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“Deaf, Dumb And Blind”: Trump’s Convention Was The Whitest Thing On TV — His Electorate Will Be, Too

This year’s Republican National Convention was the whitest event on TV. While Donald Trump made sure to line up some minority speakers who could attest that he’s not a racist, despite his multiple attacks against minorities, the ethnic composition and themes of the convention attendees undermined that effort in a big way.

According to The Washington Post, out of 2,472 total delegates, only 18 were black, less than one percent. Latinos made up five percent of total delegates, though only three Hispanics made it on stage.

Even some Republicans were alarmed by the overwhelming whiteness of the convention. A group of minority Republicans sent out a letter to RNC chairman Reince Priebus expressing concern over “deficits” in the party’s engagement with non-white communities.

“We have watched in dismay as the presumptive nominee of our Party, the Party of Abraham Lincoln, has caused massive defection, disgust, and disinterest with comments and behaviors that are offensive to the very demographics we need to win this election,” they wrote in the letter.

The way some RNC attendees and speakers used their ethnicity in order to convince the public of Trump’s character was cringeworthy. Lynne Patton, the vice president of Trump son Eric’s foundation and a Trump family friend, talked about how the Trumps stuck by her through her drug issues, and how she’s proof that the Trumps don’t hate minorities.

“As a minority myself, I personally pledge to you that Donald Trump knows that your life matters,” she continued. “He knows that my life matters, he knows that LGBTQ lives matter, he knows that veterans’ lives matter, he knows that blue lives matter,” she said.

Ralph Alvarado, a state senator from Kentucky, was the token Hispanic, and aimed to bring Latinos into a party that has turned increasingly hostile against them.

“There have been comments that I can’t agree with,” Alvarado said before his speech. “There’s things that he said that none of us like to hear, obviously with the judge… I know a lot of those things come from frustrations.”  Yet he aimed to show Trump as someone who will build a wall, but will include “a big beautiful door on the front of that wall,” echoing Trump’s plan to deport 11 million people and allow “the good ones” back in to the United States.

Jessica Fernandez, a 31-year-old Cuban American delegate, found it hard to fit in to a crowd of mostly white, mostly older Republicans.

“Just look around,” she told the Post. “I’m a little unicorn.”

The Miami native was rooting for Marco Rubio during the primaries, but now she was “toeing the line for Trump,” despite the many friends and loved ones who told her not to attend the RNC, and that they could not support Trump.

“I just wish Trump would chill with some of the rhetoric,” she said.

But the rhetoric Fernandez wishes Trump would avoid fuels his campaign’s base, and the convention made that very clear.

During Trump’s acceptance speech on Thursday, a message from a white supremacist was shown in the hall.

“Tonight I’m with you, I will fight for you, and I will WIN for you!” -Donald J Trump It’s time to start WINNING again!

The @Western_Triumph Twitter handle is pretty self-explanatory, but their use of hashtags like #AltRight, #ProWhite, #RaceRealist and #LoveYourRace further evidences their views on race. Apparently, Trump’s social media director didn’t see fit to check that.

The phrases that got the most cheers from the crowd also made clear what kind of party Trump supporters want. Any mention of the wall got them going. When Sabine Durden called undocumented immigrants “illegal aliens,” they went wild.

Infamous KKK leader David Duke expressed unwavering enthusiasm for Trump’s convention. Seeing the opening for white nationalism created by Republican candidate, Duke just announced that he plans to run for a senate seat.

The RNC also tried, unsuccessfully, to reach another demographic at the receiving end of Trump’s rhetoric – women. Trump saved his best card, his daughter Ivanka, for the feat.

“At my father’s company, there are more female than male executives,” Ivanka said. “Women are paid equally for the work that we do, and when a woman becomes a mother, she is supported, not shut out.”

While she discussed the gender pay gap, she denied it as the real issue creating wage discrepancy. Instead, she said motherhood is to blame, and promised her father would change labor laws and make childcare affordable. That hasn’t previously been in Trump’s agenda — did he read Ivanka’s speech? — and his campaign has not elaborated on this promise.

Ivanka is pretty, likable, and a great speaker, but the tone of the RNC completely dismantled her claims of a color- and gender-blind Donald Trump, at least as a candidate.

The racism present at the convention can only be matched by the misogyny it accompanied. Speakers and attendees over and over used Hillary Clinton as an excuse to voice centuries-old rhetoric against women.

Chris Christie’s speech, in which he had the crowd chant “guilty!” seemed like a trial against a woman who dared step outside her lines in the seventeenth century.

The Salem-style witch-hunt against Clinton was a major theme in the convention. Trump advisor and delegate Al Baldasaro, who was present at the convention, has repeatedly stated that Clinton should be shot for treason. An Ohio politician, not at the convention, said the same week that she should be “hanging from a tree,” a statement he later apologized for, unlike Baldasaro, who is now being investigated by the FBI for his remarks.

T-shirts with the words “Life’s a Bitch – Don’t Vote for One,” flew off the racks. Other hot items included a pin that said “KFC Hillary Special. Two fat thighs, two small breasts… left wing,” and a shirt with Trump riding a motorcycle, wearing a shirt that says “If you can read this, the bitch fell off,” showing Clinton falling off the bike.

What does Ivanka think about that?

 

By: Germania Rodriguez, The National Memo, July 22, 2016

July 23, 2016 Posted by | Donald Trump, Republican National Convention, White Supremacists | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

“Pagan Symbolism, As Ancient As Imperialism”: Religious Symbols, The Original Cultural Appropriation

I have a theory about Donald Trump’s success. I think that one reason he manages to survive the terrible things he says and does is that he gives liberals too much material. With so much insensitivity, racism, and misogyny pouring out of his campaign, it’s hard to focus on one thing. Complimenting Saddam Hussein? Racist slurs about Mexicans? Misogyny? It’s like being at Ikea—I feel overstimulated and exhausted.

The notorious Star of David Hillary graphic, however, seems to be holding people’s attention. After tweeting the image of Clinton accompanied by a six-pointed star over a pile of money with the words “most corrupt candidate ever,” Trump denied that he intended to imply anything anti-Semitic. It was, he says, a simple sheriff’s star; he never meant to invoke anti-Semitic tropes that link Jews to corruption and money. The country western explanation was rejected not only by media commentators but also by David Duke, former Grand High Wizard of the Klu Klux Klan—and he should know anti-Semitism when he sees it.

While this particular invocation of the Star of David invokes dangerous anti-Semitic caricatures, Trump is hardly the first person to appropriate the religious symbols of another group. Religious appropriation has a longer history and is more prevalent than you might think.

Syncretism, appropriation, cultural mingling—call it what you want, religious appropriation is as ancient as imperialism. The Romans, in a magnanimous display of noblesse oblige, allowed conquered subject peoples to continue to worship their own deities and imported those religions to Rome. The cult of the Persian god Mithras proved exceptionally popular among soldiers, as did the cult of the Egyptian goddess Isis. In the cafeteria of ancient paganism, people enjoyed sampling the full length of the buffet.

The first Christians, too, appropriated the religious imagery of their predecessors. In the catacombs of Rome, some of the earliest visual images of Jesus portray him as a shepherd with a sheep slung over his shoulders. The idea of Jesus as the Good Shepherd is well known to any readers of the New Testament, but the image was based almost entirely on depictions of the Greek god Hermes. Other images show him in the guise of Orpheus, the romantic poet of Greek mythology, who descended into the underworld to rescue his beloved Eurydice, or as Helios, the sun God.

The reason for this adaptation is two-fold: in the first decades of the Christian Era artisans were skilled in carving Orpheus and Helios. Assimilating Jesus to mythological figures was pragmatic. At the same time, the assimilation was communicative: both Jesus and Orpheus were believed to have descended into the underworld. Both Jesus and Helios were believed to be deities with power over the order of the universe. Appropriating pagan symbolism allowed the fledgling religious movement to communicate something about their beliefs in a way that would be broadly intelligible to their contemporary audience.

But today and in recent history religious appropriation has a different kind of history. The most blindingly horrific example of appropriation must be the lifting of the Hindu symbol of auspiciousness or good fortune—the svastika—to make the Nazi swastika. But Nazi fondness for the symbol didn’t emerge out of vacuum: as Steven Heller showed in his book The Swastika: Beyond Redemption?, the beginning of the twentieth century saw a huge fad in which everyone from Coca-Cola to the Girl Scouts to the British and American military adopted the symbol.

Children of the 80s will remember the sacrilegious imagery of Madonna videos and the frequent juxtaposition of the rosary in her attire. The trend of ironically wearing Catholic “jewelry” as an act of subversion or mockery is prevalent to this day. Buddhist, Hindu, and Muslim symbols are also favorite accessories for Westerners, but there’s something a little less sacrilegious in their application. In the case of the latter there is usually aesthetic appreciation that accompanies the blissful ignorance about a symbol’s origins. As many have pointed out, there’s no merit to be had in appreciating the beauty of a culture if you don’t also want to understand its history and suffering.

In many cases religious appropriation is well-intentioned and shrouded in blissful ignorance. There is a fierce debate over whether or not the Western practice of yoga and meditation is inherently colonialist. Full disclosure: I am exactly the kind of Lululemon-wearing yoga practitioner you might accuse of this. I have none of the knowledge of my sensitive and well-informed yoga teacher Lauren Harris, and it’s convenient for me to follow this argument about why yoga isn’t cultural appropriation. But colonialist or not, good intentions don’t obscure the fact that very few of us aspiring yogis could name the elephant-headed god in the room. (Wikipedia tells me that it’s Ganesh.)

Interestingly, religious appropriation is generally more accepted than other aspects of cultural appropriation. The pushback against appropriating Native American dress receives less attention than the appropriation of Native American spirituality at sweat lodges or on Oprah. This is in part because of the commodification of religion in general and in part because of our cultural commitment to the process of conversion. Sometimes the line between cavalier accessorizing and sincere religious practice is hard to discern.

What’s the difference between adaptation and appropriation? Two things: knowledge and power. The ill-informed appropriation of a marginalized and/or oppressed religious group’s heritage by members of the dominant group is more problematic than the ironic critique of mainstream religious power. Madonna’s use of Catholic religious imagery in her music videos may have been in poor taste, but it was better informed than her appropriation of “vogue-ing” from Latino and African-American dancers.

At the end of day, whether or not it’s your body or your propaganda, accessorizing with religious symbols matters, especially when those symbols belong to someone else.

 

By: Candida Moss, The Daily Beast, July 10, 2016

July 11, 2016 Posted by | Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Religious Symbols | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“The Modern, More Politically Correct KKK”: Klan’s Trump Fans Rip ‘Liberal Media’ For Making Them Look Too ‘Racist’

He was merely the latest Ku Klux Klan leader to publicly declare support for Donald Trump.

“I think Donald Trump would be best for the job,” Billy Snuffer, the Imperial Wizard of the Rebel Brigade Knights of the Ku Klux Klan in central Virginia, told Richmond’s NBC12. “The reason a lot of Klan members like Donald Trump is because a lot of what he believes in, we believe in. We want our country to be safe.”

The Imperial Wizard also noted that he supports Trump’s call for a temporary ban on Muslims entering the United States, according to the NBC12 report that posted late last week.

“If Donald Trump dropped out tomorrow I would support [John] Kasich before I would Ted Cruz because he is not an American citizen,” the KKK Wizard continued. “Even if I agree with some of the things that Ted Cruz says, I would not support him because he was born in Canada. He is not an American citizen.”  

In the time since the segment aired, both Cruz and Kasich dropped out of the presidential race, leaving Trump —who already has a bevy of white-supremacist, white-nationalist, and neo-Nazi followers in this country—as the presumptive Republican nominee.

But high-ranking members of the Virginia KKK outfit aren’t pleased with the Richmond NBC affiliate’s report, which was filed by anchor Chris Thomas, a young black man. The group’s Grand Dragon (the Imperial Wizard’s lieutenant who declined to give his name), told The Daily Beast that the station had erroneously—and libelously —reported that the Rebel Brigade Knights and their leader had “endorsed” Trump for president.

The 5-minute televised report and accompanying online article do not state that the Klansman “endorsed” the real-estate mogul; merely that the Imperial Wizard said he’d be “best” fit for the presidential gig. (However, pieces published at other news outlets linking to the NBC12 story defined it as an endorsement.)

“We knew what would happen—what the liberal media always does,” the (anonymous) Grand Dragon told The Daily Beast, before decrying “political correctness” in America and reiterating that Trump would be “best.” He alleged that the journalists selectively edited the long interview to make them look as loathsome and bigoted as possible.

“They wanted to make us seem as racist as [they] could,” the Dragon said.

The NBC affiliate seemed unfazed by the KKK’s media criticism. “We feel our story was fair and speaks for itself,” NBC12 told The Daily Beast in a brief statement.

It’s not all that surprising that these modern-day Klansmen would want to market themselves as less “racist” and not as “white supremacists,” per se. Today’s Klan is trying to move past its abominable history of domestic terrorism, racist carnage, rape, far-right propaganda, lynching, and attacking African-Americans and minorities, and present a kinder, gentler, ostensibly non-violent facade—billing themselves as “white separatists” instead of white supremacists, for instance.

It is a more politically correct KKK, if you will.

“Neo-Nazis and skinheads are socialist. We are not socialist,” the Imperial Wizard told NBC12. “We are not white supremacists. We are white separatists …  A lot of people, as soon as they hear the words ‘Ku Klux Klan,’ their mind automatically goes back to the ’50s and ’60s. It was a pretty bad time, but… we are living in a different century now.”

And it isn’t shocking that these men have found someone they see as a mainstream political ally in Trump, who found himself at the center of controversy once again in February when he did not swiftly condemn former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke during an interview on CNN. Duke had recently announced his support for Trump’s candidacy, and said that white “European-Americans” who weren’t voting for Trump were committing “treason to [their] heritage.”

Nowadays in central Virginia, the local Klansmen are engaging in a recruitment push, going door to door passing out fliers that read, “I Want You For The KKK.” It is their latest attempt to find new converts to their cause — one they believe lines up fairly well with Trump’s.

 

By: Asawin Suebsaeng, The Daily Beast, May 8, 2016

May 8, 2016 Posted by | Donald Trump, Ku Klux Klan, White Supremacists | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Donald Trump Can’t Win Without Women”: Trump’s Crude Sexist Spiel Has Backfired

Donald Trump, the Republican Party’s freshly-minted presumptive nominee for president, has called his Democratic counterpart Hillary Clinton a weak candidate lacking in stamina whose only asset is the “woman’s card.”

“And the beauty of this is that women don’t even like her,” he claimed after he won the Indiana Republican primary.

Harsh words, but not totally surprising from an unrestrained rich guy who has called Rosie O’Donnell a “fat slob,” among other epithets, and suggested that Fox News host Megyn Kelly was menstruating when she asked him tough questions at the first GOP Debate. (“She had blood coming out of her whatever.”)

Clinton, however, is betting that Trump’s crude sexist spiel has backfired, igniting opposition to him from women across the political spectrum.

“The whole idea of ‘playing the woman card,’ which he charged I was doing, and by extension other women were doing, has just lit a fire under so many women across the country,” she said during an interview with the editorial board of the Los Angeles Times posted yesterday.

“And I think it’s because they see his attacks on me, or Megyn Kelly or Carly Fiorina or whoever else he’s attacking at the moment as really a much broader attack on them. I think we are going to be pushing back and drawing the contrast whenever he does that. Because it’s just absolutely beyond the pale. He’s not going to get away with it, at least going forward.”

About half of Republican women (some 47 percent) say they don’t like Trump.

And several prominent female politicians in the Party of Lincoln are openly antagonistic to the foul-mouthed real estate mogul and his immodest proposals — like banning Muslims from entering the U.S. and deporting 11 million undocumented immigrants. Former New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman, for one, has compared Trump and other GOP candidates to fascistic dicators like Hitler.

“Trump especially is employing the kind of hateful rhetoric and exploiting the insecurities of this nation, in much the same way that allowed Hitler and Mussolini to rise to power in the lead-up to World War II,” she wrote last December in Politico Magazine.

Whitman has also said she might vote for Hillary Clinton.

Carly Fiorina, the former Hewlett-Packard CEO and sole female in the GOP race for president before she dropped out, is no ideological sistah to Clinton. But she was quick to attack Trump for boasting about his endorsement in April from “tough” Mike Tyson, the former world heavyweight champion who has had seriously rocky relationships with women.

“Sorry, I don’t consider a convicted rapist a tough guy,” Fiorina told reporters in Indianapolis during her brief stint as Texas Senator Ted Cruz’s pick for vice president. She was alluding to how Tyson was convicted of raping a teenage beauty contestant in the same city in 1992. (He spent three years in prison.)

Fiorina, who antagonized Trump when she was still running for the GOP presidential nomination, noted: “And I think it says a lot about Donald Trump’s campaign and his character that he is standing up and cheering for an endorsement by Mike Tyson.”

Cruz made a similar point with far stronger language when he assailed Trump as a “serial philanderer” and “pathological liar” who supports rapists as voters headed to the polls in Indiana on Tuesday. After they handed the bloviating billionaire a big win, Cruz abruptly suspended his campaign.

He was furious with Trump for making the bizarre and unsubstantiated claim on Tuesday morning that Cruz’s father was somehow involved in the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Trump’s proof? He had seem a picture in the National Enquirer of a man who looked like Cruz’s Dad standing next to Lee Harvey Oswald. Cruz seemed astounded: “This is nuts. This is not a reasonable position This is kooky.”

Cruz’s has depicted Trump before as “utterly amoral,” in his apparent bid for the evangelical vote. Those words are among the sound bites that appear in a brutal anti-Trump ad released by the Clinton campaign earlier this week. Clinton lets Trump’s former Republican rivals on the campaign trail and other detractors do the talking. (“A con artist,” summed up Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, who lost to Trump in his home state; “a race baiting xenophobic religious bigot,” stated Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina who was among the first of 17 GOP candidates to drop out of the GOP contest).

Another Clinton ad shows Trump talking himself into further trouble with female voters, telling Chris Matthew’s of MSNBC’s “Hard Ball” that women should receive some sort of unspecified “punishment” for having abortions in the event the procedure becomes illegal. He’s also shown in an interview refusing to disavow an endorsement from KKK leader David Duke.

Trump’s popularity among GOP standard bearers is hardly whole hearted.

“There’s more enthusiasm for @realDonaldTrump among leaders of the KKK than leaders of the political party he now controls,” Senator Elizabeth Warren, Democrat of Massachusetts. wrote on Twitter. Warren, who has yet to endorse anyone, has become a one-woman scourge of Trump.

Meanwhile, a recent CNN/ORCA survey shows Clinton mopping up the floor with her fellow New Yorker, leading him by 54 to 41, a 13 point edge. That figure augurs well for the former two-term junior senator from the big blue state should she capture the Democratic Party’s nomination over Sen. Bernie Sanders in Philadelphia.

 

By: Mary Reinholz, Featured Post, The National Memo, May 6, 2016

May 7, 2016 Posted by | Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, War On Women | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

“United In Our Loathing For Trump”: Why Donald Trump Is Probably Praying For An Amnesia Epidemic

There are a few unfortunate people in the world who, because they experienced a brain trauma, are unable to form new memories. They exist in a combination of the distant past and the present moment, unable to contextualize what they see right now with what happened yesterday or the day before. If Donald Trump is to become president of the United States, he needs a majority of the American electorate to experience this cruel brand of amnesia.

To understand what I mean, let’s start with where Trump is right now. While the contest for delegates is in a phase of uncertainty, it’s still likely that Trump will become the Republican nominee. And Trump is not just unpopular, but spectacularly unpopular. The latest Washington Post/ABC News poll showed 67 percent of voters have an unfavorable opinion of him. Not only has no presidential candidate with negatives that high ever won, no candidate has ever had negatives that high, period, with the sole exception of KKK leader David Duke. Trump is disliked by majorities of men and women, whites, blacks, and Latinos, young people and old people, rich people and poor people, Southerners and Northerners, liberals and conservatives. America may be a divided country, but we’re united in our loathing for Trump.

Even a candidate with the evident weaknesses of Hillary Clinton would not just beat Trump, but destroy him. Based on the polls as they are now, not only could Clinton win the states Barack Obama won four years ago — enough to give her a comfortable victory in the Electoral College — but some Republican states, as well. One poll even shows her beating him in Utah, one of the most conservative states in the country.

But not to worry. Trump promises everything is going to change, just as soon as he has pulverized Ted Cruz and John Kasich. “When I take them out, I will be so presidential you won’t believe it,” he said earlier this week. He goes on: “And then, of course, I’ll start on Hillary, and then I’ll be a little bit less presidential. But assuming I win, I will be very, very — the country will be very proud of me and we will make America great again.”

One can’t help but wonder what being “presidential” means to Trump, besides not being a jerk. He has said more than once that when it’s necessary, he’ll transform into someone completely different. And if he’s going to have any chance at all to win, he’ll have to. But once he does, will the public forget the person he is now?

Sure, every presidential candidate adapts when moving from the primaries to the general election. But most of the time, that involves a change in emphasis, highlighting a different set of issues to appeal to a broad electorate with different priorities from your party’s faithful. For instance, if Cruz becomes the nominee, he’ll probably talk less about building border fences and repealing the Affordable Care Act, and more about creating jobs and fighting terrorism. Wholesale flip-flops are exceedingly rare; instead, candidates seek to alter the ingredients of voters’ decision-making, putting their more widely popular positions nearer to the top of voters’ agendas.

The problem for Trump, however, isn’t just the positions he’s taken but the way he’s taken them. Try to imagine, for instance, that he stopped talking about his border wall and deporting 11 million undocumented immigrants, and instead made some kind of push to woo Latino voters. To succeed, he’d need one of those little memory-wiping devices from Men in Black. According to that Post-ABC poll I mentioned, only 15 percent of Latinos view him favorably, while 81 percent view him unfavorably. It’s going to take an awful lot to change their minds, given Trump’s extreme and vivid rhetoric about immigrants.

Or what about women, 75 percent of whom view Trump negatively at the moment? Are they going to forget his long history of misogyny? What could he possibly say to change their minds?

Trump is counting on Americans having not just short attention spans, but incredibly short memories. He’s planning on giving a series of policy speeches, which is presumably supposed to make voters say, “Huh, I used to think he was the biggest ignoramus ever to run for president, but I guess he’s actually pretty wonky and really knows his stuff.” I have no doubt that once the primaries are over and he’s won the nomination, Trump will alter his tone. But for such a shift to be successful, millions upon millions of voters will have to get temporary amnesia on election day.

Are our memories really that short? It looks like we’re probably going to find out.

 

By: Paul Waldman, Senior Writer, The American Prospect; Contributor, The Week, April 15, 2016

April 17, 2016 Posted by | Donald Trump, General Election 2016, GOP Presidential Nominee | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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