I Didn’t Vote for Trump. So I Have Nothing to Regret.

image of me holding a Hillary Clinton branded glass and smiling
I was with her. June 6, 2016.

Julius Krein, a conservative who founded the pro-Trump journal American Affairs, now regrets his vote for Donald Trump. What a story! Such an astounding story, in fact, that he has been given space at the New York Times to tell his amazing tale of being catastrophically wrong.

He uses an awful lot of words explaining how he came to be “riveted” by then-candidate Donald Trump, and pretending that Trump understands policy enough to be serious about it, before he comes to this:
From the very start of his run, one of the most serious charges against Mr. Trump was that he panders to racists. Many of his supporters, myself included, managed to convince ourselves that his more outrageous comments — such as the Judge Gonzalo Curiel controversy or his initial hesitance to disavow David Duke’s endorsement — were merely Bidenesque gaffes committed during the heat of a campaign.

It is now clear that we were deluding ourselves. Either Mr. Trump is genuinely sympathetic to the David Duke types, or he is so obtuse as to be utterly incapable of learning from his worst mistakes. Either way, he continues to prove his harshest critics right.
Even now. Even after Trump responded to a chilling display of white supremacist violence, in which one woman was killed and many others injured, by incredibly asserting “there’s blame on both sides.” Even after he insisted there were “very fine people” among the white supremacist provocateurs. Even after Trump has repeatedly employed a white supremacist talking point in defense of Confederate monuments.

Even now, Krein is not sure whether Trump is merely obtuse, or “sympathetic to the David Duke types.”

And he fails utterly to even entertain the possibility that Trump is himself an avowed white supremacist.

Which he clearly is.

Someone does not live a life careening from housing discrimination against Black applicants, to public musings on eugenics and the superiority of one’s own genes, to a crusade against exonerated men of color, to a birther campaign against the nation’s first Black president, to a presidential announcement address steeped in racism and nativism, to a campaign slogan that’s dogwhistled white supremacy, to anti-Semitic tweets and sloganeering, to an attack on a judge because of his ethnicity, to an entire campaign exploiting racial and xenophobic fears, to a presidential agenda centered around toxic attacks on immigrants and Muslims and demonizing cities with significant Black and/or immigrant populations, to defending Confederate monuments, and everything that has come before and in between, if one is merely obtuse.

Trump’s record on race is not one of accidental gaffes. It is one of a lifetime commitment to white supremacy.

And this, of course, is merely one of Krein’s failures to see Trump for who he really is. It is a monumental failure, and yet only one of many.

Donald Trump is a Russian nesting doll of character defects. Where other people have personality traits, Trump just has an endless promenade of red flags billowing in the breeze of his own shouted bravado. If there is a redeemable quality about the man, I have yet to see evidence of its existence.

And Krein overlooked all of it. Now he laments: “Far from making the transformative ‘deals’ he promised voters, his only talent appears to be creating grotesque media frenzies — just as all his critics said.”

Just as all his critics said. Not that they are being given space on the pages of the paper of record to make their case.

I was right about Donald Trump from the moment he announced his despicable candidacy. While highly paid (and highly visible) political commentators were having excited conversations about how “entertaining” Trump was, I was writing pieces about how dangerous Trump is, warning against treating him like a punchline.

Fully two years ago, I wrote: “The GOP would love it if we continue to treat Trump like a sideshow, instead of the uncensored id of their disgusting party that he really is.”

Where’s my New York Times spread for seeing plain as day one month into Trump’s campaign what Krein still cannot say with conviction: That Trump is a dangerous white supremacist who viciously exploits people who continue to extend him good faith, despite abundant evidence he doesn’t deserve any.

Krein’s piece comes immediately on the heels of the New York Times publishing the penned regret of a U-Va student newspaper editor who realized, only after Heather Heyer had been killed, that he had been “naive” about white supremacists.

What this tells us, among other things, is that the political media has not learned its lesson from the disastrous 2016. Still the voices of white men are prioritized, even when all they have to say is: I was wrong.

Maybe, just maybe, we should start listening to the people who got it right in the first place.

[Also published at Medium.]

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