The Reverend


From a CNN interview with Tim Wise, anti-racism educator....



“So when the folks in the Trump camp say it’s not about race, ‘Well, I like the fact that he says what’s on his mind.’ Yeah, but you like that he says things about Mexicans and about the Chinese and about black activists in the streets protesting police brutality and he says things about Muslims.”



“In fact, all of those things that people say Trump is about — economics, the straight-shooting, straight-talking guy — all of that still comes back to his perspective on othering other people and saying, ‘They’re your threat, they’re the ones who endanger your job, they’re the ones who are to blame for your lack of safety in the streets.'”



"othering other people"......Here's the definition of the word demagogue...."a political leader who seeks support by appealing to popular desires and prejudices rather than by using rational argument."



Last Friday, the GOP presidential nominee, offered up a seminar on demagoguery.  Trump is facing a civil suit over his Trump University scam. At his San Diego rally Friday, Trump took 12 minutes out of a total of 58 minutes badmouthing the federal judge assigned to the case. Here is how a demagogue goes about "othering the other".....



“Everybody says it, but I have a judge who is a hater of Donald Trump, a hater. He’s a hater. His name is Gonzalo Curiel.”



“The judge, who happens to be, we believe, Mexican, which is great, I think that’s fine,” Trump said.



“I think Judge Curiel should be ashamed of himself,” Trump said. “I’m telling you, this court system, judges in this court system, federal court, they ought to look into Judge Curiel. Because what Judge Curiel is doing is a total disgrace, OK?..."



See that "happens to be, we believe, Mexican, which is great..." part? That's what being two cute by half looks like. Judge Curiel is a U.S. citizen of Hispanic descent. Why was it necessary for Trump to throw in the we-believe-he-is-Mexican part? Because 1) Trump is a demagogue who appeals to the "prejudices" of his supporters and 2) othering the judge by referring to him as a "Mexican", Trump hopes, will intimidate (scare) Judge Curiel into treating the Donald more favorably in the upcoming civil case.



If Trump would try to "other" a sitting federal judge in a civil case.....what would he do as the president? Would he "other" Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor, who happens to also be of Hispanic descent....intimidating her, scaring her for the purpose of getting a Court decision he wanted? How far would Trump take it? Or a better question would be, how far would Trump's followers take it?



We've heard an awful lot about how angry Trump supporters are at "establishment" GOP politicians who, they say, "betrayed" them....somehow. But truth be told, Trump and his, almost exclusively, white supporters are not really scapegoating "establishment" Republicans at all. Instead, Trump is seeking to unite the GOP establishment around his demagogic candidacy. Slowly but surely, in that effort, Trump is succeeding.



Once united around Trump, the Republican Party will officially become the party of white demagoguery. Of course, that's been implicit with the GOP since the 1960's when southern Democrats slowly but surely became Republicans in the era of black civil rights. In the past few decades, the GOP has appealed to its white base by using weasel-words often referred to as "dogwhistling"...only real Republicans could "hear" them. But with Trump as the head of the party, opaque dogwhistling is out, now replaced by full-throated blaming of "others" for all perceived slights, failures, or weaknesses in the American political system.



Economic prospects dim? Wages stagnant? Blame all "Mexican" immigrants. Hysterical over fear of jihadists? Blame all Muslims. Obsessed with inner city violent crime? Blame BLM and "the blacks". Lost your job to outsourcing? Blame the Chinese.



Contrary to Village lickspittles, the Trump movement is not united as one against the Republican establishment. The Trump movement is united as one, as the George Wallace movement of the 60's was united, against all the "others" who are not "real (white) Americans." Whatever "anger" Trump's followers say they are feeling is being directed to "othering the others".



I agree with the blogger Martin Longman who wrote over the weekend that Trump's latest act of demagoguery against a federal judge is the most "despicable" thing Trump has done thus far. That's saying quite a bit.



The question remains: Will Americans choose a "despicable demagogue" to lead the nation? Unbelievably, as of today, that question cannot be answered with certainty.