Is Donald J. Trump a racist race-baiter?

MONDAY, AUGUST 12, 2019

We largely agree with Drum:
Is Donald J. Trump a racist? A white supremacist? A race-baiter?

Kevin Drum says that he would go with the last of those three terms. In general, we'd agree with where Drum ends up, but we slightly disagree with a few points along the way.

More than anything else, we're inclined to say that Donald J. Trump seems to be mentally ill. We'd also agree that he seems to be a fairly obvious race-baiter—though we'd hasten to add that Trump's 63 million voters may not see his conduct that way.

Drum says he'd choose the "race-baiter" label over the other two terms. Along the way, he offers these definitions:
DRUM (8/12/19): A white supremacist is someone who believes as an ideology that the white race is inherently superior to and should dominate all other races. Adolf Hitler was a white supremacist. Jefferson Davis was a white supremacist. For that matter, pretty much everyone in Europe (or descended from European stock) before about 1900 was a white supremacist.

A racist is someone who believes different races have different inherent abilities but doesn’t have any consistent ideology to back it up. They just don’t like folks from other tribes (and they do like being top dog).

A race-baiter is someone who may or may not be personally racist but is perfectly happy to make money or win political office by appealing to racists.
We'd be inclined to disagree with that account of what "a racist" is. In truth, we think the term has been applied so promiscuously in recent years that it has largely ceased to have any meaning at all.

In our view, the term has become a largely meaningless tribal insult. As a general manner, Trump supporters simply roll their eyes at this point when they see us dropping this bomb.

Tucker Carlson gets plenty of segments from our tribe's love of instant invective. We're forced to say that, in many of these dismissive segments, Carlson's dismissive attitude isn't entirely wrong.

(Did you hear the one about AOC's chief of staff saying, among other remarkable things, that moderate House Democrats "seem hell bent to do to black and brown people today what the old Southern Democrats did in the 40s?" AOC showed him the door last week, but that's how extreme our dumbness can get when we deploy our bombs.)

In our view, our own tribe's love of instant invective has helped establish Gene Brabender as one of the greatest anthropologists of the post-war era. AS if in an outtake from Being There, the "Brabender doctrine" is this:

"Where I come from, we just talk for a little while. After that we start to hit."

So said Brabender, long ago, as quoted in the iconic book, Ball Four. This has largely become the way our own modern tribe plays.

Drum says he "definitely wouldn't call Trump a white supremacist." Presumably, he doesn't feel he has any evidence that Donald J. Trump actually believes the things a supremacist does.

We'll go one step beyond that. We wouldn't swear that Donald J. Trump has any beliefs at all.

We're inclined to agree with the diagnosis offered by Doctors Brooks and Sullivan last Friday. We'd guess that Trump is something resembling a "sociopath"—that he's a person with no particular beliefs or feelings at all.

"I probably wouldn’t call Trump a racist," Drum says. "I know I’m out of sync with leftist orthodoxy on this, but words and phrases have actual meanings and I think language works better when we respect their differences."

Words and phrases have actual meanings? We should respect their differences? How does someone as bright as Drum retain such old world beliefs?

A final question: What do various Trump voters think about these matters? We'd like to see cable hosts ask.

That said, modern cable news is a propaganda medium. In line with the search for corporate gain, such buzzkill just isn't allowed.

23 comments:

  1. Dear Bob, where's the controversy?

    We all know that anyone who doesn't belong to your liberal zombie-cult is a racist.

    Yes, Bob, we all are. We are also white supremacists, and race-baiters, misogynists, homophobes, antisemites, and mentally ill. All of us.

    And we all know that your future anthropologists reported it to you telepathically so many times already. Together with the details of The Great Trump's War, and The Great Trump Fascist Takeover that happened two years ago.

    C'mon, Bob, it's 'case closed'.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Relax Mao.
      No matter how many times Trump is called a racist, he's still going to give your buddies in the Establishment everything they want.

      Delete
  2. Somerby is damn sure that we should call Trump “mentally ill”, or, from his previous post, a “sociopath”, and he apparently knows precisely what those terms mean, even though “As far as we know, "sociopathy" isn't sanctioned as a diagnostic term within modern psychiatry.”, as he said previously.

    But when it comes to racism, suddenly Somerby becomes Chauncey Gardiner the blithe ignoramus and says “we think the term has been applied so promiscuously in recent years that it has largely ceased to have any meaning at all.”

    This is convenient for racists, since it is tantamount to ignoring racism. After all, if the word has no meaning, it cannot be used to describe anything that exists in the world.

    ReplyDelete
  3. “We'd also agree that he seems to be a fairly obvious race-baiter—though we'd hasten to add that Trump's 63 million voters may not see his conduct that way.”

    This is screwy.

    If someone is a race-baiter, it means there is racism that can be baited. It also means the race-baiter sees value in race-baiting because it is a successful strategy, or he is a true believer, or both.

    Whether all 63 million of Trump’s voters respond to his race-baiting is unknown, but there is some significant portion who do, else Trump wouldn’t be doing it.

    We also know that there are quite a few *avowed* white supremacists in his fan base who do “see his conduct that way.”

    ReplyDelete
  4. ‘Drum says he "definitely wouldn't call Trump a white supremacist."’

    “We wouldn't swear that Donald J. Trump has any beliefs at all.”

    ‘We'd guess that Trump is something resembling a "sociopath"’

    “More than anything else, we're inclined to say that Donald J. Trump seems to be mentally ill.”

    Two things: first, there is contextual evidence that shows that Trump is a white supremacist, or at least an enabler of this ideology. Just as one judges from his words and his behavior that he is a sociopath, one can also make a case based upon his words and behavior that he is a white supremacist. It isn’t implausible.

    Second, Drum is definite about Trump not being a white supremacist, Somerby is pretty sure that Trump is mentally ill and has no beliefs...both of these views rely on speculation about Trump’s mental state that can never go beyond speculation, even though Somerby takes people to task for impermissibly speculating about Trump’s racism. Somerby and Drum, for different reasons, both want to dismiss the possibility that Trump is a white supremacist, despite plausible evidence of him being one. And Somerby wants to say Trump is mentally ill or a sociopath, and there is indeed a plausible case to be made here.

    But Somerby needs to face the fact that the case for Trump being a white supremacist and Trump being a sociopath are equally plausible, and the case for white supremacy doesn’t disappear simply because Somerby pretends not to know what white supremacy is, or thinks the term has no meaning.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Somerby...what a fricking coward. He only “guesses” that Trump “resembles” a sociopath, and Trump “seems” to be mentally ill.

    So many weasel words were never seen since the last Somerby post.

    Come on, Bob. Why can’t you say it? “Trump is a sociopath.” “Trump is mentally ill.” What’s wrong? Worried you might be mistaken, and you use “seems” for plausible deniability that you ever affirmatively said these things?

    The problem here is that “seems” implies a subjective impression that you have, and not a judgment based on objective evidence.

    This leaves us with the unfortunate reality that to his followers, Trump doesn’t “seem” like a sociopathic race-baiter at all, but rather he seems to be a strong, bold leader who is saving America. And in this fanciful world of “seems”, who can deny them the truth of their impressions?

    ReplyDelete
  6. Can't we apply all of those labels to BHO...He constantly race baited & never resisted a moment to inject race into a subject. Go back to his words the day before the Dallas police massacre in July 2016. Reality is Trump is a response to BHO's racism, swinging the pendulum back. Of course media ignores the "correction" bc it preferred BHO's false narrative...Remember the NYTs lie and editorial justifying the Ferguson riots? It claimed that “the killing of young black men by police is a common feature of African-American life and a source of dread for black parents from coast to coast.”

    A fabrication as the police killings of blacks are an extremely rare feature of black life. Blacks are killed by police at a lower rate than their threat to officers would predict. Also, let's go back to BHO's term in 2013. Further twisting the facts and outright lying NYTs media ignored blacks made up 42 percent of all cop killers whose race was known, yet blacks are only about 13 percent of the nation’s population.
    Expect media to ratchet up this type of BS as the election nears.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, Obama constantly injected race into all subjects, simply by being black. How dare he?

      And Trump’s race-baiting is justified as a corrective to BHO’s blackness. It’s about time we swung back to open racism of blacks.

      Hey...cable hosts? Do your job...Here’s a Trump voter for you to talk to.

      Delete
    2. "Can't we apply all of those labels to BHO..."

      We don't need to apply labels to any particular liberal clown.

      Identity-mongering (of which race-mongering is probably the most common) is the only song liberals sing.

      Kevin Drum's endless and tiresome hackery, as sampled in Bob's post, is the evidence of that.

      Delete
    3. Mao, how dare you attack liberals for identity-mongering? That kind of attack is reserved to Bob Somerby.

      Delete
    4. Dallas police massacre in July 2016 = American citizen using his 2nd Amendment rights to fight the tyranny of the government.
      No wonder it got the panties of the big-government supporting Right-wingers in a bunch.

      Delete
    5. Oh, are we at that point now, @9:19?

      Bring it on.

      Delete
    6. Take it up with the NRA, snowflake.

      Delete
  7. Is there really a need for intelligent people (not Mao) to even discuss this?

    ReplyDelete
  8. "Gene Brabender as one of the greatest anthropologists of the post-war era."

    Brabender was, of course, a baseball player. Anthropology is a branch of science that requires extensive training and has a published literature. Somerby trivializes that field by pretending that a baseball player who made a statement of opinion was an actual anthropologist.

    I know that this is his rhetorical conceit, but it is anti-intellectual and disparages the people who engage in such pursuits by equating them with uneducated (in anthropology) sports figures.

    The lack of respect for academic fields is typical of the far right and it is not liberal at all. It is how conservatives undermine the sources of consensual knowledge existing in our society so that they can substitute their own garbage. That's exactly what Somerby does here too, when he pretends that a baseball player is an authority figure on anything except baseball.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I read your comment and was tempted to ask if it hurts to be that obtuse. Then I followed the links to your blog and read this:

      There is no connection between bridge and politics and most of us would like to keep it that way.
      Of the two, bridge is more important to me. On the other hand, perhaps ability to play a decent game of duplicate bridge might be made a prerequisite to hold office. It would eliminate a lot of today's problem people.


      I have two comments. Pick the one you like better.

      1. Politics is a branch of social science that requires extensive training in public issues and has a published collection of papers on important societal issues. Corby trivializes that field by pretending that a bridge player, someone who plays a meaningless card game, is on the same level as someone involved in the actual governance of our nation.

      I know that this is his rhetorical conceit, but it is anti-intellectual and disparages the people who engage in the honorable pursuit of politics by equating them with uneducated (in politics) game players.

      2, Bridge is a game of skill and insight that requires extensive practice and performance in contests, formal and informal. Corby trivializes that field by pretending that a politician, the lowest form of panderer, is on the same level as someone dedicated to improving his mind through bridge.

      I know that this is his rhetorical conceit, but it is anti-intellectual and disparages the people who engage in the mind-sharpening pursuit of excellence in bridge by equating them with the uneducated (in bridge) who are mere politicians.

      Sparky, your comment @6:43, approaches David in Cal level of dumb.

      Delete
    2. I have two comments. Pick the one you like.

      1. deadrat loves the smell of his own farts.
      2. deadrat loves the smell of Bob Somerby’s farts.

      Delete
  9. "I'm disgusted by Democrats screaming RACIST in my face because I am a conservative. Gee I think I'd better vote for a Democrat."

    Great strategy losers.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. People don't scream RACIST in your face because you're a conservative. They scream RACIST in your face because you act like a fucking bigot. Vote for whoever you want.

      8 years of Obama doesn't make Democrats losers.

      Unforunately, less than 4 years of Trump is causing our whole country to lose in so many ways. If you cannot see that, you are not only a BIGOT but also a MORON.

      Delete
    2. 8:42,
      So the strategy you think Democrats need to employ to win elections is to not speak the truth?
      Interesting, but stupid.

      Delete
    3. RACISTRACISTRACISTRACISTRACISTRACISTRACIST

      BREATHE

      RACISTRACISTRACISTRACISTRACISTRACISTRACIST

      America pulls the Trump lever because no one wants these (racist) nutbars governing.

      "OH YEAH???" RACISTRACISTRACISTRACISTRACIST

      Delete
    4. So Conservatives don't really want to vote for the racist, grifting, self-admitted sexual predator, and are just reacting to being called "racists"?

      At least they're finally copping to being reactionaries.

      Delete

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