It’s not like this has been subtle so far, but the white male resentment that fuels Donald Trump‘s rocket ride at the top of the Republican primary polls has thus far managed to escape the attention of media types both mainstream and liberal, many of whom continue to insist that Trump’s appeal is that of an “outsider.”
This weekend, though, that secret sauce came to vibrant life, as if some children found a magical silk hat and placed it on a racist snowman. At a Trump rally in in Birmingham, Alabama (Birmingham!) a #BlackLivesMatter protester was assaulted by Trump supporters who chanted (and I’m not kidding) “All Lives Matter!”
If you tried to write a scene to dramatize the resentment that Trump is tapping into, it would look exactly like this:
Make no mistake about it, the chanting of “All Lives Matter” is rooted in white resentment, whether you think that resentment is fair or not. It’s a response to the audacious notion that someone, somewhere, should care when black people are brutalized or killed by the police, or disproportionately policed and incarcerated. If you’re one of the people chanting it, you feel the resentment is justified, but you definitely feel the resentment.
If that were the end of it, this would still be an indictment of the climate Trump has created, and a make-good on the threat he issued when he responded to Bernie Sanders‘ run-in with #BlackLivesMatter by saying “That will never happen with me. I don’t know if I’ll do the fighting myself, or if other people will.”
But that wasn’t the end of it. Normally, you could try to excuse something like this by surmising that the candidate would never approve of such an action, but on Sunday, Trump made it very clear that he was most definitely down with the struggle… of his white supporters:
“I will tell you that the man that was — was, I don’t know, you say roughed up, he was so obnoxious and loud, he was screaming, I had 10,000 people in the room yesterday, 10,000 people, and this guy started screaming by himself and they — I don’t know, rough up, he should have been — maybe he should have been roughed up. It was disgusting what he was doing. This is not the way Bernie Sanders handled his problem, I will tell you, but I have a lot of fans and they were not happy about it. And this was a very obnoxious guy, a troublemaker, looking to make trouble.”
Trump has just greenlit the use of violence on anyone who gets out of line at one of his rallies, and it will not be long before it happens again, only maybe worse next time.
Trump seems to understand the opportunity his supporters have presented him with. Trump has mostly channeled the resentment of his followers at Mexicans and Muslims thus far, but after his approving response to the violence at his rally, he took extra-special aim at black people, tweeting an overtly racist graphic about crime statistics that featured a side-gunning black thug:
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 22, 2015
The statistics themselves are, of course, all wrong, and sourced to the non-existent ““Crime Statistics Bureau – San Francisco,” but that’s barely even the point. The graphic originates from the Twitter feeds of Trump’s hardcore racist “Cuckservative”-coining supporters. What’s significant is that this is the most open Trump has been about embracing their racial “realist” brand of white resentment, and the reason is clear: it sells. What you are seeing now is the opening up of a new front in Trump’s War on the War on White People, and a distillation of the secret sauce that has flavored Republican politics for decades. Maybe now the media will start to notice.
This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.