“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
“Trump Backer Says He’s Running ‘As A Racial Healer'”: Is Trump Prepared To Acknowledge His Role In The Problem?
Donald Trump has been called all sorts of things over the course of his controversial presidential campaign, but yesterday was probably the first time anyone, anywhere, said he’s positioned to play the role of “racial healer.”
CNN’s Jake Tapper interviewed Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin (R), a vice presidential contender, and the host noted that he’s heard from “a number of Latino-Americans, Muslim-Americans, Native-Americans, Jewish-Americans, African-Americans, all expressing concerns about some of the things Donald Trump has said.” The Republican governor insisted most Americans have the same security concerns, regardless of who wins the election.
It led to this amazing exchange.
TAPPER: Respectfully, governor, you didn’t answer my question. Do you think Donald Trump has campaigned as a racial healer?
FALLIN: I think he is trying to campaign as a racial healer. I think that has been part of his message….
In case you’re curious, the governor said this with a straight face.
This comes on the heels of the Trump campaign issuing a statement on Friday morning, responding to the mass-shooting in Dallas, which read in part, “Our nation has become too divided. Too many Americans feel like they’ve lost hope. Crime is harming too many citizens. Racial tensions have gotten worse, not better.”
Questions about racial tensions are inherently difficult and multi-faceted, and Trump has done little to help answer them. But if the presumptive Republican nominee is correct, and tensions have intensified, is Trump prepared to acknowledge his role in the problem?
Slate’s Catherine Piner put together a lengthy collection of incidents involving Trump’s racially divisive campaign tactics, adding, “His observation about racial tensions is especially curious given the many racially and ethnically divisive statements he has made.”
I’m also reminded of this column in June from the Washington Post’s Dana Milbank.
The things Trump is doing now – disparaging the “Mexican” judge, disqualifying Muslim judges, calling somebody claiming Native American blood “Pocahontas” and singling out “my African American” – is very much in line with what he has been doing for the past year, and before.
More than six months ago, I began a column by proposing, “Let’s not mince words: Donald Trump is a bigot and a racist.” His bigotry went back decades, to the Central Park jogger case, and came to include: his leadership of the “birther” movement suggesting President Obama was a foreign-born Muslim, his vulgar expressions for women, his talk of Mexico sending rapists into America, his call for mass deportation, his spats with Latino news outlets, his mocking Asian accent, his tacit acceptance of the claim that Muslims are a “problem” in America, his agreement that American Muslims should be forced to register themselves, his call to ban Muslim immigration, his false claim about American Muslims celebrating 9/11, his tweeting of statistics from white supremacists, his condoning of violence against black demonstrators and his mocking of a journalist with a physical disability.
This assessment – a sampling, really, of Trump’s record on matters of diversity and respect – was published a month ago, and things have gotten even worse since.
All of which brings us back to the truly breathtaking assertion that Trump is “trying to campaign as a racial healer.” The next question for the GOP candidate’s allies is, if the last year is what it looks like when Trump is trying to bring people together, what would it look like if he were trying to tear us apart?
By: Steve Benen, The Maddow Blog, July 11, 2016
“The Meaning Of Trump’s Cult Of Political Incorrectness”: Any Sensitivity To Others’ Feelings Is Considered Weakness
It’s difficult to believe Donald Trump is anti-Semitic. For one thing, his adored daughter Ivanka is a convert to Judaism, out of solidarity with her Jewish husband. For another, as a New York–based business tycoon, Trump has interacted frequently and cordially with Jewish colleagues, employees, investors, politicians, and members of the news media throughout his career.
That’s all the more reason to puzzle over the weaselly reaction of Trump and his campaign to allegations one of his Twitter blasts at Hillary Clinton borrowed anti-Semitic imagery from one of Trump’s anti-Semitic supporters. Trump has gone to great lengths to claim that the image in question isn’t what it is, and has in general done everything other than the obvious: apologize for screwing up and forcefully disassociate himself with his alt-right fan club.
In a thorough examination of the incident, Matt Yglesias hit on an important insight about Trump that goes beyond anti-Semitism:
Trump has not acted to distance himself in any way from the anti-Semitic behavior of his followers. There’s been nothing remotely in the vicinity of Barack Obama’s famous race speech from the 2008 campaign, and Trump has consistently appeared angrier about being criticized for ties to anti-Semites than about the anti-Semitism expressed by many of his fans.
Some might associate this reluctance to admit error, apologize, and then move on to Trump’s narcissism — those who endlessly admire themselves in every mirror are not prone to see or admit flaws.
But there’s something else going on that makes Trump’s supporters share the same reluctance to say they are sorry. He’s developed a cult of “political incorrectness” in which any sensitivity to others’ feelings is considered weakness, and the impulse to apologize for offensive remarks or behavior is dismissed as a surrender to bullying by elites and their minority-group clientele.
In his long, sympathetic meditation on Trump’s supporters for the New Yorker, George Saunders noticed this same phenomenon:
Above all, Trump supporters are “not politically correct,” which, as far as I can tell, means that they have a particular aversion to that psychological moment when, having thought something, you decide that it is not a good thought, and might pointlessly hurt someone’s feelings, and therefore decline to say it.
In other words, there’s a tendency in Trumpland to view what most of us consider common decency as “political correctness,” which is to be avoided at all costs, most especially when the opprobrium of liberal elitists is involved. It’s no accident, then, that Trump sometimes seems to court the appearance of impropriety, and defend examples of rudeness, crudeness, and bigotry even when he’s not personally guilty of perpetrating them.
Trump did not invent this strange mindset, of course. Right-wing talk-radio types have made a living from baiting liberals and women and minorities and then inciting listeners to express umbrage at the resulting outrage. Trump’s former rival and current supporter Dr. Ben Carson could not go five minutes on the presidential campaign trail without attacking “political correctness” as the source of all evil and as a secular-socialist stratagem for silencing the Folks by shaming them.
For the generally decent Carson, “political correctness” remained something of an abstraction. It’s taken Trump to paint it in garish realism. To use a phrase beloved of Trump’s great predecessor in political sin George Wallace, the mogul does not “pussyfoot around” in offending his detractors and those people — the pushy feminists and entitled minorities whose very presence profanes America in the eyes of many Trump supporters. Trump tells it like it is, which means he is not inhibited by a civility that masks nasty but essential truths.
Inevitably, this nasty but essential explanation of Trump’s appeal will annoy supporters and enemies alike, who insist on ascribing purely economic motives to those who have lifted him so shockingly high in American political life. Sorry, but I don’t think uncontrollable rage at having to “press 1 for English” or say “Happy Holidays” can be explained by displaced anger over wage stagnation or the decline of the American manufacturing sector. As Saunders said in another of his insights into Trump supporters:
[T]he Trump supporter might be best understood as a guy who wakes up one day in a lively, crowded house full of people, from a dream in which he was the only one living there, and then mistakes the dream for the past: a better time, manageable and orderly, during which privilege and respect came to him naturally, and he had the whole place to himself.
Such a guy may well be old enough to remember a time when he and people just like him could behave as though they had America to themselves. Nowadays that gets you hostile looks, a rebuke from HR, a shaming from moral authorities, and sometimes worse. But Donald Trump will fight for your right to offend in your own damn country. And some offenders will love him for it.
By: Ed Kilgore, Daily Intelligencer, New York Magazine, July 5, 2016
Conventional wisdom suggests that Republicans decided to trash the RNC’s autopsy that was completed after their loss in the 2012 presidential election. It contained suggestions that the party should do more to reach out to women and people of color – especially Hispanic Americans. But perhaps we got it all wrong. Maybe in some fevered minds, trashing illegal immigrants was actually their idea of how to reach out to the Hispanic community.
I say that after reading an article by Tierney Sneed titled: GOP Makes “Appalling” Pitch to LGBT’s: Dems Are Choosing Muslims Over You. Perhaps this is what Republicans mean by “outreach.” The message basically comes down to this: We may be trying to deny you your rights, but at least we won’t kill you.
Their reasoning? That somehow, in the wake of the Orlando shooting at a gay night club that left 49 people dead, there’s now a mutually exclusive choice between supporting Muslims and protecting gay people, and Democrats have chosen the former.
The unlovely premise of that rationale is that all Muslims are terrorists, as one Republican congressman has baldly stated.
“Democrats are in a perplexing position. On the one hand, they’re trying to appeal to the gay community, but, on the other hand, they’re trying to also appeal to the Muslim community, which, if it had its way, would kill every homosexual in the United States of America,” Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) said on a radio show Thursday.
Sneed goes on to provide similar quotes from Donald Trump and Ted Cruz. But for anyone who still had a functioning irony meter, the one from conservative evangelist Pat Robertson is sure to break it for good.
Pat Robertson – the conservative preacher and Christian media executive who has said gay people are “demonic” and will eventually die out — said the “left” had “a dilemma of major proportions.”
“We’re looking at a favored group by the left, the homosexuals, and that in Islam is punishable by death or imprisonment or some sanction, so what are the left going to do?” he said on his TV show “700 Club” Tuesday.
What makes that kind of talk so outrageous is that Robertson is a leader among right wing Christians who have supported murderous African dictators in singling out homosexuals for both imprisonment and death.
For the record, I know of no liberals – let alone LGBT people – who have any love lost for groups like ISIS that have practiced horrific executions of homosexuals. Nor is there any lack of protest against regimes in the Middle East (or countries like Russia) that imprison them. But just as in the Christian community, there are Muslims who support equal rights for homosexuals and those who deny them. Republicans who would do the latter should revisit the words of Jesus when he suggested that people check out the log in their own eye before judging the splinter is someone else’s.
By: Nancy LeTourneau, Political Animal Blog, The Washington Monthly, June 17, 2016
One of key controversies dogging Donald Trump right now has to do with his overt racism towards U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel, whom the Republican candidate says cannot be an impartial jurist because of his ethnicity. Over the weekend, Trump added he might have a problem with Muslim judges, too.
When CBS’s John Dickerson asked, “Isn’t there sort of a tradition, though, in America that we don’t judge people by who their parents were and where they came from?” Trump replied, “I’m not talking about tradition, I’m talking about common sense, OK?”
On the show last night, Hillary Clinton told Rachel, “I imagine he’ll move on to women judges because he’s been insulting women so regularly.”
Clinton was speaking hypothetically, but as it turns out, right around the time the Democratic candidate made the observation, Trump’s spokesperson told a national television audience that it might also be acceptable to accuse a woman on the bench of bias on the basis of her gender. The Huffington Post reported last night:
“Well, it would depend on her past and decisions she made as a judge,” Trump’s national spokeswoman Katrina Pierson said.
Noting that Trump’s sister is also a federal judge, CNN’s Wolf Blitzer asked Pierson if it would be “awful” to accuse her of bias “in regard to some case because she’s a woman.”
But Pierson would not rule it out, adding that “there is no question that there are activist judges in this country.”
Remember, Senate Republicans think so highly of the Trump campaign that they’re leaving a Supreme Court vacancy in place, in the hopes that he’ll be elected president and pick a justice he approves of.
As for Clinton, let’s circle back to the quote from last night’s show again: “I imagine he’ll move on to women judges because he’s been insulting women so regularly, or maybe a judge with a disability, or perhaps one who was a former POW, or African American. This is dangerous nonsense that undermines the rule of law, that makes him appear to be someone who has no respect for fellow Americans, and I think it is yet more evidence why this man is dangerous and divisive, and disqualified from being president.”
To be sure, neither Trump nor his team have gone after judges with disabilities, judges who are veterans, or judges who are African American, but there’s quite a bit of time remaining in the election cycle, so it’s best not to rule anything out.
By: Steve Benen, The Maddow Blog, June 8, 2016