No, I’m not talking about a race war in the Charles Manson sense, but it’s more than entertaining, albeit also somewhat terrifying, that the latest salvos in the Trump/Clinton war will be who said what alleged racist statement and where. It’s going to be a few days of Trump said this, or Clinton said that, as both camps are vying to declare the other the racist of the year. Hence, why this game of “he said, she said” is probably going to get extraordinarily nasty since neither side wants to be pegged as a racist.
Clinton can’t let that narrative settle in since she needs to consolidate as much Democratic support as she can. While her strength with older black voters is strong, younger blacks seem slightly more hesitant in embracing the former first lady, namely due to her support for her husband’s 1994 crime bill. For Trump, besides the horrible optics of being labeled a racist, he doesn’t take kindly to attacks, as we’ve seen, especially ones where he’s labeled a bigot, racist, misogynist, or xenophobic. He’s not going to crawl away into some hole.
Trump has already slammed Clinton for using racist undertones in her support for the 1994 crime bill. He has hit Clinton for acting the same way during her 2008 campaign against then-Sen. Barack Obama.
On the other side, Clinton is doling out ads where she connects Trump to the Ku Klux Klan and other white supremacists. She also slammed the Republican nominee and his allies on the “alt-right” (alternative right), which do espouse racist views. Does that make him the candidate for the Klan? I’m sure there were many racists in this country that voted for Reagan. Doesn’t make him a racist president, though I’m sure liberals would disagree. Moreover, for the millions of Democrats who voted for Reagan in ’84, are they racist since it’s bound that more than a few Klansmen probably casted votes for the Republican that year?
This concerted line of attack was a long time coming. It was already saturated in the media, where anti-Trump liberals pretty much said that Trump is a racist, who says things that hurt people’s feelings. Some on the Right have said the same things, though it appears to have had zero impact. Trump won the Republican nomination, and even with all the shenanigans he has partaken in—some of which were entirely avoidable—he’s still within striking distance of Hillary Clinton in the polls. The RCP average only has her six points ahead of Trump. We all know Clinton is terrible. Is she really that awful that she can’t put this guy away, or even break 50 percent?
Allahpundit wrote over at Hot Air that Clinton’s speech probably gave the alt-right the biggest public relations boost they’re ever going to get—and they’re basking in the glory of her condemnation. The New Republic’s Jeet Heer described the speech as a “mafia kiss” to the GOP, noting that it was a warning to Republicans reluctantly supporting Trump: get off the Trump train or live in disgrace forever. Yet, Allah also pointed out that it’s in Clinton and the Democrats’ best interest to label the GOP as the party of the alt-right, especially with the changing demographics that are upon us:
If Hillary equates Trump with traditional conservative Republicanism, conservative Republicans will be more inclined to rally to his side while he’s taking fire from her. What she wants to do is deepen the divide by convincing moderate GOPers that Trump and his allies are a malignant usurpation to which they owe no allegiance. That’s why she mentioned Ryan — and Ted Cruz, and John McCain, and George W. Bush — as examples of Republicans whose values Trump has affronted. This is Hillary’s “vote for me or stay home” pitch to righties who loathe the alt-right as much as the alt-right loathes them.
In a country that’s trending towards majority-minority, it’s to Democrats’ advantage in a narrow sense to help the other party along in becoming white nationalist; that’s a winning proposition numerically for the left. Whether having an overtly white party forever pitted against an overtly brown party is good for America is a separate question. I’m sanguine about the short-term consequences of elevating the alt-right, though: So long as Republican voters really know what they’re getting into, i.e. that “alt-right” means more than “people Hillary doesn’t like,” I’d rather know how many prefer alt-rightism on the merits than have to guess. Let’s not be under any more illusions about what the American right is and what its values really are. The sooner everyone has a clear sense of the numbers in both camps, the sooner the third-party calculations can begin for one group or the other.
Yet, for now, while Clinton and Trump may hit at each other for being racist. The Clinton Foundation’s ethically questionable inter-workings continue to trickle into the news, while Wikileaks’ Julian Assange promises a data dump that could hurt Hillary. Things are about to get more ugly as Election Day approaches, to which I say, grab a beer (or bourbon) and pop a lot of popcorn. The fireworks show is going to be great, though I cannot say the same about the future of the country. We’re in a mess—and I think both candidates are terrible. But Clinton scares me a lot more.
Last Note: Trump says he doesn't want white supremacists to vote for him: