Perhaps another thread discussed this topic already, but I didn’t see it.
Many Trump haters (I number myself among them, but from the other side of the political spectrum) see his election as proof that open racism and white supremacism are making a big comeback. And make no mistake, genuine racists and white supremacists are eager to climb on the Trump bandwagon.
But worth noting: David Duke ran for the US Senate in Louisiana in November. If Trump’s big win in Louisiana is all about racism and a resurgent KKK, you’d expect Duke to put up a good showing, wouldn’t you?
Nope. Duke finished 7th, with just a hair under 3% of the vote.
Now, I have been wrong about Trump in every imaginable way for the past year. I was sure he wouldn’t run, I was sure he wouldn’t get the GOP nomination, and I was sure Hillary would beat him solidly. So, obviously I didn’t know my party or my country as well as I thought. I have to be humbler in my political pontifications.
But the bottom line is, David Duke got SLAUGHTERED in Louisiana. Meaning that racism was NOT a big factor in Donald Trump’s win. Even in the Deep South, the vast majority of Trump voters wanted nothing to do with David Duke.
That’s a GOOD thing, right? Even if a horrible man was elected, should we not be pleased that his supporters WEREN’T, in fact, frothing-at-the-mouth racists?
I really don’t know anything about the Louisiana elections, but to portray them as some sort of referendum on racism is foolish. Your assertion is similar to the oft heard “Hey, we have a black president, racism is dead”. No. It isn’t.
No, all it shows is that single-issue racism was not a big factor in Donald Trump’s win. I.e., there are not very many US voters who really don’t give a rat’s ass about any of a candidate’s other characteristics as long as they’re sufficiently racist.
If you happen to be somewhat racist but not a single-issue racist voter, there’s no particular reason to vote for David Duke. For one thing, there are plenty of other Louisiana politicians whose positions are racist enough to satisfy such voters.
That doesn’t mean that racism isn’t a factor, even a big factor, in the election of candidates who support racist positions. It just means that American voters mostly aren’t racist enough to make racism their only priority in selecting a candidate.
Duke got 40% or so of the state just a couple of decades ago (the first election I remember clearly – my mother was terrified and campaigned hard for Duke’s ultimately victorious opponent). I want racism to be dead and gone, but it will take more than just one bad Duke performance for me to believe it.
And he still got over 50,000 votes in a single state in 2016. That’s not a trivial amount of white supremacists.
Those are some very flexible parameters, resting upon quantifications that cannot be made. “Maybe it played less of a role”? Well,yeah, maybe. Less than “many people think”? Seems likely, sure would be hard to prove otherwise.
The OP should be lauded for admitting that he was wrong. Given the endless biased and fake news about Trump, some of which contributed to his win it’s no surprise that some people would make such a mistake. Perhaps some people will learn that lesson in the future and in the future elections we won’t be stuck with a choice between two awful candidates. I doubt that will happen, but I need to find something good to believe in while I watch so much of the nation head down the crazy hole.
Trump’s campaign was criticized for bigoted statements and policies largely towards Hispanic and Muslim populations. He took some stick for the way he addressed African American audiences, which tended to be a bit tone deaf and condescending, but “Trump hates black people” wasn’t really a major criticism. Duke, on the other hand, is Klan. While I’m sure he’s no fan of Muslims and Mexicans, he’s primarily associated with anti-black and anti-Jewish rhetoric - and, indeed, spent a portion of his time in the debate he got into railing against “Jew-controlled” media.
Explicit anti-Semitism and anti-black racism is largely a political dead end in this country. Explicit anti-Hispanic and anti-Muslim bigotry wins you the White House. Duke was just the wrong kind of racist for the modern electorate, is all. He never learned to hate with the times.