Donald Trump’s presidency has been unsurprising. One of the least surprising aspects of it thus far is that Nazis, Klansmen, and white supremacists are marching through American streets and assaulting peaceful counter-protestors with impunity.
There is irony in the fact that a clear majority of white people, decrying what they perceive as Democrats’ “identity politics,” joined forces with bona fide Nazis, Klansmen, and white supremacists in 2016 to elect to the presidency a man who cannot perceive anything beyond the grievances generated by his own ego. If the term “identity politics” means anything, it means banding together with one’s racial and cultural group to assert the group’s racial and cultural preferences. Trump made his racial and cultural preferences abundantly clear – immigrants are violent criminals, foreigners cheat us, take our jobs, or are terrorists, women should find a new job if they don’t like being harassed at work, sexual assault by powerful men is fine, this is a Christian nation, African Americans’ lives and communities are hell, and so on. At the same time he was emphasizing these identity issues, Trump failed to develop any actual policies for the economy, international relations, the environment, criminal justice, etc. What is identity politics if it is not a clear majority of white people voting for a candidate who has no substantive policies but who speaks to their shared racial and cultural grievances?
If self-proclaimed nice, respectable Republican voters do not want to be associated with Donald Trump, Nazis, Klansmen, and white supremacists, then those voters need to stop voting to empower them. Maybe most Republican voters are generally good people in their personal lives – and I can attest that many are – but that is not enough anymore, not in the world’s most important democracy.
Voting is a moral duty with moral consequence. Many Republican voters take the duty seriously, but not the consequence. They love to tell us lefties how moral they are, how responsible they are, yet it is Republican voters who elected a know-nothing president in 2000 who then led the country into war on false pretenses. It was Republican voters who elected a man with a fondness for sexual assault to be president in 2016, a man who also was on the side of Nazis, Klansmen, and white supremacists, and knows nothing.
It is long past time for many otherwise decent people in this country to stare at the Republican Party, with clear minds about what it has become, and decide whether it is a mirror image of their own moral selves.