It’s very clear that Donald Trump has found huge success by blaming minorities for all of our nations’ woes, tapping into the undercurrent of racism that pulses throughout the American people and shoving its ugliness into the mainstream of American politics. But an alarming new poll reveals that the fault doesn’t entirely lie with the abrasive business tycoon – it lies within all of us.
Analysis by the New York Times of a national YouGov/Economist poll combined with a Public Policy Poll of South Carolina primary voters found that a shocking 20% of Trump supporters found that disagreed with the Emancipation Proclamation, which freed all the slaves following the end of the American Civil War. 21% agreed that “whites were a superior race,” 70% wish the Confederate flag still flew above the statehouse, and 38% of them wish the South had won the Civil War. 1/3 of Trump backers support banning LGBTQ people from entering the United States; 41% approve of banning non-citizen Muslims from entering the United States.
But at the end of the day, as the New York Times notes, “he isn’t persuading voters to hold these beliefs. The beliefs were there — and have been for some time. Mr. Trump has reinvigorated explicit appeals to ethnocentrism, and some voters are responding.” For all the mainstream media and Washington establishment’s frustration with the phenomenon of Trumpmania, it’s very easy to understand. Ever since the 1960s, the American conservatism has used the politics of racial division to win white votes and disenfranchise minorities. For example, the National Review, which compiled recently compiled a collection of Against Trump essays, asked in the 1960s if whites were “entitled to take such measures as are necessary to prevail, politically and culturally, in areas in which it does not predominate numerically? The sobering answer is Yes—the White community is so entitled because for the time being, it is the advanced race…In the Deep South the Negroes are, by comparison with the whites, retarded.”
Since then, the constant GOP appeals to working class whites, scapegoating of minorities and decades of insinuated white supremacy have born a poisonous fruit that is going to destroy the Republican Party from within. They will not be missed.
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Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.