IMG_TK-Confederate_flag__2_1_JDB86S2U_L310756755     On Saturday, several dozen torch-wielding protesters gathered in Charlottesville’s Lee Park chanting “You will not replace us,” “Russia is our friend” and “Blood and soil.” It was a short protest, quickly dispersed.

It was a response to the Charlottesville City Council, which in April voted to sell the statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee that stands in the park. A judge earlier this month issued an injunction that prevents the city from doing so for six months. It’s part of a – well, movement is too sweeping a term – concurrent effort to remove Confederate monuments from public spaces throughout the south.

It’s hard to say how representative the protesters are of white Southerners today. The removal of the confederate flag from South Carolina in 2015 after Dylan Roof massacred black people in a Charleston church. Yet the fight over the flag hasn’t ended.

It’s easy for many to day, “you lost the Civil War, get over it already.” But to some – okay many, even most – Americans who see Civil War symbols as a reminder of slavery, to some, they’re something else (but don’t call these people racists). In banning the Confederate flag in 2015, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley said that it could be displayed, but in a museum. Many others equated it with Nazi symbols, something you just don’t wear in public. Then again, one wonders how many people have both swastikas and Confederate flags in that venn diagram of white supremacist groups.

Right, we’re not supposed to call those who want to preserve Confederate symbols in public places racists. Just historians. Okay then. We’re actually not interested in debating that. What we do find interesting is this: the Charlottesville protesters chanted “you will not replace us!”

Replace hard-core Confederates? Replace white nationalists? Or replace… white people?

White Americans – north, south, east and west – are very touchy these days. In study after study, the idea that white people were losing ground – economically and culturally – was a main reason they voted for Trump.

Now, the latest research offers more evidence that it was fear of diversity – okay let’s just call it racism, mixed with xenophobia – that motivated Trump voters:

Sixty-eight percent of respondents to the PRRI analysis said they believed the U.S. was in danger of losing its cultural identity. Similarly, 65 percent responded that American culture had deteriorated since the 1950s. And more than half of white working-class Americans said that discrimination against whites was as big a problem as discrimination facing blacks and other minorities.

Discrimination against whites. So, we’re at a chicken-or-egg question. Did Trump stoke the fears that were already there, making white pride a thing? Or did he funnel all of the fears of white Americans into one convenient container: race?

You will not replace us: those projections that the U.S. will be racially plural in this century really, really have struck at the heart of white America.

There’s a story in the Washington Post today about how Trump supporters trust him to do the right thing on health care, no matter what the evidence shows them.

Near the end of the story is a telling anecdote that shows how easy it is for whites to blame non-whites for their economic insecurity. It’s a knee-jerk reaction. In this case a mom, Nancy Ware who has helped her 35-year-old son find an insurance plan and complains about the lack of competition in the exchange in Nashville making her premiums too high. Legitimate complaint. But who does she blame? Not the insurance companies or Tennessee’s political leaders who wouldn’t expand Medicaid. She points the finger at… you know.

Ware is a landscaper and often works near Section 8 housing in the Nashville area, and she becomes furious when she sees residents who “drive better cars than I do, they have weaves and hair color better than I can, they have manicures.” As Ware, who is white, waited in line for the rally to start, a group of young African American protesters walked by, and she yelled at them, “Go cash your welfare checks!”

“He gets penalized on his income taxes, while these people that don’t know how to pull their pants up can go get it for free,” said Ware, whose employer covers the full cost of her health care. “Make it even. Make it balanced.”

Anyone remember Ronald Reagan’s “welfare queen driving a Cadillac” anecdote? Now that welfare queen has health care and a better manicure than white people, apparently.

We’ve been told again and again how the Trump vote was all about economic insecurity. Perhaps. But the blame for that economic insecurity, as it has been throughout American history, is cast on the most convenient scapegoat. In this case, the welfare queen with the better hair color has stolen a white woman’s health care. Because… just because.

And Trump? He’s been doing what race-baiting politicians have always done. Except they used to do it in coded ways, dog whistles like “welfare queen.” The dog whistle is gone. The megaphone is here.


Wait. Keep reading. We know that elections have a lot of moving pieces and there are many ways to explain a “loss”: we put that in quotes because Hillary Clinton won the popular vote, possibly by more than two million when all from California are counted.

But we’ve commented many times on the “Make America Great Again” slogan. Do its adherents have any idea exactly what date when America was last great? 1956? Before they were born? What has been making America not so great?

There are many answers these voters have been giving. They’ll blame NAFTA, they’ll blame ISIS – which is a minimal threat within America’s borders, but whatever – and they’ll blame the “elites” (gee, who did you think you voted for? Joe the Plumber?)

But what many have said – many white men – have said, explicitly and covertly, is that they’re losing their power. From The Nation magazine:

Indeed, when these voters scream about the economy, when Trump appealed to them, over and over, by claiming that the government was wasting their money, a big part of that was the perception that government money was going to help African Americans, single mothers, and the white people in their neighborhoods they deemed lazy. Trump ally Roger Stone said in September, about his candidate’s appeal to black voters: “When you are trading your vote for a welfare check, yes, that is a form of slavery. Yes.”

Again, not just loss of white privilege, but white male privilege. The Nation continues:

They were voting against an economy they believed was giving women a step up. In July, David Frum, in The Atlantic, compiled all of the conversations and interviews he’d done with Trump voters into an anti-elite screed written from their perspective. “In our America, the gender gap closed a long time ago—and then went into reverse,” he wrote. “Obama in the Oval Office was humiliating enough. But Hillary will be worse: We’re going to lose any idea at all that leadership is a man’s job.” I looked into this and it isn’t true. Everywhere in the country, women do worse than men in both job-market participation and in salaries. If there’s a tiny pocket of the country where women do better than men, it is not large enough to measure or make even a tiny difference in what we do measure. What is true is that women had been gaining ground. Men in rural communities across the country are unable to perceive that as anything but a loss to their own advantages.

So. Will America be great enough for them after four years of the new administration? We have to doubt that.

By now everyone has heard about Hillary Clinton’s comment about half of her opponent’s supporters falling into a “basket of deplorables” – sexist and racist mostly.

The pushback from her opponent and his surrogates has been hard and unrelenting. But unless we’ve missed it, none of these surrogates or Trump himself have refuted the claim. None of them have said, “no, most of my supporters are not racist at all.”

Because it wouldn’t be true.

Of course it’s political season, and lies are flying fast and furious. But the framing of the counter-attack on Clinton is telling. Trump has been courting racists and alt-right white nationalists since the beginning.

Dana Milbank in the Washington Post says what everyone in the U.S. should already know; that a good percentage – okay, we can quibble about the exact percentage - are bigoted or racist:

In June, the Pew Research Center found that 79 percent of Clinton voters believe the treatment of racial and ethnic minorities is an important issue, while only 42 percent of Trump supporters feel that way. As I wrote previously, earlier Pew research found that Trump supporters were significantly less likely than other Americans (and supporters of other Republican presidential candidates) to think that racial and ethnic diversity improves the United States.

Research by Washington Post pollsters and by University of California at Irvine political scientist Michael Tesler, among others, have found that Trump does best among Americans who express racial animus. Evidence indicates fear that white people are losing ground was the single greatest predictor of support for Trump — more, even, than economic anxiety.

So, okay, maybe deplorable is an loaded term. It might be more accurate to say, “Trump does best among Americans who express racial animus and white people who fear they are losing economic ground, therefore they blame people of color.” It’s a little wordy, though, right?

What we can say for sure is, it’s going to be a very long 53 days until this election is over.

Well, he didn’t say this in so many words, but if you look at his history of comments on the matter, that’s the narrative.

The latest is Trump bashing Judge Gonzalo Curiel, the federal judge presiding over two class-action suits against Trump University.

From the Wall Street Journal yesterday:
Mr. Trump said U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel had “an absolute conflict” in presiding over the litigation given that he was “of Mexican heritage” and a member of a Latino lawyers’ association. Mr. Trump said the background of the judge, who was born in Indiana to Mexican immigrants, was relevant because of his campaign stance against illegal immigration and his pledge to seal the southern U.S. border. “I’m building a wall. It’s an inherent conflict of interest,” Mr. Trump said.

Get that? Curiel is hostile toward Trump because he’s Hispanic and proud of it.

Let’s not overlook the unprecedented event of presidential nominee of a major political party to be attacking a member of the federal judiciary. That’s horrible even without the racial angle.

Now Trump claims Judge Curiel cannot carry out his duties as judge because his parents were born in Mexico. Let’s also consider this irony: Judge Curiel’s father arrived in the United States before Trump’s mother. This claim suggests that Mexican-Americans have inherently divided loyalties and that it is obvious on its face that any Hispanic in the United States would be hostile to Donald Trump. And, by extension, to all white people. That’s the implication isn’t it?

Trump’s campaign has been driven by building white backlash resentment against non-whites – mainly Hispanics and principally Mexican immigrants. It looks like he’s not going to scale back these attacks but instead double down on them: Those people are not us, they’re dangerous, they’re taking our stuff and pulling us down.

It’s going to be an ugly 5 months.

Political insiders have wondered for decades how to motivate Latinos to vote. Now they have their answer: Donald Trump.

Trump is poised to win today’s primary in Indiana, and if he does he will have a clear path to the GOP nomination for President, most political experts agree. The dawning realization that the Republican nominee will likely be Trump has led to a spike in voter registration for Latinos. And they’re not registering to vote FOR him either.

Arturo Vargas, executive director of the National Association of Elected and Appointed Officials, projects 13.1 million Hispanics will vote nationwide in 2016, compared to 11.2 million in 2012 and 9.7 million in 2008.

A whopping 80 percent of respondents in a poll of registered Hispanic voters in Colorado and Nevada said Trump’s views on immigration made them less likely to vote for Republicans in November. In Florida, that number was 68 percent.

The figures are sparking confident tones from Democrats, who think their party’s nominee will benefit from a huge advantage in the fall not only in the presidential race but also in battles for the House and Senate.

Many of the newly registered Hispanic voters are in relatively safe states for Democrats (California) and Republicans (Texas). But rising registration rates among Hispanics in swing states of Colorado, Florida and Nevada could make it easier for the Democratic candidate to capture them. If Trump proves especially toxic, even states like Arizona and Georgia could be in play.

It’s Trumps loud demands to close the border that have motivated Latinos, not just the policy itself (most wouldn’t be directly affected by it) but the ugliness of the rhetoric, including Trump’s most ardent supporters.

Does anyone want to take bets on whether Trump will double down on the rhetoric?

Donald Trump, the “Mexican illegals are rapists and murderers” candidate, is having an unintended effect on immigration in the U.S. According to multiple news outlets, Latinos are clamoring to get naturalized this year just to vote against him.

Figures from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services show a 14.5% jump in naturalization applications in June-December of 2015 compared with the same six months in the previous year. Federal data does not break down those applications by race, but grass-roots organizations, like the Florida Immigrant Coalition, say their naturalization drives across their swing state are filled primarily by Latinos.

“They feel very unsafe with his words,” said Florida Immigrant Coalition spokesman Ivan Parra. “They want to be respected. For them, it is an emergency.”

We’ve been hearing about this trend from other states as well. And it shouldn’t be surprising. Remember that 2013 Republican party post-mortem, after Latinos shunned Romney in the 2012 election? With Trump at the top of the ticket, if he is, the Republican party could be looking at shutting out Latinos for a generation or two. What does it take to awaken that “sleeping giant”? Maybe a candidate as toxic and hostile to non-whites as Trump.

No wonder the GOP establishment is trying so hard to stop him. Well, good luck with that. Seriously, good luck.



Here’s another political post, though really the interesting part is about the demographics of death in the U.S.

The immediate story is that Donald Trump’s margins of victory in the primary elections have been highest in states where the rate of deaths among middle-aged white Americans is going up. According to the Washington Post:

We’re focusing on middle-aged whites because the data show that something has gone terribly wrong with their lives. In a study last year, economists Anne Case and Angus Deaton pointed out that mortality rates for this group have actually been increasing since the ’90s.

That fact becomes more alarming when you look at the context. Over the past decade, Hispanic people have been dying at a slower rate; black people have been dying at a slower rate; white people in other countries have been dying at a slower rate.

What’s most interesting, from a demographic perspective, is why  death rates for middle-aged whites are going up. The study mentioned by the Washington Post didn’t point definitively to any causes, but the researchers suggested  that alcohol abuse, suicides and the opioid epidemic have something to do with it.

The rate of fatal “poisonings” for instance — a category that includes drug overdoses — more than tripled among middle-aged whites since 2000.

Good grief. So that Make America Great Again slogan, to some ears might be “Help Us White People Stop Dying So Fast.” Doesn’t make a great bumper sticker though.

For more information on the demographic study showing higher middle-aged white deaths in the U.S., go here.


Remember way back to 2013, when Barack Obama had won re-election and his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, captured an anemic share of the Latino vote? The Republican national party did a post-mortem on what went wrong, and came up with a must-do prescription: reach out to more African American, Asian, and Latino voters:

The $10 million outreach effort to includes hiring national political directors for Hispanic, Asian-Pacific and African American voters and elevating minorities within the party. “We’ve done a real lousy job sometimes of bragging about the success that we’ve had” with minorities, in particular Hispanic candidates, Priebus said. To target African Americans, he plans to launch a pilot project in 2013 mayoral races aimed at identifying and turning out potential supporters in urban areas.

Fast forward to summer of 2015. The GOP front-runner is a celebrity businessman who launched his bid for the nomination by calling Mexican immigrants rapists and murderers.

Not surprisingly, Gallup’s daily tracking poll finds Donald Trump doing unbelievably awful among Latino voters, with 65 percent viewing him unfavorably and 14 percent favorably for a net favorable score of -51.

Again, in a crowded GOP field, Trump is the front-runner. And he’s sucking up all the media oxygen. What’s more dispiriting to those who would like politicians of any party to engage in less incendiary rhetoric, the other GOP candidates are doing a “me too.”

Jeb Bush dropped the “anchor babies” bomb last week. You know, that’s where hordes of Mexican women cross the border and have their babies, thereby “anchoring” them in the U.S., giving them sweet, sweet, citizenship. It’s considered a pejorative, and frankly there’s not much evidence that this so-called practice is a big issue in immigration. But it sure does rile up nativist voters. Then this week Jeb launched his “insult every group” strategy by clarifying that in using the anchor babies term, he was really referring to Asians.

Oh yes, he did. Now, in 2015, walk-backs include a high kick to the face of someone else.

The GOP candidates are dancing to Trump’s tune. It’s ugly and it’s pathetic. And the longer it goes on the slimmer any GOP candidate’s chances are of capturing minority votes. So much for that 2013 post-mortem.

The latest flap includes Trump removing Gorge Ramos of Univision from his press conference. For trying to ask a question about Trump’s immigration plan, aside from his stated plan that “it’s all about management,” and “we’ll build a beautiful wall.”

“Go back to Univision,” he told Ramos. Sounds a little like “go back to Mexico,” doesn’t it?

The political site makes the case that Trump’s actions will have a scorched earth effect, keeping Latinos and other minorities away from the party not just in this election, but for many elections to come:

As the New York Times reported, it’s not just Ramos, but Spanish-speaking media on the whole has been more critical of Trump than general market news. Analysis by the nonpartisan media analytics company Two.42.Solutions showed that 80 percent of Spanish-speaking media coverage of Trump focused on his immigration views — as opposed to 58 percent of Trump’s mention in mainstream news — and that coverage has been largely negative, according to the Times.

According to a separate soon-to-be published study by Sergio I. Garcia-Rios, a Latino Studies professor at Cornell University, Latinos who pay close attention to Spanish-speaking media are more likely to be politically active.

“This is not only media, it is media in Spanish, and for the most part we understand that as being Jorge Ramos,” Garcia-Rios told TPM. “This is even among English speakers, who prefer to use English at home. Those who watch news in Spanish, they’re more likely to be excited about politics and more likely to participate.”

Yep. And they’re more likely to vote for the Democrat. If Trump prevails in winning the nomination, something unthinkable just a few months ago, he may have negative coattails, hurting GOP candidates’ chances down ticket across the country. The GOP will be seen as a white nativist anti-immigrant party, riding that tiger all the way to defeat for a generation.