Thursday, Hillary Clinton’s campaign unveiled a nasty new ad.
The ad shows various white nationalists and members of the alt-right voicing support for Trump, who they believe represents their values. Also featured is Breitbart News’ Steve Bannon, who recently joined Trump’s presidential campaign.
Why do so many Ku Klux Klan members support Trump?
"A lot of what he believes, we believe in." https://t.co/AqB3DLKL9f
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) August 25, 2016
There’s a lot to unpack here. Hillary’s ad isn’t all wrong, it’s also not all right.
Unlike any other presidential candidate in recent history, Trump has emboldened and empowered the oft racist and anti-Semetic alt-right.
Anyone who spends a fair amount of time on social media and is critical of Trump has likely had a run in or few hundred with the alt-right crowd. They’re a nasty bunch that enjoys preaching about the victimization of the white race, using “Jew” as a slur, and resorting to threats of rape should one disagree, even in the most cordial of fashions.
How large the alt-right is in real life, I have no clue, though I suspect they’re smaller in number than their social media activity would imply. Regardless, they’ve created a formidable web presence through the course of this election cycle. All of that to say — the alt-right does love Trump and they are racist, in the most literal of senses, not “racist” circa the 2008 election.
Also true is that Trump has not disavowed his alt-right following, despite numerous pleas to do so. Trump has also caused a stink on more than one occasion by retweeting alt-right run accounts from his personal Twitter account.
What do we make of all of this? Irrespective of candidate or party (and frequent readers are well aware of my disdain for Trump), there are few tactics I loathe more than guilt by association.
So a bunch of racist kooks like Trump, does that make Trump a racist kook? Hardly. Basic logic explains that much. For years the media has stoked the race fire, up shows Trump, talking about big beautiful walls, and the disenfranchised, mostly forgotten white middle class (which hey, actually exists), and a gross fringe group sees a hero.
To be clear — like the Birchers before them, the alt-right should be purged from the right. Conservatism is no home to those who view the world through the prism of race or religion. Period. End of discussion.
Clinton didn’t stop with the ad though. She gave an entire speech elevating the alt-right to the national platform, harping on Trump’s alleged association.
During a speech in Reno, Nev., Clinton went big. And she almost seemed to take a page out of Trump’s playbook, using bold claims and the power of suggestion to paint a dark picture of a Donald Trump who isn’t just an unwitting bigot, but rather someone deliberately advocating racist policies and fomenting extremism in the United States.
“Trump’s lack of knowledge or experience or solutions would be bad enough,” Clinton said. “But what he’s doing here is more sinister.”
She said Trump is a man with a demonstrated history of racial discrimination in his business dealings, who is “reinforcing harmful stereotypes and offering a dog whistle to his most hateful supporters.”
She said people who are thinking it’s all bluster and that he might change his ways are hoping against hope.
“But the hard truth is, there’s no other Donald Trump,” she said. “This is it.”
Her full speech is here:
Is Trump racist? Hell if I know. What I do know is someone like Hillary is the last person on the face of the planet who ought to be lecturing anyone about inappropriate relationships. I mean hello! Huma Abedin, Sydney Blumenthal, Bill Clinton, Russian uranium purchasers, the list goes on and on and on. If Trump had any reasonable campaign infrastructure, his campaign could and should be highlighting those real (not imagined) nefarious relationships of Hillary’s.
But if we’re going to play the Who’s More Racisty? game, then I submit this video of Hillary calling Senator Robert Byrd, former KKK member, her “mentor”.
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