Are Trump supporters racist? By abandoning both facts and logic, That Atlantic claims Trump is a neo-Nazi, so his supporters must be racists too.
My Progressive friends have been on fire this holiday weekend, posting all sorts of articles from anti-Trump mainstream media publications. When I wasn’t cooking, eating, or stuporously digesting, I glanced through a few of them. It would take too much time to fisk them all because, as is the case with Ruth Bader Ginsburg decisions, they are all long, long articles, with the MSM manifestly hoping that length, repetition, and partisan fervor will hide warped facts and contorted logic.
Just for the heck of it, though, I’ve fisked one of the The Atlantic’s latest offerings because it overflows with outrageous assumptions and arguments. In The Nationalist’s Delusion, the author, Adam Serwer (or, as I came to think of him, Adam Sewer) promises to prove to us that “Trump’s supporters backed a time-honored American political tradition, disavowing racism while promising to enact a broad agenda of discrimination.” Well, with that agenda, how could I stop myself from seeing what it takes to make good on that promise?
The article starts with an endless riff about the Louisiana voters who once elected David Duke to Congress. The riff wraps up with Trump’s long-ago prediction that voter anger at Bush Sr.’s weak economy would lose voters to a hypothetical “Duke for President” run or a real Pat Buchanan run. Serwer’s logic is (1) Duke once won a Louisiana seat in Congress and (2) Trump explained why he thought Duke won, therefore (3) Trump is a neo-Nazi. Reading that syllogism, all I can think of is the Professor’s oft-repeated complaint in C.S. Lewis’s The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe: “Why don’t they teach logic at these schools?” Whatever school Serwer attended clearly failed the Professor’s test.
In the face of Serwer’s syllogism, which is ridiculous on its face, it’s important to follow-up by reading Serwer’s own effort at summarizing what Trump actually said. Trump’s words had nothing to do with white supremacism:
A few days after Duke’s strong showing, the Queens-born businessman Donald Trump appeared on CNN’s Larry King Live.
“It’s anger. I mean, that’s an anger vote. People are angry about what’s happened. People are angry about the jobs. If you look at Louisiana, they’re really in deep trouble,” Trump told King.
Trump later predicted that Duke, if he ran for president, would siphon most of his votes away from the incumbent, George H. W. Bush—in the process revealing his own understanding of the effectiveness of white-nationalist appeals to the GOP base.
“Whether that be good or bad, David Duke is going to get a lot of votes. Pat Buchanan—who really has many of the same theories, except it’s in a better package—Pat Buchanan is going to take a lot of votes away from George Bush,” Trump said. “So if you have these two guys running, or even one of them running, I think George Bush could be in big trouble.” Little more than a year later, Buchanan embarrassed Bush by drawing 37 percent of the vote in New Hampshire’s Republican primary.
In February 2016, Trump was asked by a different CNN host about the former Klan leader’s endorsement of his Republican presidential bid.
“Well, just so you understand, I don’t know anything about David Duke. Okay?,” Trump said. “I don’t know anything about what you’re even talking about with white supremacy or white supremacists. So I don’t know.”
Serwer concludes that Trump revealed “his own understanding of the effectiveness of white-nationalist appeals to the GOP base.” My read on the above is that Trump learned that, if the political class betrays its trust, there is an opening for a new candidate — any new candidate, not just a white nationalist.
To Sewer, er, Serwer, it’s neo-Nazis all the way down. Thus, having duly established (to his own satisfaction) that Republicans are Nazis because Trump supported Duke’s white supremacism, Serwer offers a paragraph manifestly intended to tie modern-day Trump supporters to Duke and, by association, to all Nazis: [Read more…]