Trump and Nativism
By birth rates alone, Muslims are bringing a huge change to the culture of Europe, just as Africans, Hispanics and even Asians have and will to the United States. Many Europeans and Americans don’t want to allow their white heritage to be swallowed up in a darker-skinned future. They dismiss tolerance and multiculturalism as wrong-headed PC – political correctness. They characterize the newcomers as evil partially because they see them that way, and partially because that sounds better than admitting they want to continue the domination of the lighter-skinned.
In response to the widely-reported New Year’s Eve assaults on women in Cologne, Germany, an anti-immigration group called Pegida demonstrated against Muslims in the streets, as shown in a video on LiveLeak. While more liberal citizens wore or waved Refugees Welcome shirts with a silhouette logo of three running children, the protestors carried a banner with silhouettes of three armed adult refugees chasing down a woman, reading Rapefugees Not Welcome. Other signs read Multikultur Stoppen, Kriminelle Auslander Raus and Merkel, sind Ihre UNTATEN VOLKES WILLE?, which roughly translates to “Merkel, are their misdeeds the people’s will?” According to sources, Angela Merkel did say, “Surveys are not my scale,” which has been interpreted by anti-immigrants to, “the people’s will is not my concern.” Merkel has pledged to support deportation of criminal immigrants.
In response some counter-protestors held a sign reading, Massengrab Mittlemeer, or Mass Grave Mediterranean, and a very warmly-dressed woman stood over a sign reading, “Hey Rassist! Du bist so widerlicht! Die Welt konnte so schon sein OHNE DICH!” which roughly translates to, “Hey racist! The world would be fine without you!”
On LiveLeak, sympathetic commenters posted pictures advising Rape is Just Muslims Being Muslims, and German People First. But others countered, “I’m glad the police smashed these idiots. This doesn’t mean I support the sex offenders who groped those women (they should be smashed too). But that doesn’t mean I have suddenly developed sympathy and common cause with Nazis.”
The protestors don’t consider themselves Nazis, or even racists, though their protests do often attract neo-Nazis and youths wearing Lonsdale shirts with only the NSDA showing. They also reject when the German press calls them Wutbürger or Frustbürger meaning, enraged citizen or frustrated citizen because those terms apply to frustration over the bad economy as well. They might not balk at being called, Neue Rechte (New Right) or JungKonservative or Nationalrevolutionäre. Pegida stands for Patriotische Europäer gegen die Islamisierung des Abendlandes, or Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the Occident. Local names vary. In Bonn, it is Bogida, in Cologne, Kögida; in Berlin, Bärgida.
Anti-Islamists don’t often talk to the Lügenpresse, or liar press, but reportedly they want strict immigration controls, immediate deportation of criminal immigrants and for law-abiding immigrants to assimilate by speaking German – even at home.
Those three demands should not be unfamiliar to anyone in the US, particularly anyone who has listened to Donald J Trump’s campaign speeches. The surprisingly resilient presidential candidate has tapped into a similar vein of nativist and anti-immigrant fervor in America.
In The Atlantic, David Frum wrote a cover story, The Great Republican Revolt, in which he put forth the idea that working class Republicans were tired of supporting GOP elites that offered lip service to workers, but really supported immigration that drove down wages. Frum’s idea was echoed, but also criticized in innumerable articles. He responded to critiques by noting:
Ethnic and racial resentment are always with us. The Donald Trump candidacy is like nothing American politics has seen since 1945. Not even George Wallace’s two runs for the presidency can compare: When Wallace sought a major-party nomination in 1972 (the Democratic nomination, as it happened), he first carefully cleaned up his platform and his rhetoric, disavowing his past support for school segregation. Trump has become more inflammatory as he has campaigned, and has only risen in the polls as a result. What’s changed?
The United States—and other developed countries too—are becoming rapidly more ethnically diverse at the same time as they are becoming more economically insecure.
Right now, everyone is trying to figure out why Trump is succeeding. Even Nate Silver and the number wizards at FiveThirtyEight – who a few months ago seemed certain Trump would fade without endorsements – are hedging their predictions. In Three Theories of Donald Trump’s Rise, Silver makes the populist revolt Theory 1, but puts more credence in Theory 2: a power vacuum in the GOP, or Theory 3: Trump riding a media bubble. Before that, FiveThirtyEight chatted amongst themselves, asking, Is The GOP Establishment Blowing Its Anti-Trump Campaign?
There is certainly a power split between the Tea Party and the establishment GOP, which makes Theory 2 just a variant of Theory 1. As for Theory 3, Trump is certainly riding a media bubble, which is to me the most interesting facet of his campaign. The mainstream media serve a wealthy elite, and are trying to squelch non-traditional candidate Bernie Sanders by ignoring him, and are doing a pretty good job of it. But they can’t ignore Trump. Even though it is clear enough that no mainstream media talking head really wants non-traditional candidate Trump as President, their business model is to present the presidential campaign as entertainment. Trump is famous enough and colorful enough that they can’t not cover his outrageous stage antics. And they never anticipated that Trump’s base would dismiss all criticisms as wrong-headed political correctness (see Pegida above). Talking heads are desperately trying to point out that the Donald lusts after his own daughter, and that his latest wife was an immigrant pinup model … but his supporters aren’t listening to that noise.
Trump has what they call machismo in Spanish-speaking countries. His tough image trumps his faults. A recent NY Times OpEd, Obnoxiousness is the New Charisma, notes that both Trump and Cruz understand that, “at this crazy, cynical juncture, there’s a band of voters so distrustful of the usual etiquette that they think valor lies in viciousness, integrity in insult. They’re determined to rebel and want the opposite of what they usually get, along with permission to be their smallest, worst selves.”
It may well be that self-interested Nativism will overwhelm what remains of the good intentions of anti-discrimination legislation of the last century, and Donald Trump has cannily positioned himself to lead that movement.
Update 20160112: TalkingPointsMemo just posted Meet The White Supremacists Who See Trump As Their ‘Great White Hope’
William Daniel Johnson has a vision for America.
… Johnson made waves as a young attorney after he was revealed to be the author behind a pseudonymously published book that advocated repealing the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments. “Amendment to the Constitution,” published in 1985 under the pen name James O. Pace, laid out Johnson’s proposal that “No person shall be a citizen of the United States unless he is a non-Hispanic white of the European race…Only citizens shall have the right and privilege to reside permanently in the United States.”