Sunday, August 13, 2017

Picking Sides

Evan McMullin, a former CIA officer who ran as an independent against Trump in 2016, had among the strongest condemnations of Trump’s statement of politicians on Twitter, saying Trump’s vagueness about who is to blame signals “positively to the white supremacists whose support he enjoys.”

Trump has been heavily criticized in the past for not doing more to condemn the hate groups that support him, including [former Grand Wizard David] Duke and the Ku Klux Klan, which endorsed him during the campaign in 2016. And his presidential campaign was bolstered by the resurgence of the so-called alt-right and characters like white-nationalist Spencer.

Indeed, Duke later responded to Trump’s statement on Twitter, telling him, “I would recommend you take a good look in the mirror & remember it was White Americans who put you in the presidency, not radical leftists.”
The Hidden Meaning of Trump’s Charlottesville Remarks
The older I become, and the more I come to understand how politics works, the more sympathy I have for politicians. Donald Trump has already admitted to finding the job itself more difficult than he expected it would be. I suspect that he has also learned (even if he has been less forthcoming about it) that the Faustian bargains that one makes in campaigning come with more difficulties than he’d initially come to believe.

As we move farther from the actual election, the fact that President Trump won the Electoral College but lost the overall popular vote becomes less salient, except perhaps to President Trump himself. But as a continuing political matter, it’s still front and center, and not simply because the needling of his Ego prompts the President to look for ways to re-litigate the election via repeated accusations of comically-mistargeted “voter fraud.” White supremacists don’t have to be a particularly large segment of the population to have been the coalition partners who put the President over-the-top in one or more of the states he carried. And while it’s entirely possible that had they all stayed home, Candidate Trump would have still carried the day, David Duke seems to think otherwise; and the President just might agree with him. In which case, he may not enjoy their support at all, but he needs it. Coming out and laying the blame for the events of Charlottesville, Virginia squarely at the feet of White hate groups, or even simply publicly labelling them as hate groups, may mollify some of the President’s critics for a time, but runs the risk of alienating the people who form the spine of much of whatever leverage that the President has left at this point.

Given that President Trump has embarked upon a policy of being the President mainly for people who will directly support him, his fortunes are, at least in the short term, tied to the strength of that support. Accordingly, there’s little benefit for him to undermine that support by agreeing with not only his critics, but his supporters’ critics.

1 comment:

JohnMcG said...

He may have won the general election without the support of White Nationalists, but I don't think there's any way he would have won the Republican nomination. In a crowded field with no clear front-runner, having the solid support of particular interest group was enough to put him over the others.

He owes them. And they don't seem to be the type to forgive a debt.