Saturday, October 15, 2016

How Trump Has Taken Hate Groups Mainstream

rally in Stone Mountain, Georgia, in April 2016 
Being gay causes one, or at least it caused me, to start following anti-gay hate groups almost 20 years ago.  Most wrap themselves in the cloak of "family values" organizations and use the excuse of "deeply held religious belief" to justify stigmatizing others and depriving others of civil rights. Often, those they hate are depicted as less than human and/or a threat to civilization.  One thing I quickly discovered is that if one scratched beneath the "Christian" veneer of these organizations, they also tended to be anti-Semitic and racist. Indeed, in the case of Family Research Council, its president has well documented ties to white supremacy groups and here in Virginia, The Family Foundation membership traces back to those behind the "Massive Resistance" effort that closed Virginia public schools rather than desegregate them.  In this election cycle, Donald Trump has brought both these relgious extremist groups and other hate groups, particularly white supremacy groups and white nationalist groups main stream and made them the core of his support within the GOP.  Amazingly, many Republican friends continue to close their eyes to who they are now in bed with in their support for Trump, America's would be fuhrer.  A lengthy piece in Mother Jones looks at how this happened.  Here are highlights, but one should read the entire piece:
The first warning sign that something new was brewing came in June 2015, as Donald Trump joined the crowded field vying for the Republican presidential nomination. In the extravagant lobby of Trump Tower in New York City, he announced he would build a wall to keep out Mexican criminals and "rapists."
"I urge all readers of this site to do whatever they can to make Donald Trump President," wrote Andrew Anglin, publisher of the neo-Nazi site Daily Stormer, 12 days later. Anglin, a 32-year-old skinhead who wears an Aryan "Black Sun"tattoo on his chest and riffs about the inferior "biological nature" of black people, hailed Trump as "the only candidate who is even talking about anything at all that matters."
This neo-Nazi seal of approval initially seemed like an aberration. But two months later, when Trump released his immigration policy, far-right extremists saw a clear signal that Trump understood their core anger and fear about America being taken over by minorities and foreigners. Trump's plan to deport masses of undocumented immigrants and end birthright citizenship was radical and thrilling—"a revolution," in the words of influential white nationalist author Kevin MacDonald, "to restore a White America."
Trump's move was a "game changer," said MacDonald, a 70-year-old silver-haired former academic who edits the Occidental Observer, which the Anti-Defamation League calls "online anti-Semitism's new voice." Trump, he wrote, "is saying what White Americans have been actually thinking for a very long time."
"Stunning," raved Peter Brimelow, editor of the anti-immigrant site "The thing that delighted us the most," he wrote, was Trump's plan to close "the 'Anchor Baby' loophole," denying citizenship to the American-born children of immigrants—a policy that Brimelow said he had been advocating for more than a decade.
Trump "may be the last hope for a president who would be good for white people," remarked Jared Taylor, who runs a white nationalist website calledAmerican Renaissance and once founded a think tank dedicated to "scientifically" proving white superiority. 
Trump fever quickly spread: Other extremists new to presidential politics openly endorsed Trump, including Don Black, a former grand dragon of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan and founder of the neo-Nazi site Stormfront; Rocky Suhayda, chair of the American Nazi Party; and Rachel Pendergraft, a national organizer for the Knights Party, the successor to David Duke's Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. Richard Spencer, an emerging leader among a new generation of white nationalists known as the "alt right," declared that Trump "loves white people." 
But Trump did not become the object of white nationalist affection simply because his positions reflect their core concerns. Extremists made him their chosen candidate and now hail him as "Emperor Trump" because he has amplified their message on social media—and, perhaps most importantly, has gone to great lengths to avoid distancing himself from the racist right. With the exception of Duke, Trump has not disavowed a single endorsement from the dozens of neo-Nazis, Klansmen, white nationalists, and militia supporters who have backed him. The GOP nominee, along with his family members, staffers, and surrogates, has instead provided an unprecedented platform for the ideas and rhetoric of far-right extremists, extending their reach. And when challenged on it by the press, Trump has stalled, feigned ignorance, or deflected—but has never specifically rejected any of these other extremists or their ideas.
This stance has thrilled and emboldened hate groups far more than has been generally understood during the 2016 race for the White House. Moreover, Trump's tacit welcoming of these hate groups into mainstream American politics will have long-lasting consequences, according to these groups' own leaders, regardless of the election outcome.
A three-month investigation by Mother Jones and the Investigative Fund—including interviews with white nationalist leaders and an analysis of social-media networks, nearly 100 hours of fringe talk radio, and dozens of posts on influential hate sites—reveals that what has largely been portrayed by the media as Trump "gaffes" has instead been understood by far-right extremists as a warm embrace by Trump. Extremists' zeal for Trump only grew with his decision in August to hire a new campaign chief, Stephen Bannon, the former publisher of Breitbart News and a big booster himself of far-right rhetoric. 
In early October, when bombshell archival video revealed Trump bragging about sexual assault and plunged his campaign and the GOP into chaos, that only further energized his extremist supporters. "Girls really don't mind guys that like pussies," influential alt-right video blogger RamZPaul said. "They just hate guys who are pussies."
"The people believe Trump won the debate," Anglin posted. "It's really just an objective fact. Not sure how even liberal kikes could claim otherwise."
To understand how Trump's unspoken alliance with the far right has really worked, take one instance that caused a fleeting uproar last November, when Trump retweeted a graphic falsely claiming that black people were responsible for 81 percent of white homicides. Its source was a white supremacist Twitter feed whose logo is a modified swastika. Politifact and others quickly documented how "wildly inaccurate" the racist graphic was.
After a quick round of fact-checking and rebuke, however, the media moved on. But white nationalist news sites and radio programs were transfixed.  . . . . Trump had done the politically unthinkable—and then he doubled down, declining to delete the tweet (which remains live as of this publication) and asking rhetorically on Fox News, "Am I gonna check every statistic?" Even when Bill O'Reilly urged him, "Don't put your name on stuff like this," Trump didn't back down, saying, "It came from sources that are very credible, what can I tell you."
At various turns in the campaign, Trump has faced questions from the media about his seeming dalliance with the far right, from his selection of a white nationalist party leader as a Republican National Convention delegate, to his retweet of the handle @whitegenocideTM (which was later suspended by Twitter).  . . . . But Trump didn't back down—greatly impressing the men who had voiced the calls, Jared Taylor and American Freedom Party leader William Johnson. Interviewed on Political Cesspool, Taylor said, "For days everybody was calling him up, calling up his campaign, saying, 'What do you think of these horrible people? Denounce them, denounce them.' And he didn't. He maintained a dignified silence."
Moreover, Trump openly sympathized with these white nationalist leaders. 
Just a few weeks later, Trump retweeted a riff disparaging Jeb Bush that had been posted by @WhiteGenocideTM, whose user had previously tweeted out his or her admiration for Hitler. The account @TheNordicNation crowed, "You can say #WhiteGenocide now, Trump has brought it into the mainstream."
Trump's embrace of the far right soon moved beyond the internet. In late February, the Trump campaign granted Edwards media credentials to broadcast from a Trump campaign rally in Tennessee; and days later, Edwards interviewed Donald Trump Jr. on a white nationalist radio show, the Liberty RoundTable. Despite controversy over the interview, Edwards then received credentials for the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, where he interviewed members of Congress and a Trump surrogate for his show.
This courtship burst more fully into view in February, when David Duke told his radio audience that voting against Trump was "really treason to your heritage. "When asked about it by CNN's Jake Tapper, Trump tap-danced around the question, saying he didn't know enough about Duke or the Klan to disavow them. The alt-right viewed Trump's subsequent remarks on MSNBC'sMorning Joe—"David Duke is a bad person who I disavowed on numerous occasions over the years"—not as a sign of retreat, but as one of strength. 
The pattern continued throughout the presidential race, from Trump's disparagement of a Mexican American judge overseeing a lawsuit against Trump University to Trump's retweet of an anti-Semitic image featuring a Star of David and a pile of cash that white nationalists used to smear Hillary Clinton. During the fallout from the latter, Trump went right along with the far right's pushback that the star was simply a sheriff's badge. Trump also refused to condemn the barrage of anti-Semitic attacks on journalist Julia Ioffe after she wrote an unflattering portrait of his wife, Melania Trump.
Donald Trump Jr. has also participated in this dynamic, including with his recent tweet of a meme comparing Syrian refugees to a bowl of poisonous Skittles, which delighted extremists. 
[I]n-depth analysis we conducted of Twitter activity during a week in September shed further light on social-media connections between far-right extremists and the Trump campaign. In consultation with the Southern Poverty Law Center, we compiled a list of hashtags and catchphrases stemming from extremist movements, terms steeped in Holocaust denial, anti-Muslim invective, and other expressions of bigotry and racism. 
Our analysis of the accounts of more than 200 Trump campaign staffers and surrogates revealed that more than two dozen of them were following five or more of the top extremist influencers.
Nancy Mace, Trump's coalitions director for South Carolina, followed 67 extremist influencers in September, including @Rebel_Bill, who regularly posts virulently anti-Semitic riffs and tweeted an image of a transgender woman using a women's bathroom with the words: "Prosecute or lynch."
Trump's South Carolina field director Gerri McDaniel and New Hampshire operative Cynthia Howard each followed @Suthen_boy, who goes by the name Gen. Robert E. Lee and has tweeted about "Black Savages" and declared that "Germans better get over Holocaust guilt or they'll wind up like the Jews only at the hands of muslim vermin."
Geoff Diehl, Trump's Massachusetts field director, followed @LiberalMediaSux, who has tweeted that Islam "condones beastiality and pedophilia" and refers to Muslims as "goat humpers." Trump spokeswoman Katrina Pierson followed accounts that have declared that "multiculturalism" promotes a program of "genocide against Whites" . . .
Trump surrogates have continued to court the extreme right. In early October, Trump's son Eric and longtime adviser Roger Stone both appeared on the far-right radio program Liberty RoundTable, the one that aired white nationalist James Edwards' interview with Donald Trump Jr. in March. And on October 12, senior Trump adviser A.J. Delgado retweeted a comment from the notoriously anti-Semitic site The Right Stuff, which gave rise to the triple-parentheses "echo" symbol deployed by the alt-right on social media to target Jewish writers.
It all stems from one core issue. "Race is at the foundation of everything to the alt-righters," says Mark Potok, a senior fellow at the Southern Poverty Law Center. "They have this idea that white people and white civilization are under assault by the forces of political correctness."
The mainstreaming of alt-right ideology by the Trump campaign has also had an invigorating effect on an older generation of white nationalists. . . . . the surviving remnant of Duke's old organization, now being revived by his daughter, Pendergraft, who specializes in white supremacist appeals to women.
Pendergraft, who endorsed Trump last December, said her organization has seen an increase in membership due to Trump. "White people are realizing they are becoming strangers in their own country and they do not have a major political voice speaking for them," she told us. "Trump is one example of the alternative-right candidate Knights Party members and supporters have been looking for. 
He envisions alt-right candidates for school board, city council, and mayor. "I feel my job will be done when at the PTA meeting a woman gets up and says, 'Well of course there aren't as many blacks in the AP courses, because they just do not have the same average IQ,' and nobody objects."
Anglin predicted that if Trump loses, "it is by fraud, and all of these people who are currently supporting him are going to be radicalized." Those radicals, he said, will finally realize "there is a Jewish media conspiracy" and "a war on the White man." Picking up on Trump's own assertion that a Clinton victory would mean the election is "rigged," Anglin said Trump would "order a putsch." . . . If Barack Obama can legitimize gay marriage and transsexuals, Donald Trump can legitimize the Alt-Right."
These people are horrible and dangerous.  Growing up, my mother admonished me and my siblings to be careful who we associated with since it could label us in a negative way.  It is time decent Republicans realize that the GOP has become a cesspool and leave it.  It is no longer the party of my parents and grandparents.  It has become something hideous and Trump has mainstreamed the hate and ugliness.

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