There are committed white supremacists in America. We all know that. But it’s really more of an unexamined assumption for most white people than an actively held principle. Sometimes it wins votes but sometimes it doesn’t. And quite a lot of white people are often willing to do…something…to help out people of color, but?only as a one time thing that is going to fix it all. That something could be the 1964 Civil Rights Act, it could be voting for Barack Obama, but pretty much some discrete thing as a one shot cure-all. Needless to say, it doesn’t work that way. Which leads to some backlash, you know, “Why aren’t they thankful?” That sort of thing.

The thing is, though, that a large swath of white people want to think of themselves as racially sensitive, and that American culture is fundamentally fair racially. Trump makes that impossible. He is going after all the ones who aren’t that way, of course, and there are a good amount of those. But there’s a reason why Lester Maddox, Richard Russell, Theodore Bilbo, etc., never were elected president. Not because America isn’t racist (it is!), but because Trump makes it impossible to pretend it isn’t, which is what white people desperately want to go back to doing. So I agree that this is not a good strategy Trump’s pursuing, but I suppose we’ll see next year.

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