the USSR and now? How many ‘Stans are there?

    They made their European conquests (Poland, East Germany, Czechoslovakia, etc…) into servile client states. We made ‘our’ Europeans and the Japanese into allies. Now ‘their’ Europeans are ‘our’ Europeans, and Japan is a great big American aircraft carrier.

    More recently they’ve cleverly managed to get NATO to strengthen the Baltic countries they’ve had their eye on.

    Getting Trump installed was brilliant intelligence work, perhaps the greatest intelligence coup in history. But if we kick the creep out in 2020, what have they got then? Sanctions as far as the eye can see, and a US military and intelligence community looking for sweet revenge.

    They’re great spies. They are not strategists. This huge, populous country full of boundless resources and yet for about two centuries perhaps their single most important goal has a warm water port. And what do they have to show for it? Nada. In 200 years we went from tobacco farming to world dominance, and they’re still looking for an ice free port.

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  13. grumpy realist says:

    An excellent analysis of Trump’s counterpart, Boris Johnson and of the English culture that he swims in. He, too, is the master of the knowing wink and all-purpose trolling.

    The problem is, of course–that at some point you have to step away from the arch quips and actually start to be competent at leading–which Boris is not. Looks like the Brits are going to have to learn the hard way that you can’t successfully run a country on “old-school ties”, snark and bluffing.

  14. Kylopod says:

    @wr:

    The trouble is that Trump’s hardcore racist base wouldn’t have been enough to eke out even that “win” he got in 2016 — there were plenty of voters who didn’t like either candidate

    This is an important point. I’d roughly divide his 2016 voters into three categories:

    (1) The hardcore MAGA cultists. This is the category that a lot of people routinely confuse with “Trump supporters,” even though not everyone who voted for Trump in 2016 fell in this category, and he couldn’t have won if his vote had been limited to this crowd.

    (2) Republican-leaning voters who voted based on the R after Trump’s name. They may have found Trump repugnant on some level, but in the end their partisan loyalty won out.

    (3) Swing voters who decided to roll the dice for the more unusual candidate promising to shake things up, over the widely disliked emblem of the late-20th-century political establishment.

    My sense is that (3) has shrunk while (2) has expanded and (1) has stayed more or less the same. His racism may be a way of revving up (1), but it also alienates those in the other two categories. So his “strategy,” if you call it that, is not without risk.

    Of course I don’t believe it’s a strategy at all. It’s just Trump being Trump. He doesn’t know how to do anything else.

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  15. grumpy realist says:

    @michael reynolds: The only reason we have to worry about the Russians is because we haven’t bothered to protect ourselves from their fake news and we have this idealistic view that a stupid idea will always lose to a smart idea when argued about in the marketplace of ideas. Hence our vulnerability to their trolls and cyber warring.

    The only reason the Russians have any economy at ALL at present is because they have all those lovely minerals and oil in Siberia. Most of the scientific intelligencia educated under the USSR regime vamoosed after the fall of the Iron Curtain and have recreated lives for themselves in the EU and elsewhere. Russia has let its educational wealth slide down to the bare minimum and it doesn’t look like they’re going to bother recreating it.

    And as for the rest? They’ve turned into a nation of trolls.

  16. Teve says:

    If you have a working Stupidometer, I suggest you take the batteries out and make sure it is fully discharged before reading further:

    Diamond and Silk®
    @DiamondandSilk
    ·
    Jul 17
    Nancy Pelosi said the WORDS that the President used were racist. But those same words are in the Dictionary. Does that mean that the Dictionary is now racist? Should all Dictionaries be banned since Democrats are offended by words? #TDS

    yes they really said that.

  17. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Teve:
    The pathetic thing is that Trumpaloons will be repeating it from now on.

  18. Joe says:

    I think its worth remembering that part of this strategy – identifying the fringe element of the other party and identifying the entire party and its presidential candidate by the politics of that fringe – has been a standard strategy forever. The bonus for Trump is that the fringe element has taken the form of women of color with funny sounding names. It’s like they announced the category for final jeopardy and it turns out to be your life’s hobby.

  19. Jen says:

    @Teve: Oh dear lord…I can’t even with that. Once I’ve settled myself, I’ll check the ratio on that tweet.

    Then there’s this depressing analysis from the NYT’s Upshot.

  20. Bill says:

    @Gustopher:

    Remember when rank and file Republicans were horrified when David Duke ran for office as a Republican?

    I remember that well and the less well known 1982 write-in campaign that got Ron Packard elected to Congress. A skunk of a candidate named John Crean has won a 18 candidate Republican primary by less than 100 votes. Packard, who finished second and Mayor of Carlsbad California was encouraged by local republicans to run a write-in campaign though that risked a Democratic win. Packard won the general election with 37% of the vote and Crean came in third with 30-31%.

  21. Jay L Gischer says:

    Fear is a strategy that does work. It’s biggest weakness is that it tends to weaken over time. Exposure therapy for anxiety disorders is founded on this.

    This kind of thing is coming a year too soon. I think it might well run out of gas by the time the general election gets here. Ok, some people will be stubborn, but lots of people will know the other candidate by then.

  22. Kylopod says:

    @Teve: Diamond and Silk are two African American women who, like Candace Owens, were liberals who very suddenly decided to become avid Trump supporters and conservative-media superstars as soon as he appeared on the scene. It’s clear they’re being paid off, or perhaps decided they had more to gain from adopting this persona. That’s the case, I suspect, of a number of figures in the conservative world. (It’s apparently been going on for some time: there was an article in Vox last year by a woman who said that back in the late ’90s she’d been told by various agents that it would be lucrative for her to adopt a conservative persona.) Their arguments are going to sound moronic because it’s all just an exercise to them: just come up with as many new, creative ways of justifying their positions before an audience that will eat it up regardless.

    Of course it’s also possible they really are morons.

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  23. Teve says:

    Since Doug and James continue to violate my freedom of speech by not posting a new open thread, like the alinskyite communists they are, I’ll post Mr. Bouie’s take on Trump’s rally here:

    The Joy of Hatred

  24. Teve says:

    @Kylopod: I think that’s Poe’s Law, more or less.

  25. Gustopher says:

    @michael reynolds:

    This huge, populous country full of boundless resources and yet for about two centuries perhaps their single most important goal has a warm water port. And what do they have to show for it? Nada. In 200 years we went from tobacco farming to world dominance, and they’re still looking for an ice free port.

    They’re playing the long game, exporting oil and coal, and working on making St. Petersburg a warm-water port through global warming. If that doesn’t work out, and St. Petersburg is flooded by rising waters, there’s always Moscow.

  26. DrDaveT says:

    @Teve: Excellent article. People need to be reminded (constantly) that publicly-condoned festive lynching is not something from the dim past; it’s something living people remember personally.

  27. Kylopod says:

    @Teve:

    I think that’s Poe’s Law, more or less.

    There are elements of it. But Poe’s Law refers more to the difficulty in telling real extremism apart from parodies of it: whenever we say “not from The Onion.” People like Candace Owens or Diamond & Silk, if my theory about them is correct, aren’t parodists, they’re just scam artists falsifying their identity and beliefs in order to fleece the rubes. But it does make it hard to determine who in the conservative world really does believe what they’re saying or is faking it. This is a topic that I believe has gotten a lot less attention than it deserves. I sometimes wonder how many of these right-wing “stars” are for real.

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  28. Teve says:

    @DrDaveT: I live about 30 miles from a town in North Florida that had its last public lynching in the 1970s.

    (In 2016 the county that town is in went 76.43% for Trump)

  29. SenyorDave says:

    @Kylopod: Interesting that there doesn’t seem to be any parallel on the left. Probably part of the same reason there is no liberal talk radio. Although on the talk radio side it might have more to do with the fact that most liberals/progressives/people on the left don’t have a whole lot of interest in listening to a few hours of people saying things I mostly agree with.
    Whereas I do think there is a need among some on the right to listen to people like Tucker Carlson validate their racist ideologies and have someone say that no, telling people of color to go back where they came from is just the American way, in fact it is a form of patriotism.

  30. Teve says:

    @SenyorDave: I wonder if that no liberal talk radio thing was just a result of only old white people bothering with the am dial.

    In the new podcasting world which is maybe a little more tech-savvy and overall smarter content, the big majority of the most popular podcasts are liberal. This American Life, Radiolab, Pod Save America.

  31. SenyorDave says:

    @michael reynolds: I don’t think that 2/3 of the whites in this country are racist. I also think that this “go back where you come from” has hurt Trump more than almost any of the sickening shit that he has said in the past. I think he got elected by a fairly small number of people who made there decision at the last minute who felt that he wasn’t perfect, but decided that he wasn’t that terrible, and felt that HRC was lucky not be in jail because of the Comey. I don’t think that his remarks appeal to anyone who wasn’t 100% in his camp already, and while they may fire up his base even more, it has to energize a lot of people who oppose him.
    IMO, stuff like this is why he will always stall at about 42-43% approval.
    But then again I live in a a very liberal, very diverse community in Maryland, so I don’t run into many Trump supporters.
    I just don’t see how this helps him with anyone other than his base.

  32. SenyorDave says:

    @Teve: Liberal talk radio has never been successful in modern times. I used to work for Arbitron, and one of my co-workers once did an internal talk on talk radio, and he specifically discussed why talk radio was, and is, almost 100% right wing. One thing he mentioned is that liberal talk radio hosts tend to try to listen to multiple points of view, while conservative talk radio tends to focus only on their beliefs. The opinion side of Fox is pretty much a monolith (is there really any distance between Hannity, Ingraham and Carlson?).
    Podcasts weren’t a big thing until about 2003 -2004, when the IPOD began to really catch on. Conservative talk radio has been around for a long time.

  33. Teve says:

    @SenyorDave: a long time ago in the nineties I was actually on a local radio station doing the news in the morning. This was back when you’d drive by and the place would have 12 cars in the parking lot, before the big clear channel etcetera consolidation and 98% of those jobs fucking vaporized.

  34. Kylopod says:

    @SenyorDave:

    Interesting that there doesn’t seem to be any parallel on the left.

    The left doesn’t have anywhere near the grifter problem. That’s not to say there aren’t individual examples (Michael Avenatti comes to mind), but there isn’t any equivalent to the giant right-wing infotainment complex which is built almost squarely on scamming its audience, from Glenn Beck’s Goldline to Alex Jones’ medical supplements. That Vox article I linked to is illustrative: has anyone ever been asked to be pretend to be a liberal for profit?

    In a way it’s almost inevitable a figure like Trump would have come along one way or another, since much of his career has involved doing just the sorts of things that are routine among right-wing hosts.

    (is there really any distance between Hannity, Ingraham and Carlson?).

    Hannity is a party hack who puts his finger to the wind (remember when he was slobbering over Rubio’s immigration plan back in 2013?), while Ingraham and Carlson are more overtly white nationalist, and Carlson sometimes veers toward economic populism and anti-interventionism (he’s praised some of the ideas of AOC and Elizabeth Warren, and he may have played a role in keeping Trump from attacking Iran).

  35. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Teve: Went to their website. Can’t decide whether they’ve overdosed on Kool-ade or are cashing in on the credulity of white folk. (On the other hand, it may have stopped being a schtick at some point, too.)

  36. Gustopher says:

    @Kylopod:

    has anyone ever been asked to be pretend to be a liberal for profit?

    Alan Colmes? Back when Fox wanted an in-house liberal punching bag, they had him.

  37. Scott F. says:

    @michael reynolds:

    From the Ron Brownstein piece Doug links to:

    Trump’s instinct is to center his politics on cultural and racial conflicts that pit Americans uneasy about the nation’s changing identity against those who welcome or accept it.

    The challenge/opportunity at hand for Democrats and liberals comes down to the tribalism you mention moreso than the racism. I’m a Northern European mutt and my mother’s side of the family has been in the US since Revolutionary days. I’m about as White American male as they come. But, Trump’s base hates me with every bit as much sweaty fervor as they hate immigrants and blacks, because I’m one of those Americans who welcomes the nation’s changing identity.

    The scope of people who are Them and Not Us continues to expand with the Trumpkins. As things get uglier, the Democrats can make it clear how easily an average American can be forced out of the In tribe for even minor infractions (like having the temerity to criticize a tweet from the president*). The people who might be persuaded to vote for Trump despite his behaviors will be troubled when they are faced with how little it takes for the shouting mobs to redirect their hatred from Rep. Omar to them.

  38. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Teve: I see what you are getting at. On another front, though, podcasting is based on niche marketing techniques whereas AM radio has always been a mass market phenomenon. The fact of mass market liberal radio not gaining traction may well be instrumental to the whole “great silent majority” schtick that conservatives cling to.
    [edit: paragraph break]
    One of Rush’s early ploys was to claim the mantle of “being equal time” to a medium that was then portrayed as leftist to the core. And a libertarian academic coworker used to portray his political opponents as “NPR people,” and would assert that the left had no success at talk radio because radio was already controlled by the left.

  39. mattbernius says:

    @Kylopod:

    has anyone ever been asked to be pretend to be a liberal for profit?

    If you find them, let me know.

    I think it’s worth noting that this is a common accusation made by RWM “conservatives.” For example our own @Guarneri accused J. J. of becoming more liberal for profit. Similar things have been said about a number of sworn “Never Trumpers.” Personally I think that says more about the people who make the accusations than their targets of scorn.

    All that said, I’m not sure anyone within the core Conservative Media Complex ever switched political ideologies purely for profit either. That isn’t to say that they haven’t doubled down for profit, but that’s a different topic all together.

    BTW, +100% on Michael Avenatti as a prime example of a liberal-leaning grifter and the relatively limited reach they have (especially in the long run).

  40. mattbernius says:

    @Gustopher:

    Alan Colmes

    Colmes was by all accounts a liberal. He just didn’t mind being a Fox-News Power Bottom.

    In his defense, from what I’ve read he really thought he was fighting for a progressive mindset on Fox.

  41. An Interested Party says:

    They’re great spies. They are not strategists. This huge, populous country full of boundless resources and yet for about two centuries perhaps their single most important goal has a warm water port. And what do they have to show for it? Nada.

    Indeed…how long (if ever) would it have taken them to develop nuclear weapons if their spies hadn’t stolen the technology from the West…as for that warm water port, no problem, they just steal one from Ukraine…easy peasy…

    Interesting that there doesn’t seem to be any parallel on the left. Probably part of the same reason there is no liberal talk radio.

    People on the right would say that NPR and the MSM are the parallel on the left…

    In his defense, from what I’ve read he really thought he was fighting for a progressive mindset on Fox.

    The poor delusional dear…

  42. Hal_10000 says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Roughly 75% of voters are white. Trump is betting that at least 2/3 of them are racists.

    1) I don’t think it’s a matter of racist vs. not-racist. Trump brings out people’s worst aspects. He makes otherwise decent people think in racist terms.

    2) Party loyalty is incredibly powerful. Most people will vote for their chosen party if it literally nominates Satan.

    So I don’t think Trump needs a bunch of racists to win nor do I think his voters include a huge number of racists. His plan is to agitate enough people about how bad that Democrats are that they don’t care about his racism.

  43. wr says:

    @Hal_10000: “I don’t think it’s a matter of racist vs. not-racist. Trump brings out people’s worst aspects. He makes otherwise decent people think in racist terms.”

    If “thinking in racist terms” doesn’t define a racist, what does? Unless we’re going to define it down to wearing white hoods and burning crosses, I’m totally perplexed here.

  44. DrDaveT says:

    @wr:

    If “thinking in racist terms” doesn’t define a racist, what does?

    The Right wants the standard to be “if you haven’t lynched anyone recently*, you’re not a racist”. That lets them both live happily with their own racism, and get all offended and snowflakey when their racism is pointed out. As we’ve seen, the next step after that is to loudly reject any accusation of racism against anyone, because of the long history of the Left labeling absolutely any innocuous behavior ‘racist’.

    Liberals recognize that pretty much everyone in America grows up racist to some extent — it’s nearly impossible to avoid — and so the important part is to recognize it (in yourself as well as in others) and work to flag it and shame it everywhere, so that we can make slow progress eliminating it. This is seen as “making everything about race” and “playing the race card” and now “hating America” by the Right.

    *Recently is important; people can change.

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  45. An Interested Party says:

    Trump brings out people’s worst aspects. He makes otherwise decent people think in racist terms.

    If such people were really decent they wouldn’t allow a conman to influence them to think in racist terms…

    Party loyalty is incredibly powerful. Most people will vote for their chosen party if it literally nominates Satan.

    So when it is revealed that Trump was involved in Epstein’s little girl parties, he’ll still end up being the GOP presidential nominee…

  46. Michael Reynolds. says:

    @Hal_10000:
    You’re naive and wrong about this. Yes the bulk of Trump supporters are racist. No one but a racist could tolerate his Nuremberg rallies. It’s pretty simple: if you can support that man saying those things then yes, yes you are a racist. Full stop.

  47. Frank says:

    @Michael Reynolds.: Hi Michael! Do you know the bulk of Trump supporters? No? Yeah, didn’t think so… Let’s assume I’m right in my assumption that you don’t “know” most of the 61 million people who support Trump, how are they racists? Better yet, what facts and proof do you have that Trump is racist? What’s that…? You don’t have any proof!? Oh wait but CNN, NBC, and OTB told you he was… ahhh… Please stop your suppositions of depravity before you open your mind to facts and evidence.

  48. Frank says:

    Doug, did you put even one bit of effort into writing this hot garbage of a post? Even the title brims with your air of apparent superiority over the rest of too stupid to see Trumps masterful 3D chess moves and need you to explain them to us because we are so ignorant we don’t recognize the hidden racism. If you take your entire post and remove all assumptions, innuendo, supposition and false narratives you have very little to nothing but adjectives left. What does this mean? You are void of any ability to think critically and process truth and reality. Please seek mental help as you are suffering from Trump Derangement Syndrome, if not for yourself please get help for the kitties. “Mostly classical liberal” is definitely NOT how I would describe Outside The Beltway. Its more like Star Trek meets South Park and then you all voted to make Mr. Hand President of the Universe.

  49. @Frank:

    Thank you for demonstrating in one rambling, incoherent paragraph the entire premise of my post.

  50. michael reynolds says:

    @Doug Mataconis:
    He could have saved himself so much time by just typing, “I’m an idiot.”

  51. Hal_10000 says:

    @Michael Reynolds.:

    No one but a racist could tolerate his Nuremberg rallies. It’s pretty simple: if you can support that man saying those things then yes, yes you are a racist. Full stop.

    Does the same apply to anti-Semitism? Democrats and liberals who have put with Farrakhan and his ilk for years? Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party? What about liberals who spent years cheering Fidel Castro or wearing Che Guevara shirts? I just want to know how deep this guilt-by-association goes.

  52. michael reynolds says:

    @Hal_10000:
    Yes is the short answer.

    If you support anti-semites you’re an anti-semite. (If you support Fidel or Che you’re mostly just a moron, a category that overlaps numerous others, as I’m sure you’ll agree).

    If you stand there and hear people chanting ‘send them home’ in reference to American citizens of color and are not nauseated, you’re a racist. That’s not ‘guilt by association’ it’s just plain guilt. One does not have to wear a white hood or use the ‘n’ word to be a racist.

    The huge difference is that black people are 13% of the population and whites are the overwhelming majority. I have always believed and said (and been berated by lefties on numerous occasions for my pains) that hatred of whites – Farrakhan – is racist. But it’s a bit like saying that cervical cancer and pancreatic cancer are the same. One is disfiguring but 100% curable. The other is 100% fatal. Both are bad, both are cancer, we should try to cure both, but one kills you and one doesn’t, and I think it makes sense to prioritize the fatal disease.

  53. Kylopod says:

    @Hal_10000:

    Does the same apply to anti-Semitism? Democrats and liberals who have put with Farrakhan and his ilk for years?

    What Democrat of any prominence has put up with Farrakhan? The only example I can think of is Keith Ellison, who has some history with the NOI but–and this is the key–denounced it on his way to becoming a Congressman. Now, you may question whether his shift was sincere or borne out of political expediency. But the fact that he felt the need to distance himself from his past speaks volumes about the differences between the parties.

    Republican racism isn’t just in the past of some officials; it’s in their present. You’ve got Trump telling women of color to go back to where they came from, who talks about the “very fine people” at a white nationalist rally, who denounces “shithole countries”; jeez, do I need to even go on? You’ve got Steve King, praising white nationalism now and meeting with an Austrian far-right party founded by actual Nazis that’s proposed a government registry for Jews and Muslims. You’ve got outright neo-Nazis and white nationalists winning the Republican nomination in several key 2018 races. Remember the synagogue attack in Pittsburgh? Several Republicans, including Matt Gaetz and Trump himself, endorsed the conspiracy theory behind the shooting (that the caravan of migrants was being funded by George Soros).

    None of that is “guilt by association.” It is guilt, period. I have never been shy about criticizing anti-Semitism whenever it appears on the left, from the Women’s March to Corbyn’s Labour Party. But it simply bears no equivalence to what is happening on the right, now, in the US. Your whataboutism is really weak.

  54. DrDaveT says:

    @Hal_10000:

    What about liberals who spent years cheering Fidel Castro or wearing Che Guevara shirts?

    I seem to have forgotten all of those liberal Senators and Representatives and cabinet members who went around cheering Fidel and wearing Che shirts. Could you remind me of a couple?

    (Or at least put the goalposts back where you found them…)

  55. Matt says:

    @DrDaveT: My internal response to his post was basically a continuous “WTF?”.. Talking about events and people who are completely irrelevant. Is it always the 60s/70s in Hal’s head? I wasn’t around then but I was there for the late 90s and on which contained none of what he was claiming.

  56. Hal_10000 says:

    @Kylopod:

    Basically, the CBC, which had several meetings with him over the last two decades (one of which included then state senator Barack Obama). And one of the squad – Tlaib, wrote a guest column for his publication.

    Equivalent to what’s going on with the GOP? No. But bad nonetheless.