On Monday, I linked my BNR colleague Peter Daou's series in which he laid out a compelling—and chilling—theory explaining Donald Trump's bizarre presidential campaign as explicitly fomenting a white nationalist awakening, with the presidency itself almost beside the point.
Last night, on Twitter, I laid out (again) the case for how Trump has emerged as the Pokémon final form of the decades-old Republican strategy of exploiting bigotry and eschewing accountability.
This morning, the Washington Post confirmed Peter's theory, with the announcement that Trump had hired Breitbart executive chair Stephen Bannon as his campaign's new chief executive. Under Bannon's leadership, Breitbart has effectively become the media arm of the alt-right.
At BNR, we detail how the extreme right seizing control of the Republican Party at this particular moment in history is no coincidence:
Trump's entry into the political sphere was as a town crier of birtherism against President Obama. His opening salvo when he announced his candidacy was declaring undocumented Mexican immigrants to be rapists, who should be contained behind a border wall. And he careened at full speed through the last year and a half with a hideous litany delivered under the dog whistle "Make America Great Again."There is much, much more at the link.
His Alex Jones-style conspiracy-mongering; his meticulously crafted words of incitement and exhortations to violence; his attacks on a federal judge; his description of President Obama as a terrorist (the "founder of ISIS"); his birtherism; his retweets of neo-Nazis; his eliminationist language toward Hillary Clinton; his fierce misogyny and indifference to sexual harassment; his feud with the Khan family; his Muslim ban; his use of anti-Semitic symbols; his embrace of torture; his capriciousness about the proliferation and use of nuclear weapons; his praise for dictators; his flirtations with Putin; his welcoming of Russian cyber-espionage; his undiluted xenophobia; his racist dog whistles ("look at my African-American"); his infamous border wall and relentless anti-Mexican bigotry; his claims of a "rigged" election; his unconcealed calls for voter intimidation; his refusal to disavow ties to white supremacists.And now comes his hiring of Bannon, overseer of an incubator of white nationalist extremism.
It is no coincidence that white nationalism is going mainstream, ushered to new visibility and prominence by the Republican Party nominee, in this moment.
We sit at a historical pivot point – at the end of the presidency of our nation's first Black president and on the precipice of the likely presidency of our nation's first woman president. White nationalism is about maintaining white supremacy; it is also, and equally, about maintaining male supremacy. The patriarchy and white power have always coexisted, reinforcing each other in a recursive loop to uphold the dominance of white men in America.
The Republican Party has spent decades mastering the exploitation of fear and bigotry, while pretending they weren't. They winked at white nationalists, even as they publicly disavowed them – and now those restless chickens are coming home to roost.
Trump is not an anomaly; he was an inevitability.
I wish I had better news to deliver to you. But this is the grim reality, and the worst thing we can do is look away.