Bigotry Makes Bad Campaign Strategy
Donald Trump is leaning into his racism.
For the past few weeks -- with his poll numbers plummeting, the nation turning against him and furious demonstrators forcing him into the White House bunker -- the president has embarked on a curious new game plan. Go in hard against people of color.
It’s all part of his divide-and-incite initiative.
In 2016, Trump engaged in some pretty racist rhetoric in the lead up to the election. He literally kicked off the campaign by calling Mexican migrants rapists. It worked then, and there has been a consistent pattern of racism throughout the Trump administration, most notably the repugnant policy of separating would-be immigrants’ children from their parents and keeping them in cages on the border.
But things have been ramped up a notch over the last couple weeks. If there is a way to insult a group of minorities -- whether it be African-Americans, Asian-Americans, Latinos or Native Americans -- the president has been doing it.
Trump, a native of New York City, is all in for Confederate flags and monuments. We don’t know what kind of grades the president earned in school, because he has managed to keep his transcripts under lock and key, but apparently he didn’t do too well in American history. To refresh everyone’s memories, New York fought for the Union. The Confederates were the traitors.
Obviously, racists love Confederate symbolism, and those same racists love Donald Trump.
Sticking to that theme, Trump also suggested this week that NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace should apologize for making a big deal about someone else finding a noose in his stall. It’s unclear why Wallace should apologize, but he’s black and Trump’s a racist, so something must be his fault.
Trump now has beef with the Asian-American community as well, who it seems is guilty by association with the fact that COVID-19 started in China. Trump referred to the virus he has done such a poor job of containing as the “Kung Flu,” at both his Tulsa and Phoenix rallies.
Then, out of the blue, the president chimed in with his thoughts on Native American nicknames in professional sports. Not surprisingly, he supports them. That came days after he praised President Andrew Jackson -- of Trail of Tears fame -- during his South Dakota rally on Native American land.
It’s difficult to see how this strategy will turn things around for Trump. First, the country clearly has had a change of heart when it comes to racial equality and justice. Millions have demonstrated for change since a Minneapolis police officer killed George Floyd on camera on Memorial Day, and those protesters have been pretty diverse. Support for the Black Lives Matter movement, which Trump discounts, has exploded.
The vast majority of Americans do not identify with the Confederacy. To the contrary, as a nation we are generally perplexed by Southerners’ refusal to denounce their ancestors’ treachery. Trump’s ostensible support for Confederate monuments and the battle flag plays to a very small base.
Furthermore, when Trump calls COVID-19 the Chinese Virus, he isn’t moving the needle with most Americans. We are far more concerned about getting through the pandemic alive and healthy, which is becoming more and more challenging as a result of Trump’s disastrous leadership.
Finally, there is the reality of plain, old-fashioned demographics. The white voters Trump is hoping to attract with this strategy are not as numerous as they once were, only accounting for two-thirds of the estimated electorate, according to the Pew Research Center.
Assuming Trump will lose the minority vote by a huge percentage, he will have to win an overwhelming number of whites to have a shot. But the polls are showing many have grown weary of his racist shtick.
It has grown tiresome.