Of all the battles to take to the mat, the controversy that Donald Trump has chosen to stake his re-election campaign upon only makes sense if you think — unlike all recent evidence to the contrary — that a majority of Americans, or at least the ones in crucial swing states, are racist Confederate sympathizers.
By jumping in to defend the continued naming of US military bases such as Fort Bragg, Fort Banning, and others after long-dead, traitorous Confederate generals, Trump is sure to shore up his support among the deplorables who make up his increasingly shrinking base of fans, but at a cost to his favorability ratings among the majority of the American people who enthusiastically support the Black Lives Matter protests that have erupted across the county after the police murder of George Floyd.
The president signaled that his psyche was stuck in another era yesterday when he posted a series of tweets attacking the idea of renaming the bases which African American armed forces members in particular bristle at the heritage implied by the people for which they are dedicated.
Facing an enormous public blowback to his vehemence in defending the use of the names of Confederate generals on grounds that he called “Hallowed,” Trump doubled down in his typically foolish and stubborn manner.
After learning that the Republican-controlled Senate Armed Services Committee had defied his wishes and passed a resolution late Wednesday evening calling for the bases to be stripped of their traitorous legacy and current names, Trump was back on Twitter raising a ruckus about a historical legacy that the Queens, NY-born president has little connection with outside of his father’s KKK membership.
Seriously failed presidential candidate, Senator Elizabeth “Pocahontas” Warren, just introduced an Amendment on the renaming of many of our legendary Military Bases from which we trained to WIN two World Wars. Hopefully our great Republican Senators won’t fall for this!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 11, 2020
Nothing like defending the legacy of those who fought to keep slavery alive with a bit of gratuitous racism towards Native Americans, but with Warren still a potential Vice Presidential candidate and Trump too lazy to come up with a new nickname, the “Pocahontas” slur fit in perfectly with his bigoted defense of the rebellious Confederate generals.
The president appears to try to indicate that his advocacy for keeping the bases named as they have been for decades stems from their role in the training of military personnel on their premises during “two World Wars,” the last real military victories that America could be said to have won.
Seemingly, however, he forgets that the second of those World Wars was an epic battle against exactly the type of fascism that he has been accused of promoting throughout his presidency.
How exactly the elimination of the honoring of dead generals who fought for a lost cause consists of something that Republican Senators would have to “fall for” remains unexplained, but the very fact that Trump suggests it proves that his attitudes are rooted more in opportunistic dog-whistling to a base that longs for the days of explicit white supremacy and black chattel than in any rational moral high ground related to historical antecedents.
Twitter commentators were as unimpressed with Trump’s latest argument as they were with his original tweet on the subject.
Trump is dumb and racist.
— Baligubadle (@Baligubadle1) June 11, 2020
The military bases will remain just as “Legendary” whether they are named after the loser confederates or after a General who was actually on our side and won. Trump is a Confederate. It’s confirmed!
— Black Lives Matter (@HKrassenstein) June 11, 2020
How Hitler seized power:
1. Create a crisis.
2. Demonize opponents.
3. Declare a state of emergency.
4. Undermine elections.
5. Make the rule of law irrelevant.
6. Rule by decree.
If America falls it will be because of the people who didn’t pay attention. #DictatorTrump
— Andrea Junker (@Strandjunker) June 11, 2020
I love it when Republicans talk about being the "Party of Lincoln" while defending their Confederate "heroes" the same day.
— Tony Paradis (@TonyParadis1) June 11, 2020
Ask any of the people who stand behind the confederate flag and ask them what it signifies and they won't be able to come up with a rational, non-racist, or treason-free reason.
— Maraki (@Maraki_in_MA) June 11, 2020
Keep Elizabeth Warren’s name out of your racist fucking mouth, you Birther, racist, no good sonofabitch. She is everything that’s great about America and you are everything that’s trash.
— Jason Overstreet (@JasonOverstreet) June 11, 2020
We could go on, but you get the idea.
While it’s sad that the US president assumes that a large enough portion of the American citizenry has sufficient racist tendencies to stake his re-election campaign on catering to their cultural predilections, the fact that Trump’s entreaties are falling on deaf ears as NASCAR bans the display of Confederate flags at its events and a majority seeks to redress racial inequities can provide some small solace as the nation comes to grips with its legacy of evil.
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Vinnie Longobardo is a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music and art.