On dog whistles

I have written a bit about Donald Trump’s dog whistle in recent days. It seems that his desire to find moral equivalence between both sides in Charlottesville is not necessarily proof that he is some kind of racist or neo-Nazi. Of course it puts him on the wrong side, but it seems to me it is all about signalling which side he is on ie the anti-liberal, anti-CNN, anti-smug side.

But I have also tried to write about how Donald Trump is in some ways the embodiment of American politics as it stands today. He is not so much the cause of the country’s divisions but its manifestation.

This clip may sum up the whole thing rather better than I have done…

Axios has transcribed the words of Jon Meacham:

The fires of hate burn the brightest when there are moments of economic and social stress. Reconstruction was that kind of moment. The beginning of the institution of Jim Crow into the 1890s. … You have these moments when some part of the white population, frankly, feels alienated and dispossessed. And the reality of 2017 is … globalization and its discontents. The changing demography of the country. The changing idea that Information Age brains matter more than Manufacturing Age brawn. … That’s part of the reason Donald Trump is president …

And so on the racial question, with all respect and affection to my friend [and fellow panelist], Reverend [Al] Sharpton, it is not a dog whistle if everybody can hear it. And I think that’s where we are right now. … I think that you have these moments where the extremes — the hate, the people who are giving Nazi salutes after we have spent so much blood and treasure trying to liberate the world from the form of tyranny — … it’s an extreme manifestation of an underlying reality.


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