The president of the United States is facing a vexing problem: the racism he ran on is no longer in style. In fact, “76 percent of Americans—including 71 percent of white people—called racism and discrimination ‘a big problem’ in the United States.”
This is an enormous shift in the America Donald Trump was elected to govern just three years ago. And while Trump’s base may be the same as it always was, the optics of the world have changed. This puts pressure on Trump to pretend to be less racist than he is.
But even if the country is “theoretically” less racist than it was in 2016, Trump’s racist base is still very racist, and racism is the main issue that galvanizes their shriveled hearts, and so Trumpworld finds itself on a sticky wicket.
How does the president of the United States pretend he's not a racist while trying not to alienate his incredibly racist base? Trumpworld has decided to solve this puzzle with a number of “coincidences.” These “coincidences” can be written off as accidents, because Trumpworld is known, even by its champions, as deeply incompetent. Think of all the misspelled press releases. Even Trumpworld fans must admit its incompetence. So incompetence is a useful way of excusing the racism if Trumpworld gets caught doing something that the media deems too racist to let pass.
Speaking of too racist to let pass, Trumpworld planned to hold Trump’s first rally back after it deemed the coronavirus over (even though it’s still very much raging) on Juneteenth. You know, the day that marked the end of slavery. And this Juneteenth rally was planned in Tulsa. You know, Tulsa, Oklahoma, the site the of one of the worst post-Civil War massacres of African-Americans ever, the 1921 Tulsa Greenwood Massacre.
After days of protests in nearly every American city, after days of Americans trying to figure out what to do about police officers murdering unarmed African-Americans, the president found absolutely the most racially insensitive place for his rally on the most racially insensitive date.
The New York Times immediately assumed incompetence on the part of Trumpworld: “Mr. Trump and his aides failed to grasp the significance of holding a rally on Juneteenth, a holiday celebrated annually on June 19 that honors the end of slavery in the United States. Nor did they appear to realize that Tulsa was the site of one of the country’s bloodiest outbreaks of racist violence.”
And maybe that’s true. Trumpworld is certainly known for its incompetence. But maybe, just maybe, this was some kind of wink wink nod nod from the Santa Monica Goebbels, Stephen Miller, to Trump’s base. Trumpworld did eventually change the date.
And then there were the Facebook ads. You know, the ones with the upside-down red triangles. I mean sure the Nazis used an upside-down red triangle “in the 1930s to identify Communists, and [it] was applied as well to Social Democrats, liberals, Freemasons and other members of opposition parties incarcerated by the Nazis,” but I’m sure that’s just coincidence, and of course “the Trump campaign placed 88 ads on Facebook — 88 is a number with Nazi connotations.”
But I mean, that’s probably just some coincidence and not a wink to Trump’s anti-Semitic base? Right? I mean, the buy was of 88 ads, and 88 is the number that neo-Nazis use for HH, because “h” is the eighth letter of the alphabet, but I’m sure that’s just some kind weird accident, right? Besides who doesn’t buy 88 ads, instead of, say, 100?
And then there was Junior’s depressing Father’s Day interview with the dad who will never love him. Junior tweeted, “We covered many topics, but there was only one thing I really wanted to know...ARE ALIENS REAL?!?” While watching this 22-minute interview on YouTube, I noticed that the chat was filled with Qs and alien emojis.
I hadn’t realized it, but aliens are one of QAnon’s favorite things. And then on the day of the rally, poor dumb Eric posted a QAnon meme on instagram. He later deleted the meme but the tacit approval of the QAnon cannot be deleted. It was another way that Trumpworld winked to its extremist base while having some plausible deniability.
It’s 136 days until the November election. Trump doesn't want to lose his base, but the world is rapidly changing; statues are being pulled down, and the streets are filled with Americans of every age, every color, every religion, every walk of life. The world is changing, and people are no longer tolerating the status quo.
The president who ran on the weird racist mashup of undercooked Nixonian racist bon mots (“law and order”) is getting further and further away from the mainstream, as the mainstream shifts more towards social justice. Of course, the president is actually a racist so even if his camp wants him to appear less racist, that doesn’t mean that he’ll actually act less racist. Trump is largely the king of the double-down, so it’s possible that he won't deny the racism that his camp is trying to play down.
Trump knows he can’t get re-elected without his base, so the next 136 days will be an uncomfortable balancing act, with the president giving covert racist homages to his base while pretending to adhere to the norms of the larger mainstream culture that does not rejoice in the killing of black people and liberals.
Watch for more racist “accidents,” more ads bought in numbers that reflect neo-Nazi symbolism, more rallies on dates of importance to the groups that Trumpworld hates. If there’s anything we can count on in Trumpworld, it’s that this is never the bottom. It can always and will always get worse.