Robert Costa and Philip Rucker, Trump’s push to amplify racism unnerves Republicans who have long enabled him
That is: Trump has only talked about protecting Confederate monuments.
He has not actually protected any Confederate monuments.
You know how they post ads on the web pages you read. Well, someone thought I might be in the market for a Last Supper face mask.
That did not seem like such a good idea, for a variety of reasons. But, I thought, maybe a St. Jude mask might be just the ticket. And, sure enough …
Standing in a packed amphitheater in front of Mount Rushmore for an Independence Day celebration, President Trump delivered a dark and divisive speech on Friday that cast his struggling effort to win a second term as a battle against a “new far-left fascism” seeking to wipe out the nation’s values and history.
With the coronavirus pandemic raging and his campaign faltering in the polls, his appearance amounted to a fiery reboot of his re-election effort, using the holiday and an official presidential address to mount a full-on culture war against a straw-man version of the left that he portrayed as inciting mayhem and moving the country toward totalitarianism.
Yes, friends and neighbors, I know, I know. The wish is father to the thought. But Milbank supplies us with actual data and with actual reason for considerable optimism. Read it for yourself. Some highlights:
Four years ago, Christopher Parker, an African American political scientist at the University of Washington, made the provocative argument that Donald Trump’s candidacy could “do more to advance racial understanding than the election of Barack Obama.” …
The reckoning Parker foresaw is now upon us. White women, disgusted by Trump’s cruelty, are abandoning him in large number. White liberals, stunned by the brazen racism, have taken to the streets. And signs point to African American turnout in November that will rival the record level of 2012, when Obama was on the ballot. This, by itself, would flip Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin to Democrats, an analysis by the liberal Center for American Progress shows. …
Trump has accelerated a decades-old trend toward parties redefining themselves by race and racial attitudes. Racial resentment is now the single most important factor driving Republicans and Republican-leaning movers, according to extensive research, most recently by Nicholas Valentino and Kirill Zhirkov at the University of Michigan — more than religion, culture, class or ideology. An ongoing study by University of North Carolina researchers finds that racial resentment even drives hostility toward mask-wearing and social distancing. Conversely, racial liberalism now drives Democrats of all colors more than any other factor. …
“For many white Americans, the things Trump is saying and getting away with, they just didn’t think they lived in a world where that could happen,” says Vincent Hutchings, a political scientist specializing in public opinion at the University of Michigan. Racist appeals in particular alienate white, college-educated women, and even some women without college degrees, he has found: “One of the best ways to exacerbate the gender gap isn’t to talk about gender but to talk about race.”
Trump’s racism has also emboldened white Democrats, who have often been on the losing end of racial politics since George H.W. Bush deployed Willie Horton against Michael Dukakis in 1988. “They’re embracing the racial issues they used to cower on in decades past,” Hetherington says.
This is what Parker had in mind when he wrote in 2016 that Trump could be “good for the United States.” The backlash Trump provoked among whites and nonwhites alike “could kick off a second Reconstruction,” Parker now thinks. “I know it sounds crazy, especially coming from a black man,” he says, but “I think Trump actually is one of the best things that’s happened in this country.”
Nothing surprising here, but Michelle Goldberg sums it up really, really well:
People voted for Trump for reasons besides racism. There was also sexism. Some voters were just partisan Republicans, or thought that reality TV is real and that Trump was as successful as “The Apprentice” made him seem. I once met a young man at a Trump rally who’d voted for Obama but was worried about the taxes he’d pay when he inherited his family’s car dealership.
Trump, however, seems to grasp that racism is what put him over the top. It’s what made his campaign seem wild and transgressive and hard to look away from.
Now Trump’s poll numbers are cratering, we have double-digit unemployment and our pandemic-ravaged nation has been rendered an international pariah. America is faring exactly as well under Trump’s leadership as his casinos, airline and scam university did. It’s not surprising that he’s returning to what he knows, and what seemed to work for him before.
In fact, Trump appears to think his problem is that he hasn’t been racist enough. On Wednesday, Axios’s Jonathan Swan reported that Trump regrets listening to his son-in-law Jared Kushner’s “woke” ideas — as a source put it — including on criminal justice reform. Instead, he wants to double down on law and order. “He truly believes there is a silent majority out there that’s going to come out in droves in November,” a source told Swan.
And so last week, as if to prod that silent majority, Trump tweeted out videos of Black people assaulting white people. (“Where are the protesters?” he asked.) He has made a point of calling the coronavirus the “kung flu.” At a time when even Mississippi is removing Confederate imagery from its state flag, Trump has thrown himself into the protection of what he calls “our heritage.”
He signed an executive order directing federal law enforcement to prosecute people who damage federal monuments — threatening them with up to 10 years in prison — and withholding funds from municipalities that don’t protect statues. (Whether this latter provision is enforceable is unclear.) He said he’d veto a $741 billion defense bill over a provision, written by Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, requiring that military bases honoring Confederates be renamed. Apoplectic over New York City’s plans to paint the words “Black Lives Matter” on Fifth Avenue in front of Trump Tower, he called the slogan “a symbol of hate.”
On Tuesday, Trump tweeted that he was considering scrapping an Obama-era housing regulation that required localities to address illegal patterns of residential segregation. He claimed that the initiative, which his administration had already put in limbo, was having a “devastating impact on these once thriving Suburban areas.”
The message to his white supporters seemed clear enough: Trump is going to fight to stop people of color from coming to your neighborhood.
The Times reported on the president’s rationale: “Mr. Trump and his campaign team, already concerned about his weakness in battleground states, have become increasingly alarmed by internal polling showing a softening of support among suburban voters.” Trump sees clearly — more clearly than most of his party — that racism is the main thing he has to offer.
There’s good reason to think that he’s misjudging these suburban voters. Polls show that a growing number of them, particularly women, are repelled by Trump’s race-baiting and divisiveness. But Republicans who complain that the president is undisciplined, that he can’t adhere to a strategy, miss the point: Bigotry has always been the strategy.
The Republicans who support him are yoked to that strategy. Their real frustration isn’t that it’s ugly but that it’s no longer working.
Y’all may not know this, but I am the Plutocracy Whisperer. So I would like to translate for you what the Business Roundtable, the United States Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers, and the National Retail Federation are trying to tell Orange Man.
They are trying to tell him,
Dear President Trump, Vice President Pence, and Governors Hogan and Cuomo,
The medical evidence is clear: the wearing of masks or face coverings in public settings, especially when it is not possible to consistently maintain social distancing, is a critical element to preventing the spread of COVID-19. Regrettably, in recent weeks we have seen evidence that in some areas where there is growing community spread, issuing voluntary guidance on masks is insufficient to protect public health. Absent stronger measures to prevent transmission, communities across America risk another round of shutdowns, broad restrictions on non-essential activities, and irreparable economic harm.
Current local and state mandatory mask requirements vary widely in scope, application, and enforcement. For example, there is variation on whether the mandate applies to all businesses, to just employees or also customers, and exemptions for age or other health conditions (e.g. asthma). In addition, in some locations the mandate is imposed on businesses for them to enforce. Not only has this led to public confusion and lower levels of consumer confidence, but it has also contributed to confrontations between customers and employees and litigation from both directions — enforcing mask requirements and failing to enforce mask requirements.
For the sake of public health and our economy, we request that the White House Coronavirus Task Force and the National Governors Association work together to:
To be clear, the decision to impose face covering requirements should remain at the state or local level but be informed by clear and consistent guidance based on data. We believe that a national mask standard, implemented locally, offers the surest way to protect public health and promote economic recovery.
Across the country, the business community is stepping up to not only manufacture masks, but also to distribute them free of charge, and to promote the wearing of face coverings. We stand ready to continue to work in partnership with government at all levels to combat this pandemic and support our economy.
Your Best Buds,
The Business Roundtable writes,
Business Roundtable Police Reform Principles
No effort to address policing issues will succeed without strong partnership and trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve, including neighborhood and civil rights groups, schools, religious leaders, social workers and mental health professionals, local employers and others. Business Roundtable applauds bipartisan support for more investment in programs to promote community policing and increase police force diversity and community representation. Business Roundtable members further commit to working with community groups to uplift underserved populations.
Data Collection and Transparency
Transparency is a core democratic value. It is essential not only to better protect our citizens, but also to build trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve. Better data on law enforcement officer misconduct will improve departments’ hiring decisions, hold departments accountable, inform solutions, and enable better targeting of resources. To obtain federal funding, police departments should be required to collect, maintain and report data, including on detentions and use of force, as well as demographic information about arrests and detainees.
The vast majority of police officers are dedicated public servants who pursue their work with courage and decency. For police officers who abuse their positions, or departments that allow abusive behavior, accountability is critical.
Business Roundtable supports the establishment of a National Police Misconduct Registry to maintain disciplinary records of officers, which will inform hiring decisions and promote public accountability. Data aggregated at the department level should also be made available to the public.
Further, the Department of Justice should establish minimum decertification standards to guide misconduct investigations, which should be carried to completion, whether or not an officer leaves the force, with findings of misconduct entered permanently on an officer’s record and available in a National Police Misconduct Registry.
To foster accountability at the department level, Business Roundtable supports grants to states to conduct pattern or practice investigations. Experience with Department of Justice investigations into actions involving a pattern or practice of conduct that violates individuals’ civil rights has shown that these types of investigations can lead to the adoption of new and constructive policies and procedures at the department level. 1
Minimum National Policing Standards
While principal responsibility for policing should remain at the state and local level, the continued crisis of excessive use of force, the loss of Black lives and the related loss of trust in law enforcement across many communities of color necessitates federal minimum standards for policing that are readily understood by the American public and tied to eligibility for federal grants. These standards should include a minimum national standard on use of lethal and non-lethal force; bans on chokeholds and carotid holds, except when deadly force is warranted; a duty to intervene; a ban on racial profiling; and a Department of Justice review and establishment of minimum credentialing and accreditation standards and procedures for officers.
Business Roundtable also urges policymakers to raise the standard for use of no-knock warrants and to require police departments to collect and report data around their use, including demographic information about the subjects, injuries, fatalities and whether use of the warrant produced admissible evidence of criminal activity.
Business Roundtable supports federal investments in more robust training programs, including on alternatives to use of force, de-escalation and crisis intervention, mitigation of implicit racial bias, and methods to intervene to prevent another officer’s excessive use of force. Business Roundtable also supports vital investments in training to allow officers to better respond to mental health and addiction – an under-resourced area – including through co-response with social workers and mental health experts. Federally-supported training programs should be rigorously studied to ensure their effectiveness. Business Roundtable welcomes the opportunity to assist police departments in developing sound, data-driven training.
There are a number of other issues likely to be addressed as part of the final negotiations, including compensation or restitution for victims. Business Roundtable would welcome the opportunity to play a constructive role on any issue. To achieve meaningful reform that fosters trust between police departments and the communities they serve, Business Roundtable urges Members of Congress to come together and enact legislation before Congress’s August recess.
Pew Research Center, Public’s Mood Turns Grim; Trump Trails Biden on Most Personal Traits, Major Issues
A fair and balanced thumbsucker on the subject described in the headline. Overall, Pollyanna was happy with the analysis.
Biden leads Trump by 12 percentage points, 53%-41%, the nationwide survey shows. In a three-way ballot test, including a third-party line, Biden leads the Republican incumbent 46%-37%.
Politico, the house organ for the plutocratic politicos, reports on a big split between Lone Ranger Mike Pence and the Unmasked Jared Kushner, generally known as Tonto:
The Trump White House has a new internal battle: how much to talk publicly about a pandemic that’s crippling huge swaths of America.
President Donald Trump’s top aides are divided over the merits of resuming national news briefings to keep the public informed about the latest coronavirus statistics as infection rates spike in large states including California, Texas, Florida, Arizona and Georgia.
White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, senior adviser Jared Kushner, press secretary Kayleigh McEnany and counselor to the president Hope Hicks are among the aides arguing against these regular sessions because they want to keep the White House focused on the path forward and the nascent economic recovery — without scaring too much of the country about a virus resurgence when infections are rising at different paces in different regions.
Other senior aides, as well as Vice President Mike Pence and his team, believe keeping Americans up to date about the nature of the outbreak is critical as the death toll rises. More than 126,000 people have perished in the U.S. because of the coronavirus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the government’s own experts are warning of serious trouble ahead.
The brewing internal fight shows the extent to which the White House has lost control of its messaging on Covid-19 — the disease caused by the novel coronavirus — as the majority of voters disapprove of Trump’s handling of the virus, according to interviews with a half-dozen current and former senior administration officials and Republicans close to the White House.
Trump’s standing in the polls has slipped in recent weeks among senior citizens, suburban women and white non-college-educated voters, all critical constituencies for the president heading into the heat of his reelection race. Top aides cannot determine the best way for Trump to appear in control of the response — while the president himself has remained focused on culture-war concerns such as protests, the removal of monuments and the funding of law enforcement.
Only one day ago, I commented on a high school classmate’s Facebook post linking mask wearing to Islam. Only one day ago, I pointed out the Mike Pence, henceforth to be known as Mike ibn Hassan Pence, had undergone a religious conversion.
What a difference a day makes.
Now the whole Republican establishment—minus Trump—has declared that there is no god but Allah, and Mohammad is His Prophet. See WaPo, Republican leaders now say everyone should wear a mask—even as Trump refuses and has mocked some who do.
I understand that membership at the Islamic institute of Washington, depicted above, has grown exponentially.
I should have added this to my immediately preceding post.
Notice how events are forcing—literally forcing—Republican empty suits to abandon some of the craziness of the ten to twenty percent of the country who make up the hardest of the hard core of the Cult of Trump.
Call me nuts, but I draw a connection between the March of the Masked and the fate of the Confederate flag in Mississippi.
No, I don’t claim that A caused B or that B caused A. I claim that both developments—and many other developments we have yet to see—illustrate how an unbearable, and an untenable, strain is being placed on the alliance of the plutocrats and the racists.
Now, as the Mississippi article shows, if you’re a Confederate flag embracer, you are an embarrassment to the plutocrats—you frighten away their other customers—and they flat out don’t want you on Team Plutocrat any longer.
Some of us were anti-racists when anti-racism wasn’t cool. Now, we welcome as many as possible into the big anti-racist tent.
With that thought in mind, here is some evening music for you to enjoy.
And, as Ms. Mandrell would probably admit, some where country when country really, really wasn’t cool.
Axios, the political website, used to have its daily One Big Thing. I don’t know whether they are still doing that. But David Frum captures the One Big Thing of the present hour.
Lots going on, of course. More vigorous ass licking of Putin by Orange Man. Meanwhile, over at Stars and Stripes, the bounty on American soldiers is big news. Congress can’t agree on the next stimulus bill. Congress can’t agree on police reform. Over at Faux News tonight, an acress is apologizing for her topless photo. But, even there, some hint of reality seeps through: as Faux News reports, Confusion reigns as states claw back coronavirus reopenings amid surge.
David Frum cuts through the confusion like a knife through butter. The first coronavirus spike was due to presidential negligence. The current coronavirus spike results from his intentional conduct.
As you will see, the video begins with a mentally disturbed elderly dude loudly ejaculating the phrase “White Power!”
Greg Sargent thinks Trump’s tactic is to encourage acts of racial violence, to sow fear and a sense of victimhood among his base. He is probably right. It’s a trifecta:
I know that many of you have chosen, like myself, to live, intellectually, here in the early 21st century, not to live somewhere between the mid-20th century of our youth and the early 19th century pre-Darwinian intellectual world.
To you I send my greetings and salutations. You need read no further.
This letter is addressed to the others—the folks who belong to the ten percent of the US population who don’t “trust” generic “medical scientists” to give reliable information on the coronavirus. Or the 20 percent of the US population who “don’t trust” Dr. Fauci to supply reliable recommendations on public health.
I have three messages. One is a piece of advice. One is good news for you. One is bad news for you.
You are 73 or 74 years old. I hope that you enjoy rude good health, considering your age. Or maybe, like me, you suffer from some of those comorbidities we have heard so much about in recent weeks.
Here is what you need to do, and you know it.
Stay at home as much as possible. When you go outside, wear a mask and socially distance. Above all else, avoid large indoor crowds of people packed together, not wearing masks.
When your grandchildren show up at your door—some wearing masks, some not—put on your mask and invite them for a visit out on the patio.
Because the disease is out there.
And, if you get the disease, then you will probably die a fairly quick death, but not before suffering a lot of misery.
If you are a Bible believer, then you believe that God sent the ten plagues to Egypt—and that He had a good reason for sending the plagues. God was trying to send the Egyptians a message.
If so, how can you deny that God is sending the plague of coronavirus to Red State America for some purpose as well?
Perhaps His purpose is to remind you to use the common sense and reason that He gave you.
One of our classmates recently suggested that Unnamed “They” are encouraging us to wear masks as a prelude to forcing us to become Muslim. She may be interested to learn that Mike Pence just converted to Islam.
Marco Rubio says “Wear the damn mask.” Rick Scott agrees. As does Mike Pence.
Mike “Ibn Hassan” Pence wants you to wear the mask because he hopes you live to vote for him some day soon. Donald Trump, by contrast, does not give a damn whether you live or whether you die.
It would be really wise of you to follow Mike Pence and Marco Rubio, instead of Donald Trump and Sean Hannity.
I now come to the good news and the bad news. Logically, the bad news should come first and the good news should come second. But what the heck? Let’s go with the good news first.
Thoughts are free. One of our classmates recently declared that he enjoys thinking “white thoughts.” And this attitude, may I say, is mighty white of him.
Good news: if you enjoy thinking white thoughts, then do sit in your mancave and think away. Like the song says, die gedanken sind frei. Nobody’s gonna stop you.
If you wish to live in the pre-Darwinian world, rejecting the foundation stone of modern biology, the theory of evolution, then that is your prerogative.
If you want to adorn your living room with portraits of Confederate heroes, be my guest.
If you want to believe, like another of our classmates, that nobody’s dying of covid-19, instead its tuberculosis brought in by all those dirty immigrants, then go right ahead.
Perhaps you enjoy humor. There’s great humor you can share with your like-minded friends. Here’s one of my favorites: you can have many hours of innocent amusement trolling the libtards with the ditty I’ve Got Friends in Safe Spaces. What a hoot!
Or this one—it’s even better: I Think My Dog’s a Democrat. And what about the lustrous shiny black sheen on that pooch, huh? That really shows to go you, even if you might be a little slow to hear the dog whistle.
Or, for times when you’re in a more serious mood, I can highly recommend God Bless Trump and the USA.
And then, there are all the whackadoodle conspiracy theories to share among your kind. You know, about George Soros and the You Know Whos.
Maybe you can enjoy yourselves making unkind observations about me and the horse I rode in on.
There is hardly an end to the variety of activities with which you can improve the shining hour, freely thinking whatever gedanken come to your mind.
Now for the bad news.
Trump is leading you off the cliff culturally. Look at what has just happened with the Confederate flag in Mississippi. In those golden days of yesteryear, Walmart, Sanderson Farms, the Mississippi Economic Council, and “C-suite executives at Fortune 500 companies” catered to you, in exchange for your votes in favor of their plutocratic agenda. No more. Now they have cast you aside like yesterday’s newspapers. You are no longer a help to the plutocrats, you are an embarrassment.
Trump is leading you down a cliff politically. 2020 is going to see a massive repudiation at the polls of Confederate monument huggers and Unmasked death defiers. Already, the Republican major of Jacksonville, Florida, has declared that masking will be required at the convention.
Trump is leading you down a cliff medically. I’ll say it again. The man does not care whether you live or whether you die.
I strongly recommend that you choose life.
I disagree with you, but I bear you no ill will, nor do I think you are bad people. I wish for you the same thing I wish for myself: about three decades more of continued decent health, followed by a painless and peaceful passage to the other side.
And I hope that, like me, you are blessed to enjoy sheltering in place with the one great love of your life.
Stay safe. Go with God. Choose life. And may the road rise to greet you, and may the wind be always at your back.
Things are rapidly coming to a head.
Gabby Orr, A new dilemma for Trump’s team: Preventing super-spreader churches: Courting religious voters, the president fought for churches to open up quickly after the shutdowns. The consequences include coronavirus clusters tied to churches.
N.Y. Times, After Asking Americans to Sacrifice in Shutdown, Leaders Failed to Control Virus: As Covid-19 cases surge, it is clear many governors underestimated the coronavirus and rushed to reopen before their states were ready.
N.Y. Times, Russia Secretly Offered Afghan Militants Bounties to Kill U.S. Troops, Intelligence Says: The Trump administration has been deliberating for months about what to do about a stunning intelligence assessment.
There ia big kerfuffle this weekend about whether and when Trump was “briefed.” The talking heads were all talking excitedly about “What did he know and when did he know it?”
Well, he bloody well knows about it now.
So, what is he going to do?
I expect it will come down to which part of Putin’s anatomy he chooses to kiss first.