July 19, 2019

HE HAS NOTHING ELSE TO OFFER:

It's Going to Get so Much Worse (NOAH ROTHMAN, 7/18/19, Commentary)

The president's instincts in this moment were telling. Presidential reelection campaigns are typically base elections. Energizing reliable voters within the incumbent's existing coalition and depressing the opposition draws the straightest line between points A and B. As Trump's record in politics demonstrates, he has always seen his most racially toxic supporters as valid members of his base--not necessarily because they are racially toxic, but because he believes they are members of a broader forgotten class of Americans for whom he presumes to speak.

That's why Trump declined to denounce David Duke when he had the chance, only doing so when his reluctance became a scandal. It's why he indulged in Birtherism and legitimized Alex Jones and Infowars with campaign trail appearances. It's why he took on Steve Bannon, the self-described proprietor of a "platform for the alt-right," as his campaign chairman and chief strategist despite his lack of political experience. It's why he couldn't bring himself unequivocally to condemn violent white nationalists, one of whom murdered a woman in Charlottesville, Virginia.

There's an ugly condescension inherent in the unspoken assumption that repudiating bigotry might fracture the president's winning coalition of voters who are otherwise underserved by elite opinion-makers on the coasts, but there is no better explanation for Trump's politically foolish compromises. Trump's approach to constituency maintenance routinely manifests in the stoking of racial and class tensions, and there's no reason to expect that to abate when the presidency is on the line.

Posted by at July 19, 2019 6:38 PM

  

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