I just love the political angle that some in the Media (and some politicians) have embraced for 2020: whatever you do, let’s not offend the Trump voters! The latest enstallment of this narrative is in wake of the El Paso mass shooting and how Trump’s racism played a role in this avoidable tragedy. And the Media is turning to one conservative pundit outside of Fox propaganda— Noah Rothman — to lead the charge against calling Trump a racist. Rothman has shown up in Vanity Fair and was on a panel on MSNBC stating that Democrats will lose if they call Trump a racist. And it appears that at least one or more major Democratic presidential candidate agrees with Rothman. When asked if Trump is a racist, Biden and Harris have both avoided labeling Trump as a racist or white supremacist:
This middle-of-the-road tack is likely strategic. “Telling voters they backed an overt white supremacist makes them culpable, defensive,” pundit Noah Rothman tweeted Thursday. Declining to label Trump outright, as Biden has done, “gives them plausible deniability.” It’s possible that threading the needle could allow him to peel off some moderate Republicans. But it could also frustrate Democrats in the left-hand wing of the party. Ultimately, whether a candidate has called Trump a “white supremacist” or merely said he “encourages white supremacy” may not be a deciding factor for voters. But as the primary rolls on, it’s yet another way to divide up the crowded field.
On MSNBC, Rothman argued that putting Trump voters into a moral dilemma will make them turn against the Democrat who has placed them in that position. If Trump is a racist, you are a racist for voting for him. Therefore, if you want to get those weak or “persuadable” Trump voters, you can’t make them feel bad for their past Trump votes.
There are so many problems with this politial strategy.
- It assumes that the composition and voter turn out will be exactly the same as in 2016.
- It assumes that black voters will not be turned off by a “nuanced” political strategy that down plays Trumps racism.
- This implies that a possible white Trump voter pickup is more valuable to a Democratic politician than a disaffected black voter.
- It also assumes that it is far easier to switch a white Republican Trump voter than engaging a disaffected POC to vote.
Does anyone think that the turnout will be the same as in 2016? It could be if we nominate a candidate who cannot energize the base. It’s possible that could happen, and it is a huge fear. But we also have candidates who appear not to have that particular problem. If we have a candidate with a message that energizes and gives hope to a majority of voters, the turnout could be higher than in 2016. Therefore, you don’t need to count white working class Trump voters who might switch to the Democrats like pennies.
Next, while black voters and POC are pragmatists, I’d be pissed off with a Democrat who cannot call a spade a spade. Trump is a racist and white supremacist. And as Jason Johnson of The Root has pointed out, white supremacy is a form of terrorism. To achieve white supremacy, there has to be violence against POC.
If you don’t believe that, you have ignored the history of the South. And you are ignoring the cruelty and child abuse at the border in Mexico and in MS this week. And white terrorism is on the rise under Trump. Once again, see El Paso.
If a politician won’t stick their neck out on a life and death issue, what good are they? If you are not there for POC now, how do you expect POC to be there for YOU? We have seen this movie before. No engagement of POC voters in the past has led to those voters not showing up at the polls.
Also, it devalues the worth of POC votes. How often do we hear about what POC voters want or their needs versus some old guy in a bar in the Midwest? How often has the Media done its Lion Country Safari routine to “Trump” country to interview white voters? I’ve lost count.
And let’s be honest folks. I know that most on Daily Kos have friends or relatives who are Trump supporters and voters. I do. And in all that time, how successful have you been at getting them to see the light on Trump?
My advice is that Democrats need to increase the number of voters. And to do this, they need registration drives and ways to engage voters who have sat out elections. It would be far more efficient use of time and resources than tipping toeing around the precious feelings of Trump voters. Leave the soothing of the tender feelings of Trump voters to the Media. It seems to be their job now.
Fifty year old progressive who is a little grumpy after more than 30 years of conservative dominance of the political system. We need to hamstring conservatives and devour their entrails.