Monday, July 25, 2016

Is It Fair To Label Trump A Racist?


The Woody Guthrie song above, "Old Man Trump" was written in the early 1950s when Woody Guthrie was renting an apartment from Trump's notoriously racist father Fred in the Beach Haven neighborhood of Brooklyn, not far from where I grew up and where my first girlfriend, Doreen, lived. It paints an accurate picture of the bigoted milieu Little Donald-- who has started unambiguously that "my legacy has its roots in my father’s legacy"-- grew up in. Even if you heard this new rendition of the song by Ryan Harvey, Tom Morello and Ani DiFranco when I wrote about it at the beginning of the month, I want to ask you to give the song another listen now. That's because yesterday, writing at the NY Times, Nick Kristof posed a question that will finally be seriously discussed in the mainstream, Is Donald Trump A Racist? Spoiler: yes, very much so. Kristof was diligent in going back over 4 decades of records of Trump's racism to reach the conclusion.

One early red flag arose in 1973, when President Richard Nixon’s Justice Department-- not exactly the radicals of the day-- sued Trump and his father, Fred Trump, for systematically discriminating against blacks in housing rentals.

I’ve waded through 1,021 pages of documents from that legal battle, and they are devastating. Donald Trump was then president of the family real estate firm, and the government amassed overwhelming evidence that the company had a policy of discriminating against blacks, including those serving in the military.

To prove the discrimination, blacks were repeatedly dispatched as testers to Trump apartment buildings to inquire about vacancies, and white testers were sent soon after. Repeatedly, the black person was told that nothing was available, while the white tester was shown apartments for immediate rental.

A former building superintendent working for the Trumps explained that he was told to code any application by a black person with the letter C, for colored, apparently so the office would know to reject it. A Trump rental agent said the Trumps wanted to rent only to “Jews and executives,” and discouraged renting to blacks.

Donald Trump furiously fought the civil rights suit in the courts and the media, but the Trumps eventually settled on terms that were widely regarded as a victory for the government. Three years later, the government sued the Trumps again, for continuing to discriminate.

In fairness, those suits date from long ago, and the discriminatory policies were probably put in place not by Donald Trump but by his father. Fred Trump appears to have been arrested at a Ku Klux Klan rally in 1927; Woody Guthrie, who lived in a Trump property in the 1950s, lambasted Fred Trump in recently discovered papers for stirring racial hatred.

Yet even if Donald Trump inherited his firm’s discriminatory policies, he allied himself decisively in the 1970s housing battle against the civil rights movement.

Another revealing moment came in 1989, when New York City was convulsed by the “Central Park jogger” case, a rape and beating of a young white woman. Five black and Latino teenagers were arrested.

Trump stepped in, denounced Mayor Ed Koch’s call for peace and bought full-page newspaper ads calling for the death penalty. The five teenagers spent years in prison before being exonerated. In retrospect, they suffered a modern version of a lynching, and Trump played a part in whipping up the crowds.

As Trump moved into casinos, discrimination followed. In the 1980s, according to a former Trump casino worker, Kip Brown, who was quoted by the New Yorker: “When Donald and Ivana came to the casino, the bosses would order all the black people off the floor. … They put us all in the back.”

In 1991, a book by John O’Donnell, who had been president of the Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, quoted Trump as criticizing a black accountant and saying: “Black guys counting my money! I hate it. The only kind of people I want counting my money are short guys that wear yarmulkes every day. … I think that the guy is lazy. And it’s probably not his fault, because laziness is a trait in blacks. It really is, I believe that. It’s not anything they can control.” O’Donnell wrote that for months afterward, Trump pressed him to fire the black accountant, until the man resigned of his own accord.

Trump eventually denied making those comments. But in 1997 in a Playboy interview, he conceded “the stuff O’Donnell wrote about me is probably true.”

The recent record may be more familiar: Trump’s suggestions that President Obama was born in Kenya; his insinuations that Obama was admitted to Ivy League schools only because of affirmative action; his denunciations of Mexican immigrants as, “in many cases, criminals, drug dealers, rapists”; his calls for a temporary ban on Muslims entering the United States; his dismissal of an American-born judge of Mexican ancestry as a Mexican who cannot fairly hear his case; his reluctance to distance himself from the Ku Klux Klan in a television interview; his retweet of a graphic suggesting that 81 percent of white murder victims are killed by blacks (the actual figure is about 15 percent); and so on.

Trump has also retweeted messages from white supremacists or Nazi sympathizers, including two from an account called @WhiteGenocideTM with a photo of the American Nazi Party’s founder.

Trump repeatedly and vehemently denies any racism, and he has deleted some offensive tweets. The Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi racist website that has endorsed Trump, sees that as going “full-wink-wink-wink.”

...Here we have a man who for more than four decades has been repeatedly associated with racial discrimination or bigoted comments about minorities, some of them made on television for all to see. While any one episode may be ambiguous, what emerges over more than four decades is a narrative arc, a consistent pattern-- and I don’t see what else to call it but racism.
Woody Guthrie knew Trump was a racist piece of garbage and so does Nick Kristof-- and so do the neo-Nazis, white supremacists, anti-Semites and white nationalists who have been drawn to Trump's campaign like flies to fresh horse manure. At the convention in Cleveland last week, they preferred to refer to themselves as "alt-right," as though they were part of a punk rock movement. They wear nice clothes though. "And," wrote Steve Peoples for the Associated Press, "far from hiding in chat rooms or under white sheets, they cheered the GOP presidential nominee from inside the Republican National Convention over the last week. While not official delegates, they nevertheless obtained credentials to attend the party's highest-profile quadrennial gathering. Several gathered in the luxury hotel well after midnight following Trump's Thursday address, a fiery appeal they said helped push the Republican Party closer to their principles. 'I don't think people have fully recognized the degree to which he's transformed the party,' said Richard Spencer, a clean-cut 38-year-old from Arlington, Virginia, who sipped Manhattans as he matter-of-factly called for removing African-Americans, Hispanics and Jews from the United States. Like most in his group, Spencer said this year's convention was his first. On his social media accounts, he posted pictures of himself wearing a red Trump 'Make America Great Again' hat at Quicken Loans Arena. And he says he hopes to attend future GOP conventions. 'Tons of people in the alt-right are here,' he said, putting their numbers at the RNC this week in the dozens. 'We feel an investment in the Trump campaign.'" They aren't advocating exterminating Jews, blacks and Hispanics-- at least not yet-- just forcing them out of the U.S. (Hitler started that way too, by the way.) "We'll help them go somewhere else. I'm not a maniac," Spencer said of the minorities he wants to eject from the country. "I know in order to achieve what I want to achieve, you have to deal with people rationally... Trust me. Trump thinks like me," Spencer said. "Do you think it's a coincidence that everybody like me loves Trump and supports him?"

No me. I've known right from the start it was no coincidence. Ironically, Jews are paying less attention than blacks or Hispanics, who recognize what Trump is and plan to give him the electoral support he's earned-- basically none. There have been entire polling samples where not even a single black voter could be found backing Trump. Last week, the Latino Victory Project reported a poll of Hispanics who watched the Cleveland Hatefest. Each day of the convention, Trump's historically low support from Hispanics dropped even further:

The polling showed that 83% of Hispanic voters who watched the GOP convention felt that "racist" was an appropriate description for Trump and other top descriptions were "bully" (82%), "divisive" (83%), "unstable" (81%) and "dangerous" (80%). Only 13% considered the world "classy" an appropriate to describe him. There were also questions meant to measure Hispanic feelings towards Republicans in general. "During a cable news interview," wanton question, "Iowa Republican Congressman Steve King said, 'Go back through history and where are these contributions that have been made by these other categories of people? Where did any other subgroup of people (other than white people) contribute more to civilization? Western civilization is rooted in Western Europe, Eastern Europe, and the United States of America.' Are you surprised to learn a Republican Congressman said this, or is this similar to what you often hear from Republicans?" 32% said they were surprised but 68% said they weren't and that it "is similar to what I often hear from Republicans." The respondents were also asked which words describe the Republican Party.
Young- 15%
Old- 76%
Happy- 17%
Angry- 75%
Anti-immigrant- 78%
Respect Latinos- 20%
Optimistic- 28%
Negative attitude- 79%
Has good ideas- 30%
Makes America more united- 19%
Dangerous- 76%
Cares About people like me- 20%
This is a list of 21 congressional districts with Republican incumbents who have anti-immigrant records and large Hispanic populations (30% or more). The DCCC is only targeting the bolded ones-- 5 of the 21. The rest are getting free rides to reelection:
FL-27- Ileana Ros-Lehtinen- 76%
CA-21- David Valadao- 74%
FL-25- Mario Diaz-Balart- 71%
FL-26- Carlos Curbelo- 69%
TX-23- Will Hurd- 68%
NM-02- Steve Pearce- 53%
TX-27- Blake Farenthold- 52%
CA-22- Devin Nunes- 47%
CA-10- Jeff Denham- 42%
CA-08- Paul Cook- 39%
WA-04- Dan Newhouse- 38%
CA-23- KevinMcCarthy- 38%
CA-25- Steve Knight- 38%
CA-42- Ken Calvert- 37%
TX-11- Michael Conaway- 37%
TX-19- Randy Neubebauer- 36%
CA-39- Ed Royce- 34%
CA-50- Duncan Hunter- 31%
TX-02- Ted Poe- 31%
TX-07- John Culberson- 31%
TX-21- Lamar Smith- 30%
Two more questions that were asked of these Hispanic voters who watched the convention:

1-" On the first day of the convention, the Republican National Committee played a video that stated we need to deport all illegal immigrants and build a wall to keep Mexican immigrants out. A featured Republican speaker on stage said 'some people call them illegal immigrants-- but I call them illegal aliens, criminal illegal aliens who kill people.' Do you think these comments are offensive?"

87% said they found it offensive.

2- "At campaign events over the last year Donald Trump has said: 'You’re going to love me in terms of immigration and illegal immigration. We’re building a wall. Nobody is going through my wall. Trump builds walls. I build walls. We’re building a wall.' And 'Nobody can build a wall like I can build a wall. And some people think it was a racist thing and I’m not talking about keeping Mexico out I’m talking about keeping the world out. You know we’re like a dumping ground for the world.' Do you think most Republicans running for office agree with Trump’s views on this issue?"

42% of respondents agreed that most Republican politicians agree with Trump on that and 58% said they don't think most Republican politicians agree with Trump. It would be the DCCC's job to help Hispanic voters understand that most Republicans either do agree with Trump or, at the very least, enable that agenda inside Congress by voting for and supporting Republican leaddership that pushes those policies. But the DCCC doesn't. It's too busy campaigning on Steve Israel's brilliant plan to make TSA airport lines longer instead.

Blue America has endorsed candidates running in some of these Latino-heavy districts, including opponents of Kevin McCarthy (Wendy Reed), Lamar Smith (Tom Wakely), Mario Diaz-Balart (Alina Valdes) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (Adam Sackrin), Please consider contributing to their efforts-- none of which are backed by the DCCC) by tapping the thermometer:
Goal Thermometer

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At 10:24 AM, Anonymous Susan Goldin said...

This is well done Howie!


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