There’s a lot of scary numbers in this HuffPo poll, but my takeaway post-Charlottesville is: Ballpark of 20% of America really believes this crap. Not to the swastikas level, maybe, but they really do think that Those People are Out Of Line and need to Get Back In Their Place, and that the tiki torch brigade “took it too far” but had some good ideas. And they would say so themselves if they felt the social and economic independence to do so.
These are the voters who nominated Donald Trump, specifically because of his ethno-nationalism message, spoken openly rather than in thinly veiled code.
But he was elected because the rest of the Republican Party was willing to ignore it.
If “mainstream” Republicans had been serious in their “Never Trump” denunciations, they would have abandoned party for the only viable Stop Trump candidate – Hillary Clinton. That’s what many did in 1964 with the then-inacceptable Barry Goldwater. They punted, then they won four years later. And there were fleeting moments of hints of this around convention time.
But those hints faded. First, no one thought Trump would actually win, Then, at end game, they knew he Trump would sign whatever McConnell and Ryan would pass and would appoint staunch conservative judged. So they were willing to overlook Trump’s explicit racism/sexism in the hopes he would tone it down once in office, and would be content as a figurehead – which he is in some ways
But the racism/sexism is the one thing Trump really believes, and the mass rallies are the one aspect of the “job” he enjoys. He never wanted the JOB – he wanted the WIN. And beating the most qualified woman in American history just made it sweeter for him.
Part of the problem is Trump, but the bigger problem is the 20% or so of America that actually supports his ethno-nationalism. This is the stock in trade that Steve King has been peddling for 15 years – the anti-feminist, anti-immigrant, anti-liberal stuff that his constituents can’t quite define, but can label as “political correctness.”
I was saying this months before the caucuses and years ago about Steve King: the Trump base genuinely wants a white monocultural America. They voted for him because they literally want the wall and actually believes in mass deportation. They haven’t quite figured out what to do with African Americans yet, but they know they don’t want to hear anyone speaking Spanish or any other foreign languages in America.
And I think Trump actually wants these things too. I thing he legitimately does believe that anyone who is not a wealthy white American male is a lesser being. His base is willing to overlook the “wealthy” part, because they dream of becoming rich themselves
It’s these cultural things, not “economic anxiety,” that shifted the non-college white male working class to Trump, and the only way to win them back is to abandon the true multicultural base of the modern Democratic party. Which is why, though I will go down fighting, I believe Iowa is lost. We are too old and too white. Texas and Georgia and Arizona will flip to the Democrats, but Iowa is moving the other way.
I say this privately a lot and rarely get disagreement – but you get pushed out of discussion groups if you dare suggest, for example, that the 4th CD is not winnable under any circumstances for a Democrat. Or that a message of Socialism! and Revolution! will win back old white men who are pissed off about “political correctness” because they got called into HR for telling the same Mexican Walks Into A Bar joke their dads used to tell. To these guys, Donald Trump is an aspirational fantasy – a guy (apparantly) so rich that he can day and do anything he wants with no consequences.
And I’m tired of being expected to pretend shit that ain’t true.
I don’t see a scenario in which the business/mainstream wing of the Republican Party is willing to abandon Trump, the Trumpists, and Trumpism. And that is a big big part of the problem.
I spent way too much of 2016 reading and re-reading Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. But from that I remember that the Nazi base, the core of genuine anti-semitic Brown Shirt Support, peaked at about 20%. It was only when the Nazis became the de facto party of big business to stop the left that they became the largest party in 1932. So the “mainstream” conservatives bore some responsibility then – as they do now.
The other fatal mistake in 1930s Germany was the bitter split between center-left and the far left, spurred by the dogmatism of the far left. The Communists were more focused on defeating the Social Democratic Party, which they called “Social Fascists,” than in beating the actual fascists. And I fear the repetition of that mistake.