While a lot of people out there try to make excuses for Donald Trump’s unexpected rise to the top of the Republican party, the answers aren’t nearly as convoluted as many try to make them out to be.
Since the day he launched his campaign, Donald Trump has been pandering to the hate, bigotry, racism and ignorance that’s been driving the Republican party for years. For the first time in decades, we’re seeing white supremacist groups openly praising a presidential candidate for one of our nation’s two largest political parties. It shouldn’t be all that surprising considering Trump’s rhetoric and the fact that he’s actually shared racist propaganda created by some of these groups.
Donald Trump has largely relied upon targeting the very same “anger” (aka hateful ignorance) that’s been a staple of southern conservatives since the days of the Civil War. It’s the “anger” of the rural white American who, if they had it their way, would live in a country where everyone was a straight, white Christian. That’s essentially what these folks mean when they say we’re losing “traditional American values.” When they say that, they’re voicing their frustration with the fact that people who aren’t straight, white Christians are finally being treated with the equality that they rightfully deserve as American citizens; equality that, for decades, many of these Trump voters and their ancestors have repeatedly tried to prevent them from having.
Well, on Thursday, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley actually made a fantastic point when she compared Trump’s rhetoric to that which motivated murdering racist animal Dylann Roof to slaughter nine African-Americans at a church in Charleston.
“I know what that rhetoric can do. I saw it happen,” Haley said of Trump’s often hateful and divisive propaganda.
Clearly trying to keep from rocking the boat too much, she tried to claim that she doesn’t believe Trump’s supporters are racists or bigots.
“That’s a different kind of anger. They’re upset with Washington, D.C. They’re upset nothing’s got done,” she added. “The way he communicates that, I wish were different.”
No, sorry Gov. Haley, you were fairly spot-on when you compared Trump’s rhetoric to the nauseating and hateful rhetoric that helped motivate and push Roof to gun-down nine innocent people.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that Trump supporters are racist animals who have it within them to slaughter nine African-Americans inside of a church. What Roof did is a separate issue from why he did it. However, the root of what motivated Dylann Roof also lies within the foundation of why a lot of people, especially white people, support Donald Trump: The vilification of minorities as an “enemy to traditional American values” — aka white, conservative Christian values.
It’s the chants to build a wall that will never be built because it’s completely unrealistic; the overwhelming conservative support for deporting 12 million people, ripping apart families while talking about them more like they’re animals than actual human beings; calls to ban Muslims while demonizing an entire religion; and the fact that Trump’s main claim to fame was bring a “birther,” which is an ignorant belief directly tied to racism toward President Obama — it’s all linked to the same sort of ignorance that helped fuel Roof’s murderous rampage.
Again, it all goes back to the mindset of many bigots and racists that minorities shouldn’t be here, they’re no better than animals and they’re a “threat to traditional American values.” And when you push that rhetoric enough, especially as a presidential candidate for one of our nation’s two largest political parties, really bad things can and do happen.
What Donald Trump has done by building his campaign on appealing to the lowest common denominator (aka pandering to racists, bigots and people who are extremely ignorant), is he’s made being these things more acceptable. In turn, that empowers people to feel as if they can act out, sometimes violently, more so than they might have before because a presidential candidate’s rhetoric has now seemingly made it more “acceptable” to do so.
And trust me, if Donald Trump becomes president, we’re going to see a massive spike in hate crimes.
So, while Gov. Haley tried to walk back her comment almost immediately, she really shouldn’t have – because she was right. Donald Trump’s rhetoric, especially if he wins in November, is going to bring about more hate-driven incidents of violence, particularly against minorities.