Erik Erickson: Trump is a Racist

The issue, I think, isn't whether or not Trump is a racist. It's whether there's a home left for non-racist beliefs.
Even the New York Times wrote, “Mr. Trump again steered his pirate ship into uncharted waters, firing off personal and racially tinged attacks against a federal judge”

These were not racially tinged or racially charged attacks.

This was racism plain and simple.

The partisan press has long muddied what is and is not racist in this country and now confronted by actual racism cannot bring itself to use the word lest it be judging Trump.

The attacks are racist. To claim that someone is unable to objectively and professional perform his job because of his race is racism.
We've been talking here about Trump's attempt to build a white voting bloc to match the Democrats' black, Latino and Asian voting blocs. I think it's a terrible idea in the sense that it will formalize and cement hostility among Americans, and make it impossible to pursue common goods instead of tribalism. I also think it will likely work, because it is a kind of division people seem naturally to prefer. We will end up with a politics like Brazil's.

The alternative isn't clear, though. Justice Sotomayor made essentially the same argument Trump is making, albeit with the polarity reversed, in her frequent and infamous remarks on the value of having "a wise Latina" on the bench. The argument is that there's something about this quality -- which may not really be race, but is certainly ethnicity -- that will inform one's judgment. All Trump is saying is the same thing. He's just portraying it as a bad thing instead of a good thing.

The Democratic Party portrays itself as anti-racist, but in fact it is the party that has led us here by building its electoral success around racial voting blocs. It continues to try to divide white Americans by class because that prevents a majority voting bloc from forming against them. Everyone else it wants to vote their 'racial interest' by joining the D-majority voting bloc. What Trump is saying is that America should just go all the way to a polity divided by race. What would be wiser would be to break up the extant racial voting blocs, not to finish the work of dividing the nation this way.

Again, though, I don't know how you accomplish that. We probably can't do it until we can speak clearly about it. It won't do to let the Democrats' conduct slide while portraying Trump and his white bloc as some kind of especially wicked racists. He is making a racist appeal. The trick is, so is everyone else. Yet somehow, we continue to talk as if only Trump's version of this electoral strategy is racist. We can't fix the problem unless we acknowledge how much bigger it is than him.

UPDATE: Power Line makes an allied point.


Tom said...

Much as it pains me to defend Trump, it's not clear to me that this was racist. Trump makes the valid point that the judge's parents were Mexican immigrants and that he is affiliated with a group that may be affiliated with La Raza. Because Trump has made building a wall on the border a big part of his platform, he questions whether this judge can be impartial. Also, we need to use terms clearly, and "Mexican" isn't a race. It's a nationality.

Now, of course, maybe that's just the cover story and really it is just plain old racism. Or maybe it's just an attempt to shake things up and see what happens. I don't claim to know the minds of men, and as we get further and further into this election season, I believe I know them less and less. My point is, it's not as clear as Erickson makes it out to be, and if we're going to wade into this, we really do need to be clear and honest.

What I think is absolutely true is that we have to start talking honestly about race and racism, and that's going to be one BIG, BIG brawl. The left has everything invested in it, and the left has been allowed to redefine the terms of discussion in such a way that we cannot even express our opinions, much less win the argument. So, the first major campaign should be one over terminology. We have to fight for our definitions and win that before our honest discussion can occur.

Yeah, even if that means sometimes defending people we really, really don't like.

Grim said...

I don't know that it constitutes defending him, but it is worth pointing out that his concerns are just the same as Sotomayor's. She was appointed to the Supreme Court of the United States by President Obama based on her commitment to doing just what Trump is worried about the other judge doing.

We have to be able to ask: Is this appropriate? Is it inevitable? Can a judge overlook these aspects and render a fair judgment?

Can a juror? This is the same issue that led to the 7-1 SCOTUS reversal of a conviction for murder in Georgia the other day. Justice Thomas was the only one who stood up for the idea that we shouldn't worry about the racial makeup of the jury, at least not in a case where there was a confession to the rape and murder.

Tom said...

I completely agree. In the war over terminology, employing their own terms and usage against them to highlight their contradictions will be an essential tactic, I think.

Dad29 said...

What Trump is saying is that America should just go all the way to a polity divided by race.

That is what Vox Day has been saying for quite some time, too, and it appears from his writing that the "alt-right" is in the same boat.

Eric Blair said...

Well, if the judge is actually a member of "La Raza" as has been reported, then Trump has every right to complain. In fact he's supposed to complain.

As Grim points out, this is only Balkanizing the US more than it was, but that is the preferred tactic among the Democrats, from what I've seen over my lifetime.

As the saying goes, you reap what you sow.

Tom said...

He's not a member of the National Council of La Raza, but rather the legal group La Raza Lawyers of San Diego, which does not appear to be affiliated.

Former AG Alberto Gonzales explains it better than I can in the WaPo.

Grim said...

"La Raza" means "the Race." It doesn't matter if the group is affiliated or not -- it's an explicitly racist appeal. It's racist in the purest sense, actually, because it's an entirely invented narrative designed to attain a political purpose. Like the original racism, which was invented to justify the reintroduction of slavery, 'la Raza' is about creating a fictional ideal of a race for a very ethnically diverse Mexican population.

On the other hand, it was a move similar to the move by which America absorbed Germans and Irishmen and Italians into "white people." That's a similarly false thing, which we call a 'race' as if 'race' meant something more than the fictional category. It was designed to paper over diversity so that people could think of themselves as the same in spite of their differences.

The real problem comes now, when 'la Raza' and 'white people' can't see past these nonsense categories we made up. Maybe we need a new nonsense category that unites us.

Ymar Sakar said...

He's not a member of the National Council of La Raza, but rather the legal group La Raza Lawyers of San Diego, which does not appear to be affiliated.

That's sort of like how Jackson and Sharpton aren't "affiliated".

The Leftist alliance has their ways of keeping C3 and in contact. Even if supposedly the IRS isn't affiliated with anti Tea Party political efforts. Clinton wasn't affiliated with Benghazi, removing bodyguard contracts and support, or the lying too.

Maybe we need a new nonsense category that unites us.

Zombie and human. Human vs enemy of humans. Works better.