Tuesday, March 15, 2016
Where did they get these ideas: Part XXV
Dana Milbank went to the front of the crowd at a Trump rally instead of staying in the media pen. These are his impressions:
Trump mentioned one of his opponents, Florida’s Marco Rubio. This produced a chorus of boos and insults: “He sucks!” “Deport him!” “Send him back!”
He mentioned another opponent, Ted Cruz. The crowd answered with a chant of “Lyin’ Ted!” and cries of “Liar!” and “He’s full of s---!”
Trump mentioned Hillary Clinton. Audience members shouted: “F--- Hillary!” “Put her in jail!” “Waterboard Hillary!”
He bemoaned the trade imbalance with China. One man rolled up his “Silent Majority Stands With Trump” sign and bellowed through it: “F--- China!” The crowd chanted: “Build the wall! Build the wall!”
To get a better sense of the Trump crowds, I watched Sunday night’s rally here not from the penned-in press section but up front, in the crush of the crowd. I entered with the public and stood silently for four hours, near the woman whose cap said “Infidel” in English and Arabic, running my digital recorder.
A couple of dozen people protested before and after the event, and a few people were removed during Trump’s speech because of shoving.
But it was relatively tame for a Trump rally, in part because Trump supporters fingered suspected infiltrators in the crowd and had them removed by private security guards before Trump spoke. In one of several such incidents I witnessed, Trump supporters signaled for security after a young man in a baseball cap who identified himself as “John” got into a political argument with some Trump fans. “Get him out!” one shouted.
“I didn’t say anything!” John pleaded as guards, taking the word of his accusers, led him away.
An announcement before events advises participants not to harm those who “have taken advantage of Mr. Trump’s hospitality.” But Trump has sent a different message, declaring Sunday that he might pay the legal fees of a man who sucker-punched a demonstrator and said his victim might need to be killed next time.
The crowd Sunday evening apparently purged suspected “disrupters” too thoroughly. “Do we have a protester anywhere?” Trump asked. Trump and his advisers seem to delight in the confrontations, which fuel the crowd’s energy. Before Trump arrived, Trump aide Stephen Miller had just begun speaking when a woman near the front fainted. “Medic! Medic!” people shouted, waving signs and pointing. Miller, suspecting a protest, righteously condemned the “kind of person” who would “sow chaos and disorder.”
Those around me were almost all white and mostly men. Their T-shirts and caps said they were gun owners, veterans, Marines and Harley riders. I heard nothing racist or angry or paranoid in their conversations. But once Trump arrived, they became ominously transfixed and aggressive. They pumped their fists, flashed thumbs up, mouthed “Thank you,” chanted “Trump! Trump! Trump!” and hung on the candidate’s every word — often with looks of ecstasy and some visibly trembling.
Trump captivated them with words that were alternately desperate and violent: “Our country is going to hell. . . . We’re sitting on a very big, fat, ugly, bubble. . . . We’re like the lap dog for the world. . . . Drugs are pouring across. . . . They’re chopping off heads. . . . You see so many people being killed. . . . The jobs are being sucked out. . . . We’re losing with everybody.”
Before Trump spoke, a woman warmed up the crowd by reading tearfully from the autopsy report of her son, killed by an illegal immigrant (“slipknot around his neck”). “The media is in an uproar about the tone of Mr. Trump’s campaign,” she said, but not that “we’re burying our children every day at the hands of illegal aliens.” She accused Rubio of spending “blood money” and asked the senator which of his children he “would give up for a foreigner to have a nicer life.”
But happily for Trump’s supporters, deliverance was at hand. The orchestral theme from the movie “Air Force One” played, and a helicopter flew low above the Trump fans, who raised signs and fists heavenward.
Trump stepped out moments later to offer salvation. Twice he said that in a Trump presidency they could “relax” while he defeated the Islamic State and beat the world in trade. “We’re gonna become rich again,” he promised. “We’re gonna become great again.”
I don't know if this is a representative rally. But it probably is.
Molly Ball at the Atlantic offered this analysis:
After a young black protester was dragged out of one of his rallies last week—getting sucker-punched by a 78-year-old white man on his way out—Donald Trump looked out at the jeering, seething, booing crowd in front of him. “Nasty, nasty!” he said. A plaintive look came over Trump’s face.
“Why are they allowed to do things that we’re not allowed to do, can you explain that to me?” he said fretfully, pointing his right index finger upward and jouncing his hand up and down. “Really a disgrace.”
It was a potent summary of the identity politics that seem to form a significant part of Trump’s appeal: the idea that they, the others, enjoy privileges, resources, and status to which we are denied access. It is a sentiment I have repeatedly heard from the dozens of Trump supporters I have met over the past eight months I have spent covering his campaign. More complicated than the overt bigotry of, say, the Ku Klux Klan, it is a form of racial resentment based on historic white entitlement and a backlash to the upsurge in leftist identity politics that has marked American politics in the age of Obama.
I was with Trump in Alabama and Georgia last month, in the days after he caused an uproar by briefly declining to disavow the support offered to him by David Duke. When I asked his fans about it, they repeatedly brought up the Black Lives Matter movement, asserting that politicians should be pressed to denounce all race-based agitators, not just those representing white people. Why are they allowed to do things that we’re not allowed to do?
“Democrats won’t renounce hate groups like Black Lives Matter, which are just as extreme on the other side as the Klan,” Randy Lawson, a 48-year-old business owner in Moulton, Alabama, told me.
READ FOLLOW-UP NOTES
How Much Are Far-Left Activists Fueling Trump?
“The Black Panthers stood outside voting booths and turned people away and the administration didn't prosecute them,” said Clayton Burns, who owns a timber company in Tifton, Georgia. “For Barack Obama to side with the Black Panthers would be like my president siding with the KKK. The outspoken racial groups, the media doesn't ask Hillary or Bernie to disavow them.”
“It used to be majority rules, but now just one or two people get to decide for everyone,” said Jan Brice, a 62-year-old who works at a retirement community in rural Georgia. “We should be respectful of everybody, but look at what's happening with the Oscars, with the [minority-representation rules for] government contractors—it's reverse discrimination. People shouldn't be hired because of that when they're not qualified.”
Trump’s supporters have told me that minorities commit crimes with impunity, that illegal immigrants get benefits at higher rates than Americans, that gays and Muslims are afforded special status by the government. They lament that Confederate symbols, and the people whose heritage they represent, are sidelined while diversity is celebrated. They don’t understand why Democrats can campaign on overt appeals to the interests of blacks and women and Latinos, but Republicans are deemed offensive if they offer to represent the interests of whites and men. They hear, incessantly, on talk radio and the Internet, that they are under attack by the emboldened legions of minorities who, in the age of Obama, seek white domination and reparations and race war.
The right wing media have fomented this nonsense for years. Trump is the result.
Recall Megyn Kelly's crusade against the "New Black Panthers"
The last week or so of her work -- her one woman crusade against the New Black Panther Party -- has been truly riveting television. Kelly widens her eyes in a way that bespeaks both horror and anger at the subject she's reporting on. "Shocking new video," she'll say, introducing a clip of the Panthers acting like idiots and yelling about "crackers" at a Philadelphia street festival. "We have a DOJ whistleblower alleging there is a discriminatory policy at the DOJ voting rights section," she'll say, "and no one seems to give a darn." It's the "darn" that ties this together -- she's not just a journalist, she's a concerned citizen who has to bring you this story before it's. Too. Late.
The people who grab these videos for the web use the same cliches to title them. "Megyn Kelly DESTROYS Kirsten Powers on New Black Panther Case" says one of them; "Megyn Kelly schools lib pundit over New Black Panthers Party." But why is she doing so many stories on the Panthers? It's because Fox News uses the Panthers the way that Phil Donohue used to use the KKK or G.G. Allin. They're good on TV. The difference between the Panthers and other freakish groups that look good on the air, of course, is that that they threaten white people.
How often does Fox bring on the Panthers, or talk about them? A Lexis-Nexis search finds 68 mentions of "Malik Zulu Shabazz," a leader of the NBPP. The majority are appearances on Fox News, where Shabazz is repeatedly brought on to act as a foolish, anti-Semitic punching bag. Among the segment titles: "Professor's Comments on Whites Stir Controversy" and "Black Panthers Take a Stand on Duke Rape Case."
On her Tuesday radio show, Ingraham said that a Fox News analyst who was touched because immigrant children wept when they were provided food needed to put his emotions aside.
“I would say that his big heart is messing a little bit with his head,” she argued. “We have something that is going on here that is profound, and our sovereignty, our rule of law, our financial resources, our military bases.”
She pointed out that some of those children had complained about burritos and eggs at the detention center making them sick.
“So, they’re complaining about the food,” Ingraham noted. “I bet there are a lot of American kids who would like free food before they go to bed at night.”
“They’re already complaining,” she added, followed by a sound bite from a 1990-era Taco Bell commercial that prompted calls for a boycott from the Latino community.
Day and day out they've been fed this malignant bigotry by very wealthy celebrities who've been counting their profits and laughing all the way to the bank. Why wouldn't they listen to a malignant celebrity who promises to do something about it?
And by the way: while all this was going on, the mainstream media pretended there was nothing unusual about any of it. Indeed, they often portrayed this stuff as an illustration of noble Real America and fatuously declared that "both sides do it." There's plenty of blame to go around.
digby 3/15/2016 12:30:00 PM