According to multiple political analysts over the past week, the reported racism displayed by President Donald Trump is nothing compared to what it will be as the 2020 election approaches. Paul Waldman of Prospect has pointed out that when you look at the things Trump says and the way he says them, there are inherent racist undertones in the way that he will describe people. He states, for instance, that if he is being critical of a white person, he will call them things like “crooked,” “ugly,” or some attack on size such as “little.” However, when criticizing a person of color, his go-to move is to attack their intelligence referring to them as “stupid,” “low IQ,” or some other attack on their intelligence. He referred to nations that are primarily inhabited by people of color as being “sh**holes,” but has never referred to European nations he is disgruntled with in the same way, as supported by The Boston Globe.
Annie Karni at Politico stated that since Charlottesville, Trump has figured out what kind of racist rhetoric he can get away with in any given situation and that the positive responses to it from much of his base has emboldened him to push it farther. She feels Trump doesn’t care so much about who is cheering him or why, just that he is being cheered. She cited Bill Kristol, editor-at-large of the Weekly Standard, as saying that Trump has learned saying things such as “there are good people on both sides,” when he appeared to be defending neo-Nazis at the Charlottesville rally didn’t hurt him with his base, that it is okay to pander to racism and use it as a tool to rally his supporters.
— Don Lemon (@donlemon) August 4, 2018
It’s not just these two analysts, or only analysts in general, that are saying Trump is a racist, almost a full half of the country thinks Trump is a racist according to a CNN poll conducted two days ago. The numbers break down to 49 percent saying Trump is a racist, 47 percent saying he is not, and 4 percent unsure. Even if the margin of error is considered, Chris Cillizza, CNN Editor-at-large, points out that no president should be polling that high on the affirmative side of that question. A question, he points out, leaves no room for ambiguity. While 86 percent of Republicans polled said they don’t believe Trump is a racist, that still means almost one of every seven people in his own party does.
Lebron James was just interviewed by the dumbest man on television, Don Lemon. He made Lebron look smart, which isn’t easy to do. I like Mike!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 4, 2018
In Waldman’s article on The Progressive, he said it was time for people to stop beating around the bush and get honest about what Trump is, and what he represents.
“So why would Trump react to that criticism by calling James stupid, and Lemon to boot? It’s a real head-scratcher. The obvious answer is that the president of the United States is simply a racist…But after watching Trump for all this time, there’s no reason to beat around the bush on this question anymore. Donald Trump is a racist, and we all know it.”
He theorizes that as 2020 approaches, Trump will rely on hate, particularly racial hate, more than he did in 2016. He explains that now that Trump can’t rely so heavily on complaining that everything that is wrong is the fault of Ivy League elites in the White House, he will fall back to race-based hate because it is easy and he has seen it work. Running on a divisive issue often works. George W. Bush ran heavily on the division created by same-sex marriage and won. Kari points out that since Trump’s rhetoric has become more racially charged, his poll numbers have often gone up, and that he is in demand as a campaign surrogate for Republicans further reinforces his behavior.
This is apparently what the President of the United States feels the need to share with the world at what should be long past his bedtime? It's a disgrace. It's racist. And it's the product of petty but dangerous hatreds. I repeat this is the PRESIDENT??!? https://t.co/MA8nZUxFc7
— Dan Rather (@DanRather) August 4, 2018
She also points out that Trump’s attacks of all nature have become more unadulterated than they were early in his tenure, as can be seen by scanning his Twitter feed. As reported by Politico, the Reverend Al Sharpton pointed out that while Trump is not suffering any ill-effects of his current behavior, particularly the handling of Charlottesville, in the now, historically he will.
“It didn’t hurt him, in the contemporary sense. Many that claimed moral outrage at the time then found a way to accommodate him shortly after. But I think it hurt him historically. We have to remind people what he said.”
Douglas Brinkley of The Washington Post agrees with the other analysts that Trump uses racist rhetoric because he claims Trump is a bigot and has said so on multiple occasions. The Los Angeles Times cites the same thing, further pointing out that one needs to look no further than his racially-biased attacks of NFL and NBA players to see that he uses race to divide people, and it is time for people to recognize that and call it what it is.
Doug Brinkley: “Charlottesville defined Donald Trump. When he’s in a controversy an hour, people’s memories dissipate. But in the annals of U.S. history, Charlottesville will be seen as this Day-Glo moment when we saw that the president was a bigot.” https://t.co/eQsm9bkz1L
— Michael Kruse (@michaelkruse) August 5, 2018
Waldman summed up his theory that Trump’s racist rhetoric will get even worse because whether he has advisers telling him to knock it off or not, he won’t. He believes Trump will feed the base, and that his base desires more of what they are getting right now. He believes Trump’s attacks on people of color will increase because more will speak out against his policies, and he will feel compelled to retort. He finally stated that he will use more racist rhetoric because it’s who he is, an assertion that was backed up by USA Today.
While there are analysts that have chimed in that they do not believe Trump is a racist, personally, that he might say things some people will construe as racist in order to rev up his base. Either way, whether racist rhetoric is personally believed or whether it is being used as a tool to curry favor, nearly all analysts that have weighed in on either side agree that history will likely not look back on the behavior favorably, and it will likely stain his place in history.