Trump seized upon a 'caravan' to turn out his virulently racist base; the media may help him do it
One of the biggest impediments to defeating the Republican slide from conservatism to white nationalism is the press insistence on inventing nuance where there is none. Donald Trump and Republicans are seizing on a so-called “caravan” of refugees and asylum-seekers bound, eventually, for the United States because their base of rancid racists find such things uniquely terrifying.
Trump himself believes the caravan images are so politically potent for Republicans and so damaging for Democrats, people who have spoken with him about the approach said that he’s vowed to bring up the caravan wherever and whenever he can, even when he isn’t being prompted by others. “There is now video on TV screens that matches the feeling on the ground that the president has felt for the past three years,” said a person familiar with the polling reviewed by Trump’s team.
But a bunch of families fleeing poverty and horrific violence isn’t scary enough for anyone who’s not a die-hard racist, so that’s why Trump and his fellow race-baiters are inventing new details on the fly to try to be more racist-er about it. There are secret Middle Easterners hiding in the group, Trump and his vice presidential bunion warn! It might be, Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz tosses out on social media, a plot by a suspiciously Jewish billionaire! It’s all racism, top to bottom, the end. If it wasn’t racism they wouldn’t be throwing in all the little racist details; if it wasn’t racism Donald Trump wouldn’t give a damn about it to begin with.
The notion of “invading” refugees somehow being a threat to the United States, even as we take in, for example, far fewer Syrian war refugees than a truly decent nation would, etc, has long been an explicitly racist premise peddled by white nationalists, white supremacists, and their allies (e.g. the National Rifle Association). The premise is that non-white immigrants are uniquely dangerous to “American culture” because reasons; the perceived danger is not terrorism or or overpopulation, but “taco trucks on every corner” and someone with a slightly different skin tone than your own someday marrying your daughter and coming to Thanksgiving dinner.
This isn’t hard, and Trump is not hiding his intent. Trump is directing his various acolytes and hangers-on to engage in racism against a distant “caravan” because he himself believes racism is the most potent motivator for his base. He is, for once, absolutely correct. And the media is going to help the racists peddle these theories because that is, every time, what they do.
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