July 21, 2018

The Nationalist's Delusion

Adam Serwer—The Atlantic:

These supporters will not change their minds, because this is what they always wanted: a president who embodies the rage they feel toward those they hate and fear, while reassuring them that that rage is nothing to be ashamed of.

Yeah, economic suffering drove a lot of votes, but the core of Mr. Trump’s support was white folks of all incomes and ages. It can be encapsulated as fear of the rise of a non-white population.

The US census tells us that at some time in the 2040s white Americans will become just another minority. That staggers and enrages a surprisingly large segment of America.

Mr. Trump is a symptom of this fear. In him is reflected the truest expression of white America’s intent. Turns out we haven’t come all that far since the civil rights days of the 1960s. As Serwer writes:

had racism been toxic to the American electorate, Trump’s candidacy would not have been viable.

One hundred thirty-nine years since Reconstruction, and half a century since the tail end of the civil-rights movement, a majority of white voters backed a candidate who explicitly pledged to use the power of the state against people of color and religious minorities, and stood by him as that pledge has been among the few to survive the first year of his presidency.

When you look at Trump’s strength among white Americans of all income categories, but his weakness among Americans struggling with poverty, the story of Trump looks less like a story of working-class revolt than a story of white backlash. And the stories of struggling white Trump supporters look less like the whole truth than a convenient narrative—one that obscures the racist nature of that backlash, instead casting it as a rebellion against an unfeeling establishment that somehow includes working-class and poor people who happen not to be white.

#racism #America #Trump whiteVoters