Does Anyone Have a Clue About How to Fight Back Against Trump’s Racism?

Moderates and progressives have a lot to lose by ignoring each other on this crucial question.

Comments: 194

  1. Trump has brought black and hispanic unemployment to historic lows. What better way to support someone than to provide them the dignity of work instead of social assistance? Trump will likely increase his vote from black and latinos far beyond what he got in 2016. His campaign then on "vote for me – what do you have to lose?" worked. Trump will certainly not get the vote of the social scientists in academia who wrote all the studies quoted by Mr. Edsall, who, by the way, gave no racism example in his article. But that, of course, will not matter at all.

  2. @novoad If you look at the jobs being created, they are mostly minimum wage. These people still need government assistance. Also, people who are chronically unemployed don't get counted as unemployed, so there's that. I don't think many people who have to get a second minimum wage job are happy about it.

  3. @Panthiest In October, 2016, I was volunteering on a Habitat project with a working class African American. I asked him who he was voting for. Much to my surprise( because the mainstream media, pollsters etc had told me otherwise), he said "Trump". By way of explanation, he said, "Obama had done nothing for Blacks". It was at this point that I knew Trump was going to win. Now, with minority unemployment at all-time lows, my friend is probably understandably perplexed by the charges of racism against Trump. For those in that group who know have jobs and can finally see a financial future for themselves, they're probably thinking, "If this is racism(as the Left says it is), give me more of it."

  4. @novoad Jobs, jobs, jobs. Bottom line. Trump's delivering.

  5. So we’re all just going to forget how Republican anti-immigrant messaging fell flat on its face in the 2017 and 2018 elections? In Virginia it might have actually hurt Ed Gillespie; and all of Trump’s wheezy screaming about the “caravan” didn’t keep the House safe for the GOP. I get that there’s plenty of evidence at how othering our fellow Americans work. I’m absolutely baffled that pundits simply refuse to consider compelling counter evidence from recent contests.

  6. All nations have requirements for, and limitations on, who may become citizens and how. Most Americans welcome LEGAL immigrants, but do not want ILLEGAL immigrants. They recognize that the US cannot afford (or choose not) to support our own citizens: the poor, the ill, elderly, disabled, veterans, et al., and that they and other US taxpayers cannot possibly support the 20 million illegal immigrants already in the US, much less the hundreds of millions of foreigners who would like to come here. US laws allow foreigners to seek entry and citizenship. Those who do not follow these laws are in this country illegally and should be detained and deported; this is policy in other countries, too. The cruelty lies not in limiting legal immigration, or detaining and deporting illegal immigrants, or forcing those who wish to enter the US to undergo processing and review. What is cruel, unethical and probably illegal is encouraging parents to bring their children on the dangerous trek to US borders and teaching the parents how to game the system to enter the US by falsely claiming asylum, persecution, etc. Indeed, many believe bringing children on such perilous journeys constitutes child abuse. No other nation has open borders, nor should the US.

  7. @Mon Ray What do you think it says about how terrible their lives are, that people would do all the things you mention and risk being caught and detained, just for a CHANCE at a life in America as an undocumented/second or third-rate citizen?

  8. @Mon Ray Only part of your comment is accurate. The Republican Party, under Trump's thumb, has become completely hostile to any sort of legal immigration. Stephen Miller, Trump's immigration guru, recently stated that he thinks only of how to reduce the number of immigrants and refugees coming into this country. "I don't disagree with LEGAL immigration" is essentially the xenophobic counter to "I'm not a racist, but..."

  9. @Mon Ray I cringe every time I hear someone use the term “illegal” for an undocumented resident. I have a tendency to ofttimes drive faster than the posted speed limit. Nobody calls me an “illegal” Nobody calls Harvey Weinstein an “illegal”. Nobody calls a good portion of Trump’s former and current cabinet and associates “illegals”. Nobody calls the Houston Astros “illegals”. Apparently, there is only one class of people who get to be called “illegals”. Desperate people fleeing desperate situations without having filed the deliberately imposing and hard-to-find “proper forms” should be additionally saddled with that term. When I hear someone use that term, it speaks volumes to me about the person who uses it.

  10. Conflating the allowance of illegal immigration with ending racial discrimination is simply offensive. 'Racial justice' does not include allowing anyone to freely, knowingly break a long list of laws without consequence. Social justice does not mean allowing an entire class of residents exemption from the laws, the costs and obligations to the general welfare that others are legally held accountable for. There is nothing liberal or progressive about defending the corruption and opportunism of certain favored groups being held to different standards and systemically disparate law enforcement for political gain. For anyone regardless of race.

  11. @CNNNNC - I understand that there must be borders to protect the citizenry of the country although why not apply the same vitriol of condemnation of rule breaking to the employers who profit off of cheap labor which is disempowered to confront their employers when they demand illegal labor or refuse to pay individuals? The bible refers to immigrants as sojourners and reminds us that Jesus was an immigrant as well? In fact bible verse, Matthew 25:35 reminds Christians of this in the quote "I was a stranger and you invited me in." Under a higher power we are no longer strangers, instead all members of a family as God's children. The irony is that Evangelicals support a president of the country who has rejected literal biblical advice on how to treat those among us who have the least possessions and are suffering the most.

  12. @Greg Illegal immigrants are not held to the same laws as citizens. That's my point. When was the last time you heard of an 'undocumented' immigrant being prosecuted for income tax evasion or ID fraud? Those are felonies citizens are prosecuted for. No one says that is wrong or cares if they are separated from their family. That the 'undocumented' are exempt from laws that citizens are held accountable for does not make them better and doing so systemically is not some twisted form of social justice. And protesting obvious corruption and opportunism is not racist or xenophobic. And when Edsall talks about speaking out against racial discrimination in the same sentence as 'immigration' as if there is no difference between legal and illegal, he has conflated the two.

  13. @CNNNNC Our prisons are full of federal inmates who never had the benefit of a "sanctuary" anything. Allowing a certain group to break the law while fully prosecuting others is terribly unfair. Just because Edsall can make a case, it doesn't mean it's a good one.

  14. Hard to fight because it sells so well. It might be countered if the economic/fiscal conditions weakened and the Dems are once again called upon to save the day, as they been for the last 25 years.

  15. The bigotry may have been "unleashed" by Trump, but that means the bigotry was there -- the German shepherd in the room leashed -- all along. I believe that is true. Why? According to Erich Fromm, author of Escape from Freedom (1941), it's because Protestantism -- as shaped by Luther and Calvin and passed along by Andrew Carnegie, Ayn Rand, Jeremiah Wright, and on and on -- does not believe in equality -- far from it --, and therefore rankings and racism are features, not bugs, in those highly influential belief systems. Is the goal to put bigotry back on its leash or to affirm the basic equality of all mankind--ie, their equal access to the rights and opportunities named in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights? After the Hanau shooting, Angela Merkel declared racism and hate are poisons, which is true, but is she prepared to lead an examination of the sources of that poison, including 500 years of holier-than-thou Protestantism?

  16. @Christopher Delogu This in my opinion is absolutely absurd. Did Catholicism believe in equality when for over a thousand years there was the most rigid social hierarchy imaginable presided over by bishops who were essentially princes?

  17. @Peter Hello Peter, Being vastly ignorant about Church history and theology, I'm incompetent when it comes to your question; however I simply wonder, as I read Fromm, if there's maybe a correlation between Lutheran and Calvinist belief in "depravity", endless striving, and contempt for the weak on the one hand and on the other the politics of resentment and differentialist racism and bigotry that seems to be particularly concentrated in culturally Protestant areas. I am not defending Catholicism or holding it up as superior. In any case, Edsall only asks Democrats to "diminish the bigotry" -- that seems not ambitious enough to me, though a good start.

  18. No decisions will ever have good outcomes when fueled by destructive emotions such as anger & hate; when these consume man, he is no longer in charge & bad actors in & outside a country can use this to fuel more division eg psychological warfare. In the hands of a self serving government these blind spots help an agenda to eliminate programs that provide shared benefits. Too many adults may be too far gone but we need to starting teaching the children about emotional intelligence. We also need to get people connecting off line and having real conversations with people from all walks to realize we in fact have much in common.

  19. As U.S. education levels plummet (check our ranking in the OECD) expect 1) demagoguery and racism to soar 2) a downward spiral - as a resulting declining economy forces further cuts. (Nobody in my family is in the education profession - but a bright future depends on a bright [or at least an educated] society).

  20. @Grant … That's why Republicans consistently neglect and even denigrate education: it makes it easier to con and control people when they don't know much more than what they on Fox News.

  21. @Grant So many of my Trump-loving relatives and neighbors actually brag that they do not save for their children's education because, "I didn't get a college degree and I turned out fine." or "Let them pay for it with loans." They don't see family education as an investment or a priority, but will lease very high-end "American" vehicles and get $1,000 tattoos. When they learn our three kids haven't borrowed much (if any) for college, they ask, "How or why?" We note some scholarships, but more importantly a very deep 529 initiated at birth and funded simply at $50/month (or more as my income rose). But I guess that would infringe on buying a 56-inch TV or gun collection that they don't know how to shoot well on the clay course or gallery (ugh, terrible shots). White bread and Republican circuses to keep them distracted and stupid. It's working.

  22. @Grant Regarding the importance of education, I highly recommend "The Evil of Banality" by Elizabeth Minnich (2017). Her basic point, elaborated to book length, is that evil is impossible in the presence of critical thinking. As Minnich writes, "People who are not thinking are capable of anything". If that is so, then teaching our citizens how to think (and not to be afraid of doing so) is an essential task for society. It's clear we're not doing it very well. Hence, as you note, declining education will lead to demagoguery and racism. I wish I had a solution.

  23. Does anyone know what has happened to the spirit of "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country"? I have not heard much of this in our political conversations from left or right.

  24. @HPower The “do your own thing” decade of the sixties and the Vietnam War killed it within a few years of its utterance. What politician can say it with any credibility? Have you seen any leave public office poorer than when they entered?

  25. The real reason behind articles such as this is that neither of the likely Democratic nominees, Sanders or Bloomington, is doing well with blacks or latinos, to put it mildly. Trump's strong performance with minorities at the State of Union, and Pelosi's tear off at the end sure won't help. A choice of a vice-president might do some good, but ultimately people vote for the president.

  26. We inherited the basis of racism from our mammalian ancestors, where it manifested itself as territoriality. We have taken that instinct, which was vital to group survival, and turned it into an intellectual sense of territory; the classic 'us and them' thinking which has dominated human history from our very beginnings. Until we recognize that describing any one human group as 'different' from any other simply feeds that inclination, we will have racism with us, as we do with religious bigotry, male/female relations, local and national competitiveness, and all the rest. We are programmed to see the world in 'us and them' terms, which means that fighting racism will continue to be a hard slog.

  27. Sadly, it shows us how much charisma over character is vital to win the election and then to win the votes to pass responsible, respectable change. Charisma is the fuel and who has it — should and could lead the country to send Trump home!

  28. Much of what is written here seems to be based on equating enforcement of immigration law with racism. I do not agree this is always the case. Yes, in past decades our immigration policy was clearly racist, but today I think most Americans favor liberalizing and accelerating LEGAL immigration, yet the only way that will happen is if ILLEGAL immigration is controlled to the maximum extent possible first. Our country needs and benefits from inbound immigration but illegal immigration must not be normalized.

  29. @T Smith Certainly there are positions on immigration reform & on reform of undocumented labor, that bring our practices into alignment with law, that are not racist. But Trump consistently states his position in racist or racially inflammatory terms. And, it's worth noting that it is the GOP that has consistently blocked reforms.

  30. @T Smith Newton said for every action there is an equal & opposite reaction. If this election is about kitchen table issues: jobs & education there's no way the Democrats lose. If it's about reparations, illegal immigration,& wedding cakes there's no way we win. These are the only issues that would compel independent swing voters to hold their nose & vote for Trump again. What progressives & their co-dependents will never understand is that Anti-left” will always beat “Anti-Trump” in most places in the U.S. but especially in swing states like Ohio & Florida. Our best chance is to run from the center. Trump wouldn't have capitalized on the salience of race & ethnicity if the Democrats hadn't exploited it. Exploited they have to the max from offering free health care to illegals to crowing about the new minority-majority which is itself a lie to ignoring working-class concerns. Mind you the working class has always been one of the cornerstones of the Democratic party. Why one would want to alienate them has to be the most idiotic political decisions of all time. This strategy has handcuffed the party. They're unable to react in real-time to issues that concern all voters for fear of alienating their now identitarian base. The biggest question implied but not answered in this article is can Democratic Moderates & progressives co-exist in the same party. I would say absolutely not. The voters we need to win back the country have different values. There's no way to bridge the gap.

  31. I usually agree with the points Mr. Edsall is making, but his overreliance on quotes from others too often makes his columns read like term papers. I'd like to see him summarize and paraphrase much more of his source material.

  32. @Dave Thomas Edsall is the best contributor to NYT Opinion section. He provides primary sources for his thoughts and opinions as well as those for counterarguments. I always learn something worth knowing when I read his column.

  33. @Quinn Primary sources that support his arguments. Best to remember it's still an opinion piece.

  34. "It's the Economy, Democrats!", win the election, the govern WISELY! Stop arguing about the Pillars of Democracy that the Independants weren't listening to when they were in high school, anyway, and dwell on economic issues like pay and affordable health care to let people change jobs and become something other than the Prey of Capitalism.

  35. "In other words, if the president of the United States denigrates Muslims, or Hispanics, or African-Americans, then anyone can." it's awfully hard to combat the loudest and fiercest megaphone in the country with facts and reason. it seems in Minnesota progressives were able to reclaim the spotlight on a local level talking to state residents in a way they understand. The lesson seems to be, stay local. Trying to mount a national campaign won't work because the loudest voice in the world has already claimed all the airwaves.

  36. The GOP has not only used racism forever (Mr. Edsall did not mention Goldwater's attacks on the 1964 Civil Rights Act) but it has made it electorally sound to do so through voter suppression. In addition, the Electoral College awards this revolting behavior. Unfortunately, while the inclusion message is necessary and morally correct, it might not win the electoral votes needed in the next election. For example, while Floridian voters have passed an amendment to allow felons to vote, the GOP controlled state legislature is still making them pay all fees, which is a poll tax in direct violation of the 24th Amendment and Voting Rights Act. Nevertheless, these felons, who would likely approve a message that attacks racism, will not get to reward the Dems for their attempts.

  37. Thank you for this article - there's a lot in there. " .... with a new focus on active white protection, rather than simply colorblind efforts to constrain positive governmental actions. Trump has fanned the anger of many white supporters convinced that post-1970 federal policies have unjustly favored people of color." This is so important for understanding Trump's rise, but it's also very predictable: populists the world over identify their target group, heighten a sense of their vulnerability, then present their politicians/policies as a way to enhance the voters' security. My only quibble, which is more of a question: might there be space for Black-identified, or race conscious activists (the ones who expressed resistance to the researcher's arguments on campus) to pursue their own path, and for others - whites etc - to be putting this research into practice? I understand the skepticism of the former, which is justified in most cases about "white liberals" but this doesn't mean that the attempt to connect with the "persuadables" should end there. The emphasis should be on thinking about voters as motivated by interests, rather than racism (even though there is usually a racialized aspect to the way such voters frame their interests - as you would expect in a country such as the US, or France for that matter). Thanks again for this - please publish more of this type of reporting.

  38. Listen, we get it. Trump says things that are offensive, or at least are found offensive by those who wake every morning looking to be offended. If Democrats ever want to return to power we must focus on issues that affect every American. We can work on racial equality and civil rights when we return to power. There is not a single Democrat run city that I would consider living in at the moment. Focus on quality of life issues. Reminding white men that they are responsible for all that ails society wins us nothing. Make society better for all by focusing on economic growth and prosperity. Let me keep my health plan. Protest less. Work more.

  39. @Josh. F. There's a reason "income inequality" has been replaced by complaints about "the rich, "oligarchs", and "the system." Trump is responsible for low- and median-wage workers experiencing the greatest wage gains. That's exactly how income inequality is addressed.

  40. @AACNY : Low wage gains are due to liberal states raising the minimum wage by law. There is no Trump policy that helped the poor or middle class. None.

  41. @AACNY I will note that the largest part of the gains for lower income groups is due to the increase in minimum wage, something opposed by the GOP. If you examine the ratios of average and median income numbers, you will find that the median gains are certainly not unique to the last 3 years.

  42. Thank you for this article. We have not done a good job of helping people understand that they are fearing the wrong things. All humans suffer. We all die and fear loss of resources and self-direction. We, liberals, have done a poor job of understanding how to change people's fear of the "other." We have spent way too much time arguing among ourselves (again evident in last nights debate) and vilifying the fearful. We don't alleviate fear by being angry, accusatory, or dismissive. We actually increase it. I am partially indigenous and know the ugly history of oppression, At the same time, we have spent a lot of time concerned with this oppression and have ignored the class and socioeconomic issues that most American's face. We need to figure out ways to reach out with our hands open to caring to those oppressed by their own fear.

  43. The first step is to get clear on the definition of "racism". It's an overused term that has lost its meaning. This includes clarity on what it is not. Specifically, it's not bringing our immigration policies in line with other nation. It's not having a firmly enforced border. Mr. Edsall is very skilled at supporting his arguments with "studies." Unfortunately, he doesn't really help his readers get that clue he believes they need. If anything, he perpetuates the problem.

  44. @AACNY By citing studies, he supports his statements with research, not opinion. Nobody is against a "firmly enforced border". How that is done is presently problematic. People kept in what are effectively camps and children separated from parents as a negotiating tool is opposed and it should be. A belief that anyone breaking the law deserves whatever comes their way is also a part of that. As for racism, what part do you find unclear? It does include ethnicity as well as skin color. When either of those traits become metrics of value or criminal intent or moral probity, that's racism.

  45. @uwteacher Your problem is with "how you do it"? I would argue that Trump is doing exactly what is needed. We had a crisis at our border, which Trump has successfully addressed. Our asylum process was one of the chief causes of the mess. It allowed anyone to live and work here for years while his/her asylum claim was adjudicated. Denials have now been fast tracked. Unfortunately, there's still tremendous dysfunction in the next step, which is deportation. Sanctuary cities allow people to violate their deportation orders. Fortunately, Trump is working to address that as well. Trump is the first president to tackle the immigration mess head on. Long overdue.

  46. @AACNY Yes. Trump is tacking the mess head on, but suggest you look at the way he's doing it. Stranding people in another country, or penning them like animals until more jails can be built to contain them. Granted. Something must be done against unfettered immigration -- but you don't solve one problem by creating another.

  47. Fine detailed editorial here. Perplexing, challenging ... The core question here, racism, must always somehow be neutered from every core policy consideration. We must somehow frame every core policy as a universal consideration, practical and undeniable. Sanders etc are right, but as a policy base, when everything if free, it is simply too racially alarmist. Our constant comparisons with the U.S.A. to Nordic countries ignores our big demographic differences. We let the Republicans seize the high-ground on the immigration issues. No one should even smell like they advocate open borders and the elimination of ICE. If you want to immigrate to Canada, Australia, etc. there is in place a system of strict qualifications. If it a desirable place to be, nobody can just walk in. And free or low-cost, non-profit healthcare- everybody needs it- like electricity and water, unless you are independently wealthy. The details of how we get it done... Free education is alarmist. Free whatever is race bait. Why not simply inexpensive as opposed to free? It used to be inexpensive before funding was cut to our state universities. People could actually work and go to college, and with just a little help, or none, could graduate without student loan indebtedness. When we frame these central policies as freebies, we lose more of the "persuadables" who wrongly see it as rewarding the undeserving.

  48. To answer your question yes, call him out for it like Welch did to McCarthy circa 1950 but don't dwell on it. Offers progressive moderate solutions to issues that Trump demagogued mainly immigration. Come up with a fair, moderate, coherent plan on immigration that most Americans can agree upon, especially moderate swing state voters in swing states that went for Trump. It's not rocket science.

  49. Elizabeth Warren (whom I support, by the way), since taking an early lead, has been the Democrats' most explicit advocate for redirecting federal money to the African American community to make up for past wrongs . . . and her polling numbers have dropped from 25% to 10%, where they seem stuck. As Mr. Edsall points out, in between liberals and conservatives there is 59% of the electorate that is open to liberal policy proposals, but also susceptible to counter arguments, such as that single parent homes, low commitment to educational achievement, high crime rates and high rates of substance abuse are also factors in minority poverty rates. To people like that, a lot of progressive rhetoric sounds like calls to lift drug using, high school drop out teenage mothers of 4 above working class whites. The Democrats would do better to call for lifting everyone out of poverty, out of health insecurity, out of housing insecurity. EVERYONE includes African Americans. African Americans does not include EVERYONE.

  50. Race and immigration are different issues. Immigration , as Krugman has pointed out, lowers wages of the lower classes of Americans. From Notes on Immigration "First, the benefits of immigration to the population already here are small. " "My second negative point is that immigration reduces the wages of domestic workers who compete with immigrants. That’s just supply and demand: we’re talking about large increases in the number of low-skill workers relative to other inputs into production, so it’s inevitable that this means a fall in wages" Paul Krugman NY Times 2006 Working Americans had stagnant wages for 2 decades . They had enough. But the elites keep pushing immigration And thirdly, immigration does cost money. that could be spend otherwise. To cite Krugman , again "Finally, the fiscal burden of low-wage immigrants is also pretty clear. Mr. Hanson uses some estimates from the National Research Council to get a specific number, around 0.25 percent of G.D.P. Again, I think that you’d be hard pressed to find any set of assumptions under which Mexican immigrants are a net fiscal plus, but equally hard pressed to make the burden more than a fraction of a percent of G.D.P." Those who doubt that race and immigration are different need only look to Britain. Polish plumbers were as white as their English counterparts, but as their influx pushed down wages, resentment of the working class against immigration skyrocket.

  51. @LArs The British resentment against Polish plumbers was because those plumbers spoke Polish to each other in pubs and other public spaces. If the British really resented Polish plumbers, they wouldn’t have hired them in the first place.

  52. @Saints Fan That is why the owners of London mansions love immigration. Until they lose their own jobs to immigrants they will continue to do so

  53. The fact that Trump's racism gains traction speaks about a segment of the electorate. The Dems are aware of this and don't want that segment of the population in their party. Sure they can vote, but only the worst politician would want them. The appropriate response it to put those people in their place and impose penalties for their behavior. We spend so much federal money subsidizing them; that can be taken away under the next Democratic administration.

  54. It is not possible to use this message: "The most effective liberal-Democratic message read: America’s strength comes from our ability to work together — to knit together a landscape of people from different places and of different races into one nation." And, divide people up by race, class, and sexual preference. Clyborne of SC put forth the most balanced proposal for helping persistently poor and poorly performing communities for support. Poor and needy and poor and opportunity go together; sorting out the ones of this character or another creates a situation where equally needy people are treated differently. Pulling the nation together is the goal, not first sorting people by one or more characteristics is a path to division. Find messages that do this and win across the board.

  55. Progressive values such as having a strong social safety net should supersede race, and if the country had not voted in Ronald Reagan we would be a lot more civilized and united nation at this point. The ignorance and unconscious behavior of Republican voters has brought us to this low point.

  56. @Eugene Debs Right. Reagan and Republicans did it. Unlike 40+ years of Democrats and ‘progressives’ putting everyone into various grievance groups for political purposes.

  57. @EGD : Congress makes the laws. Look at how often the Dems and the GOP has controlled Congress since Reagan. GOP, by a lot.

  58. @gratis You're right, and one has to only look at the 2010 House election and the landslide victory of the Tea Party, winning 63 of 87 races, orchestrated by Paul Ryan by the way, as a key moment. That election byt itself got rid of all but a few of the remaing Moderates in the Republican House. And just look at the recent Impeachment voting as evidnce of there no longer being anyone capable of reaching across the aisle.

  59. Racism, discrimination of women, the desecration of the natural world, the exploitation of foreign people and lands, and the heinous raising of animals in factory farms are all signs of patriarchy and domination all used towards keeping the engines of capitalism running smooth. It is also seen in religion and in societies throughout the world. It is not just about power inequality between men and women, but also power and domination in the worldview of our species. It will continue no matter who wins, but it will prosper, as we are seeing under the present administration. Are we willing to examine ourselves, our society, our economy, our religious structures, our consumer choices, and whom we choose to represents us politically, and how our way of life is patriarchic? Can we or do we as a nation want to choose a more evolved and enlightened worldview?

  60. I read all these Op-Eds about what the Dems should or shouldn't do. Mr Edsall makes sound observations and gives sound advice and Thomas Friedman's "team of rivals" column yesterday was brilliant, but there any evidence that any of this reaches the eyes and ears of they who matter - the candidates? Watching last night's debate it sure don't look that way.

  61. I laugh every time I read the phrase "reverse racism." That aside, we have an uphill struugle against racism in this country because it is ingrained in our society and has been from the beginning. One only needs to look at, however unpleasant it may be, the number of slave owning signers of the Declaration of Independence and indeed that in their thinking at the time, all men meant white, male AND property owning. Then there's our treatment of the indigenous peoples and the immigration shenanigans of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. But even given that, such a struggle is paramount in realizing a republic of the people, in truly asserting that all men are equal.

  62. The Democratic nemesis is immigration. To many on the left, any restriction is seen as anathema. And this leaves them open to the claim that they want open borders. If the Democrats want to win, they need to have a reasonable position on this topic. This should include the issues a clear majority backs: a quick path to citizenship for the Dreamers, a provision to allow undocumented immigrants already here for a significant period of time who have not been convicted of a serious crime or who are not otherwise ineligible to apply for legal residence and then, after at least five years, for citizenship, and a revision of the current immigration priorities including family unification. And, most importantly, expanding the adjudication system so that asylum and similar claims are resolved promptly, rather than taking years. Otherwise, this is the issue that Trump, led by Stephen Miller and his minions, can win on.

  63. @John Graybeard Show me the people who believe it should be unrestricted. I haven't seen anyone advocating that position.

  64. @John Graybeard -- Not one of the Democratic candidates is calling for open borders. Not one. Open borders are not a progressive goal, nor do progressives embrace this idea. Even the most radical progressives agree that the United States has the right to preserve its sovereignty and protect its borders. No one is advocating just flinging open the doors and letting in the whole world. This is a lie promoted by Trump and Fox News. Don't fall for it.

  65. Can you please cite your sources for the clear majority that supports these things? If I recall correctly, when the administration challenged DACA, it was in response to several states preparing to sue that DACA was illegal.

  66. Thank you for your shoutout to the DFL. The precinct caucuses last night gave us the opportunity to interact with each other and meet down-ballot candidates. We are committed to working together to make Minnesota more equal and just - for all who live here. We missed the debates, but will vote in our first presidential primary since 1992 on March 3 -- Super Tuesday. And thank you for another challenging column that addresses race -- the toughest and most troublesome issue faced by DFL candidates.

  67. "policies ... favored by racially conservative Americans but with a new focus on active white protection, rather than simply colorblind efforts to constrain positive governmental actions. " That's an actual lie (not by Edsall). Trump has been very clear that he is for colorblind efforts to help ALL American citizens and not what the Democrats are for: specifically color-specific policies that actually HARM White and Asian people (as, for example, in Universities such as where I now sit.) "Trump has fanned the anger of many white supporters convinced that post-1970 federal policies have unjustly favored people of color." Well, yes, that's true ... because the root cause, "post-1970 federal policies have unjustly favored people of color" is absolutely true. And everybody knowns that the Democrats want to make it worse. The clearly are not for "lifting all boats" but for specific policies that are for specific races and religions. The only way to stop racism is for the Democrats to stop being racist. The onus is on them.

  68. @Doug McDonald. If policies have sought to unfairly benefit people of color since the 1970s, they certainly haven’t been effective. From 1989-2016 average wealth amongst white Americans more than doubled from about $437K to $935K, while the figure for Black or African Americans rose only from $81K to $102K (about 25%). Now granted, the average figures are a bit skewed because rich white CEOs are included but, the same thing bears out for median wealth. Amongst White Americans median wealth rose over this same time frame from about $130K to $142K. That $12K rise in wealth is almost the total median wealth of Black or African Americans ($13k) at the end of that time period (2016). Median wealth for these individuals only grew about $6K over the 1989-2016 time period. You can dig deeper into these statistics at the Center for American Progress (americanprogress.org)

  69. @Doug McDonald Boy, that's a lot of Republican rhetoric you're spewing there...I am white, Catholic and Democrat. I have not been adversely affected by any of the policies you mention. Perhaps it's because I don't believe in blaming others for the choices I have made in my life.

  70. Bernie Sanders for one is explicitly running on a way to fight back against the racism which has been a main tactic of Republicans - not just Trump - for many decades. This is to draw attention to economic matters and how the rich have been winning the class war and away from the racial grievances of white voters. It is not certain that this will work, at least in a time of relative prosperity which Trump can falsely claim is his work, but there have certainly been signs of growing economic dissatisfaction that were not visible when inequality had not developed as much. But a major problem is that many monetary supporters of the Democratic party, many owners of major media and writers and spokespersons in those media, and many Democratic politicians themselves, are not in favor of drastic economic change - they are doing fine the way things are. In other words the major media and Democratic political establishment generally promote a system of economic values that opposes changes that would be beneficial to all those at the lower parts of the economic spectrum, whatever their race.

  71. @skeptonomist The media is fooling themselves with this racial grievance argument. That is only a small part of racism in America. As America gets more non-white it will become much more about us vs them. Plain old fashioned racism. No grievances needed.

  72. @skeptonomist If "racism" has been the main tactic of Republicans and "..many Democratic politicians themselves, are not in favor of drastic economic change - they are doing fine the way things are." We can logically conclude by the transitive property that Democrats are either tacitly or ambiguously condoning Republican tactics which you describe as racist. That makes Democrats racist! Quod erat demonstrandum !!

  73. We're going to have a white Democratic candidate in the end, and only Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders seem to call for social justice seriously and do it without using identity politics.

  74. @Just Thinkin’ White Supremacy is "identity politics".

  75. An excellent analysis. Edsall stands above the rest in the NYT opinion section for his consistently well researched and well cited contributions. In my humble opinion our society would benefit from more of this, regardless of POV. Many thanks.

  76. @Aaron I was going to make a similar comment. It's just really great getting these "lit reviews" of academic research relevant to pressing political problems. It's a much needed alternative to pundits pumping out columns based on their own subjective takes on what politicians should be doing.

  77. The idea that "liberals have ceded to conservatives a monopoly on such themes and values as faith, family, country and law and order" has been central to Pete Buttigieg's campaign. He makes a point of highlighting his faith and military experience. And as predicted by the research in this article, he is finding it hard to get any minority or progressive support. I wonder if it is possible for anyone to bridge this gap in the Democratic coalition.

  78. @Bob The "themes and values" claimed by conservatives are an easy sell because they are shallow, undemanding versions of the real thing. "Faith" is talking about God while cheering an adulterer who cages children. "Family" is yelling about abortion while ignoring the needs of living children. "Country" is flag waving, while blindly accepting Fox propoganda without bothering to learn the facts, while "law and order" means cracking down on Those Other People. Maybe progressives are slower to respond because they understand that the real thing takes a lot of hard work. Or maybe they're busy trying to implement policies that actually reflect those values, instead of just giving lip service to them.

  79. The example of Minnesota in the article and other comments on staying local in your campaign makes sense. What worked in Minnesota ( with a strong liberal tradition) probably wouldn’t work in Alabama. Racial fairness may not win in Alabama but other issues like climate might. Even the tax cut that has caused huge deficits at a time of high employment might be useful for the Democrats. All people are worried about the future of their children. Arguing Trump is wrong on race in some states is probably a losing bet. Sorry to have to say that.

  80. Focussing on a positive message of mutual benefit may be the best strategy for liberals as a group, but individual office-seekers - particularly new entrants into the politicial process - may not find it helpful to their personal ambitions or self-images as social justice warriors. If the Democratic Party and its donors - at levels from local to national - could unite around this approach and make campaign funds conditiional on using this rhetoric, then the research cited in this essay could have a powerful effect.

  81. For the past several years -- if not decades-- the middle class has felt that it is on an economic treadmill, going backwards instead of forward. This is the first generation, in the history of our country, that the economic growth of the next generation does not exceed that of the former. Most sense that "something is indeed wrong" . Why do people now have to hold two jobs to support their families when it used to be that one was sufficient. Who is to blame for all of this misery? Instead of focusing on the real causes for such economic inequality, the conservative element of the Republican party say it is all the fault of "those other people who are not like us". In their way of thinking, it is all those migrants/immigrants who are taking all the good jobs away from the "real Americans", i.e., people like us. They are a burden on our society since hard working Americans are forced to pay more taxes to provide for their needs...... In reality, it is the wealthy and the abuses of capitalism -- not capitalism per se-- that are at the root of the problem. The reason Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have become so popular is that they have exposed the flaws of the current system and have proposed solutions.

  82. @Phillip J. Baker "Most sense that "something is indeed wrong" . Why do people now have to hold two jobs to support their families when it used to be that one was sufficient. Who is to blame for all of this misery?" You ask a good question and then put the blame on the shoulders of your favorite target, the Republicans. While I do not agree with Republican policies, globalization, the rise of AI, the rise of China, millions of women entering the market place, have more to do with why one income is not enough any more.

  83. @Phillip J. Baker This has been the text book wedge applied by the right wing for ages. Indeed, Hitler used that same playbook while leveraging economic frustrations and anger in 1930's Germany to redirect the focus on "the other" as the cause. The rich and super-rich pay big bucks to politicians and mouthpieces to shift the focus in exactly this manner in the US, and by and large have avoided scrutiny, while continuing to maintain an uneven playing field. Racism and bigotry play a big part in that propaganda, power and control.

  84. There are several ways of promoting a progressive agenda and combating Trump's racism. Start with the preamble to the US constitution. This government was created to "establish justice" and to "promote the general welfare." Any Democrat running against Trump needs to come back to the language of our founding document over and over again. It's then easy to argue that criminal justice reform is needed to "establish justice". These aren't programs favoring one race or another. This is simply being true to our founding values. The arguments to "promote the general welfare" are even more compelling. The average citizen can see how corporations and corporate wealth have become the special favorites of government. Serious social reform is necessary to level the playing field and bring the country back to this core value, "the general welfare," not the corporate welfare. Single payer health care and a stronger social security system, better schools and the Green New Deal all spring from this very basic constitutional value enshrined in the preamble. On the issue of race, people need to be reminded that in the shadow of Trump's inflammatory rhetoric hate crimes have gone up. Muslims, Latinos and Jews have all become targets. The attacks against the synagogue in Pittsburg and the Walmart in El Paso were carried out by those who believed they were following Trump. Trump's racism is not about what he thinks or believes, it's about the impact of what he does.

  85. The electorate, the people that have a history of voting for President across the political spectrum, is just over 70 percent white. Republicans have negligible support from black and hispanic voters, and those groups often under-represent in turnout for either party. The exceptions were two. If a candidate spends 70 percent of their time speaking to 30 percent of the electorate, they will not win much. This is why Republicans prefer identity politics and campaigning - it forces Democrats to talk to 30 percent of the electorate. The editorial more artfully demonstrates than I can say that language that appeals to more than the 30 percent is vital to winning. But it also points out what Trump knows - if it appears that a candidate is succumbing to a pressure campaign from the 30 percent, he or she will be perceived as weak or prepared to sell out the 70 percent.

  86. @Revoltingallday You couldnt be more wrong. Newsday: The new Emerson poll puts Trump at 35 percent with black voters and 38 percent with Hispanics. “If you add in Asian voters at 28 percent approval,” notes Emerson’s director of polling Spencer Kimball, “our number is very close to the new Marist poll,” which finds Trump’s approval at 33 percent among non-white voters. A recent RasmussenReports poll has Trump support among black voters at 34 percent, and even the new CNN poll has Trump’s approval among non-white voters at 26 percent. Why is losing black voters by a two-to-one margin something to shout about? Because if Donald Trump came anywhere close to those numbers on Election Day, he’d likely win a 50-state sweep. Minority voters — and black voters in particular — are an absolutely vital part of the Democratic base. And they don’t vote for Republicans, particularly for president.

  87. I think the best possible outcome here is that the Democratic Party destroys itself and gets replaced by something that actually works and actually represents the people, because the Democratic Party has demonstrated very clearly that it is no longer capable of fielding candidates who can win an election, but instead fields candidates who are happier fighting each other or indulging in ideological purity contests and virtue signalling, they are a party of Jeremy Corbyns god help them. The Democrats are going to allow Donald Trump another four years, the same way they allowed him his first term, it is time for them to go away, the American people deserve better.

  88. @John Wallis Americans do deserve better than the nit picking infighting that is going on in the Democratic party right now, and that is fueled by the DNC's backward looking leadership. However, only the Democratic party (theoretically) espouses values that are necessary to keep a liberal democracy functioning. My suggestion is out with the old (Bernie, Biden) and in with the young and electable.

  89. @AA I agree. With the exception of Obama and Kennedy (2 of the BEST), you’ve had a bunch of old men leading the nation. Why? I’m hoping you’ll go for an infusion of youth, vitality, and new ideas. Best wishes in finding the way to depose King Trump.

  90. @John Wallis The problem is the Democrats have to invent issues to fight about in front of the American people and even the Liberals tune it out. Trump has accomplished almost everything he set out to do and the rising support of Black and Latino voters indicates they dont buy into this whole false narrative about Racism. The Democrats cant pretend they care about such issues anymore. Its obvious they need to manufacture problems and create problems and not solve them. I heard a lot of booing last night. That tells me that this self immolation by the Democrats is on track for November. Bloomberg is the only one who has chance and the Left is too hung up on labels and past transgressions to let allow him to speak for very long with taking out the Long Knives.

  91. "assault on liberal values" No, there is an assault on Human Values. As long as we divide ourselves into Conservatives and Liberals, Us & Them, we will continue to have an "assault" situation. Let's not be at war with each other. Let's guarantee freedoms that are recognized as Human Rights the world over: Shelter, food, clean water, personal safety and others. How we do this will take some compromise and not being rigid in our thinking, but inclusive and practical. Human Rights is what we need to be talking about, not dividing ourselves into tribes.

  92. @mouseone "Shelter, food, clean water, personal safety" You do not mention "right to heath care" which, in America, amounts to "right to a blank check." We spend more on Medicaid than we do on food stamps or on higher education. We need to be more rational about how we use our social spending. We also need to control the greed of the health care industry. And we have to face up to the fact that physicians and hospitals are also among the culprits. So are our excessive malpractice awards. Let us cut down on health expenditures and use that money for education, food, infrastructure.

  93. It is in the American “DNA”: since the founding of white America, race/white supremacy and gender/misogyny have been used to keep working class white men from understanding rich white men are the source of their exploitation. This is why it remains very difficult to create multiracial political movements for race and gender equity and social and economic justice. If working class white men figure this out, they support Sanders; if not, they support Trump.

  94. Trump is only one racist. Racism in the south has never ended. The Civil War only made it stronger, and the federal government failed to help African Americans during Reconstruction. Perhaps it is time for a New Reconstruction, one that is enforced by the federal government against racists. Land, housing and job grants to African Americans, just like it was supposed to be after the war. This is only fair.

  95. "Does Anyone Have a Clue About How to Fight Back Against Trump’s Racism?" Or, how can we stop America from being great again? Is it just me, but, did anyone at the debate get close to saying they loved America, Americans and Americana?

  96. The subjects of this column are competing propaganda strategies. Call me naive, but regardless if I am a progressive, conservative, “persuadable,” or whatever, it creeps me out to think our politics are only a perception is reality problem for others to manipulate. Seems both Huxley and Orwell got it right. “Words can be like X-rays if you use them properly -- they’ll go through anything. You read and you’re pierced.” “But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.”

  97. The historic democratic response has been to respond to racism with more racism. This drives people away from the party who otherwise want to vote democratic for a number of other reasons like the environment. Harvard’s affirmative action program for example has been determined by the court to judge people on skin color awarding Asians and Whites fewer admission points. This is racist. Given that there are many causes and solutions to the college admissions problem of black underrepresentation, Democrats could adopt more race neutral policies but would lose the wedge issue approach to creating a captive minority voter base.

  98. "What will it take to make peace" ? Easy stop using peoples color as the benchmark to receiving HELP. Why do social liberals feel the need to portray people of color, what ever color as the only ones who need HELP. Yes they have been marginalized and yes they do need HELP but so do whites, so when a bill is written it should never use a persons ethnic background but they're economic background. That is the way to include all Americans. The democrats do not do themselves any favors by highlighting peoples color instead highlight the economic situation that all poverty stricken families have. It isn't just minorities that are suffering. Because when you use a minorites status as the way to get said help you automatically alienate all others. That is not seen as fair and it is not fair no matter how bad a minorities situation is because whites have the same problems just not as many. Haney Lopez thinks liberal whites are to blame but the people who voted for trump that use to vote democrats see what I am talking about, they see minorities going to the front of the line just because they are a minority not because of they're needs. That is the real problem! To talk about reparations for something that happened 150 years ago and ask people who had nothing to do with to pay for it, is a problem. Why not HELP all people like the constitution provides. This is where the liberals lost, they did not loose by telling people to wait.

  99. "Does Anyone Have a Clue About How to Fight Back Against Trump’s Racism?" Sure. Punish him for it. Use it to turn Texas blue. That would be a lesson Republicans would not forget.

  100. Those who overtly attack the bigotry and racism inherent in todays right wing (and sadly, GOP) politics - being fronted by Trump expressly, but having long been used by dog-whistles from the GOP, are themselves attacked by the stock response line calling them "haters" - from the GOP politicos themselves, to FOX and their myriad pundits. Liberals tend to shy away from the use of that term, so immediately become defensive - which is the strength and simplicity of the right's response. Seemingly a Catch 22. But those who want to challenge racism have to own that they hate racism - not necessarily the people who are being racists, but the racism itself. And the damage it inflicts. Don't be deterred or thrown off the attack by those and the right immediately playing the victim card. When they claim that you are being a "hater" and that they are "American" or professing "family values" simply state that they are wrong, and wrong to continue with the bigotry and racism. At one time, turning over the rock would send the racist scrambling. But Trump turned over the rock and embraced what he found there - indeed from well before his candidacy. This simply needs to continue to be called out; keep shining that light on what he and his cohorts are doing and saying, and pointing out what it is and why it is not ok. Trump's attempts to use propaganda and a bully pulpit to normalize bigotry must fail.

  101. How to win? Tom Friedman had a great suggestion, join together as a team of rivals and let the public choose the president and a team incorporating everyone. Stop sniping at each other. If the public doesn't like YOU then YOU shouldn't win, especially if you've worked hard to tear down others.

  102. “Has the left wing of the party become so discouraged, so defensive — and so embattled — that it now perceives a critical mass of whites as intractably hardened and unswervingly opposed to minority interests?” Not clear who you are talking about on the left-wing - certainly not Bernie.

  103. As far as I am concerned Donald J. Trump, the President of the United States, is not a racist. What liberals perceive as "racism," especially towards Muslims, is his effort to protect America from terrorism. Besides, how can that be racism? Islam is a religion not a race. Therefore the criticism does not hold water; it is an empty argument. As for African-Americans, what has he done to restrict their civil rights? In the 1960s and 1970s, he and his father allegedly discriminated against African Americans in renting to them, but as president what has he done? He has not done away with Affirmative Action nor reconstituted Jim Crow policies across the nation, which at the time were worse in the North than in the South. If this comment gets published, the replies I will receive if any will attack my use of CSA as my location because the liberals can not pose a rational and logical argument against my thesis. They will have to resort to ad hominem attack, because that's what they have been taught today in so-called elite institutions of higher learning. At any rate, I support the President. I support Trump, look forward to his re-election, and wish that he could be re-elected over and over again because there has never been a better time than now to be an American and it must continue. Thank you.

  104. @Southern Boy His own people, the New Yorkers', voted against him in the last election. Does that tell you anything about 'who should know' a candidate?

  105. If you want a racially just future, you have to articulate a vision of justice that includes everyone. It rarely even occurs to Democrats to do so.

  106. All he has is a cell phone and a megaphone called FIX News. If he is "winning" it's mainly because many of us still holding to Michelle Obama timid losing dogma" when they go low, we go high". Q we need to ask ourselves is: why not a single Dem running to replace him hired a team of sharp competent tech nerds to go after him 24/7 on social media where he lives? He has a 1000-mile long shameful history. They should have a Trump Daily Special Fiesta. Every day expose at least 10 from his rap sheet and keep hammering him.

  107. Social programs since the 1970s have indeed been focused on minorities, particularly, African-Americans. For folks who think this is unfair and therefore support Republicans, please try to understand that there were very good reasons behind these programs. When you enslave a significant portion of your population for 250 years, then segregate and marginalize it for another 100, its going to need a lot of help and its going to take time. You don't undo 350 years of discrimination in 10 or 20 years. Nor do you quickly undo the psychic damage of portraying African-Americans as inferior to white people. And I don't want to hear about poor, white folks in Appalachia having identical problems. They categorically don't. Those folks can put on a suit, buy a new pair of shoes, and walk into any bank, corporate office, or tony store in this country and not immediately be viewed with suspicion...simply because of the color of their skin. That is a tremendous built-in advantage.

  108. "the long history of Republican success in exploiting race" - The democrats are just as guilty. In the past 20 years I've seen them increasingly try to get put everyone into separate but aggrieved victim groups, separated by race, sex, ethnicity, gender, etc. How about we're just plain Americans?

  109. It’s discouraging to see repeated focus on the racism of Trump without also acknowledging his misogyny.

  110. Trump's racism is so stark and so transparent I don't think the Democratic nominee has to focus on it. Voters will either condone or support the racism or be revolted by it. When looking at Trump supporters at his rallies I wonder if any of them disagree with his xenophobia and race-baiting diatribes. I am optimistic that a sufficient number of persons who voted for Trump in 2016 regret it now that his racism is beyond doubt and will take action in the voting booth to prevent four more years of this dangerous presidency.

  111. Racism is the driving force for Trump's base. It started with the Tea Party movement whose anger was fueled by the presence of a Black family in the White House. The Koch brothers seized this insurgency and funded it. In reality the Tea Party members in Congress did more harm to the Republicans than they did to Obama. McCain and Romney did not satisfy this segment of the population but Trump did and the rest is history. Trump vocalized publicly what they had been saying to each other privately. And his behavior gave them the freedom to act out in public also. I fear nothing is going to change the attitudes and mind set of that 30% of our population but we can remove Trump from the bully pulpit and make racist actions and discourse no longer acceptable.

  112. Here's an idea-- nominate someone who can beat him in November. End of story.

  113. In no way do politicians and their sycophants playing race cards move our country towards a better future. Or a less dire future. We’re digging a deeper hole that eventually we can’t get out of. Yes, there are moral arguments but there’s the pragmatic argument... we’re destroying ourselves.

  114. Well, for starters, you might drop your insistence that Trump voters need to be coddled and brought over, while African American, Latino and poor voters can be safely ignored. I sometimes suspect that your choice to do so is not so much in spite of your attitude toward African Americans etc. but because of it.

  115. I think this is one of your most important columns. Framing has been shown to be the most important factor in political disputes. As your examples amplify, framing an issue based on shared values is very effective. Progressives need to pursue this strategy in a host of areas ranging from race and class to climate change.

  116. the missing data? Trump supporters think there is no bigotry or racism.

  117. Crude bigotry of the Wardlow variety should be easy to oppose. Just do it. The problem for the Dems is that progressive demands for maximalist approaches alienates the sober law and order types. Calling Canada's strict immigration policy "racist" when some want to apply it here only casts the entire progressive project in a bad light.

  118. @Blair Calling racist policing "law-and-order" (a phenomenon that started with Richard Nixon) is part of the problem. What sober "law-and-order" types mean when they say "law-and-order" is rounding up every black and brown man in America and putting them into prisons, on the false theory that white people aren't committing crimes.

  119. @Dave That's sometimes true, yes, and it's also true that Nixon worked the concept in '68 (although he didn't originate it.) But my larger point remains: attacking every single line of criminal code or immigration policy isn't helping the cause.

  120. Racism and bigotry can never be defeated. Our country was founded on them and they have always been part of us, BUT we can improve the situation, just not via the political process. The progress that has been made has largely come from the non-political arena. We have done better just by treating each other better down here in the rank and file. Remember when it was such a big deal because a black woman got the lead on the TV show, or because a black man got on a major league baseball team, or Captain Kirk kissed Lt. Uhuru? Most young people don't and would scratch their heads at our old foolishness because we have changed from that level of severity. We did it mostly not by government fiat but because we treated each other better. Give things like EOEC and the Civil Rights Act their do, but the work is getting done down here person to person. We can't count on leadership of any kind from this administration - we have to continue to do this work down here in the real world.

  121. @Brookhaw I agree, and I give a lot of credit to our Millennials. Each generation of kids after the Boomers got better and better, but they really took the ball and ran with it. Interracial marriages don't even cause people to look twice anymore, nor do openly LGBTQT people, unless you're in a conservative environment. Kids are our biggest hope, because they in turn raise kids to keep the cause going. They refuse to be told whom they can and cannot be friends with, sleep with, or have children with. Laws make things happen but they obviously don't alwasy change people's worldviews for the better.

  122. @Brookhawk - What we really need is for blacks to get better education and better jobs, and advance themselves into the middle and upper middle classes. If this happened, our problems would melt away. Things are not as bad as many people think. Of the households in the 9th decile, earning $116-167K, 10% are black. Even in the 10th decile, over $167K, 6% are black. But as everyone knows, it's the people at the bottom of the income scale who need help. Sending black teenagers from wealthy families to Yale and Harvard is not going to cut it, although it makes for good window dressing.

  123. A recent Gallup poll found that 40% of Americans believe that the earth is less than 10,000 years old. Is it therefore a stretch to believe that 35% of all whites harbor xenophobic and racist beliefs? Trump openly plays favor with those who subscribe to these beliefs. Academician Carol Anderson and author of “White Rage” wrote that, “The GOP’s membership is nearly 90 percent white and can only envision carnage and extinction as it looks upon a rights-based, religious, racial and ideologically diverse America. Or, as Lindsey Graham had noted as early as 2012, “We’re not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term.” The success of the far right billionaires to bankroll and accelerate propaganda delivered by mass and social media is really a major driver of increasing ignorance and closed mindedness among whites. They purchase key search words that lead the uninformed to dozens of links for slickly produced propaganda mill web sites that refute earth science and scientific evolution. It’s only an additional click of a hyperlink to other sites that promote social Darwinism, white supremacy and the “Bell Curve” meme that continues to survive because it is covertly supported by rich elites, who themselves subscribe to it. Please stop wasting time trying to “convert” people who embrace ignorant beliefs. We need to bolster the positive good will of the 60 to 70% who embrace critical thinking.

  124. The president has gone beyond the simple exploitation of racial fear and hatred. He is, insidiously and effectively, brainwashing a large segment of the American public by using the counterintuitive technique of presenting himself as blatantly obnoxious, inhumane, xenophobic and cruel. His behavior, by constantly challenging the limits of decency, normalizes and reinforces his own negative traits in his followers. It also allows him to discredit the voices of opposition, claiming that their objections are motivated by personal animosity and envy, rather than substantive disagreements with his ideas or policies. Rather than making America great again, the president is working hard to remake America in his own image: aggressive unprincipled, undemocratic, narrow-minded and cruel. Day by day it's getting harder to deny that our country is no longer "the shining city on a hill", but just another oppressive, authoritarian, single party "democracy" where the rule of law has been thrown to the wolves of predatory capitalism and institutionalized corruption.

  125. Racism, sexism, etc. in the age of Trump? America is incoherent when it comes to these problems. Here is the human fact: No person or group of people is identical to any other person or group of people; every person and all the groups forming and dissolving have their own quality and trajectory in time and space. This is easily grasped by observing qualities of players and changes of membership in music groups or sports teams. But human beings seem incapable of coordinating all the human differences to a worthwhile degree not to mention for a sustained length of time and generally choose either of two courses instead which for all their difference achieve same result: Annihilation of difference. First you have individuals or groups dealing with difference by trying to crush other individuals or groups. This is generally called hatred, racism. But then you have the other form of annihilation of difference where you maintain that everybody is the same and try to crush everybody together and accuse people of racism even if they only point out differences between people and are not given to hatred of others, actual and true racism. Which is to say the main problem is how to intelligently coordinate actual differences between people and the arguments surrounding race, sex and their expression in the two broad and extreme solutions of Naziism (select race) and Communism (radical equality) are too short-sighted, inadequate, and doomed in the long run to failure.

  126. "We find that exposure to racially inflammatory statements by Trump caused those with high levels of prejudice to be more likely to perceive engagement in prejudiced behavior as socially acceptable." And in other news, 1 + 1 = 2. Wow, why even bother to hold the Nobel prize vote this year? Just pack up the award and the check and Fedex it to them right now. But seriously, haters gonna hate. You can frame public policy in any way you want and these people are still going to identify with Trump and the GOP. How can you meaningfully engage and potentially persuade people who would rather vote for Trump than for somebody who wants to provide universal health care to them? It's a waste of time. There's a reason why this playbook continues to work. Rational appeals to irrational minds will never succeed, no matter how clever.

  127. Every time I read one of these columns I get depressed. It makes me accept the realization that, at this point, it looks like Trump will probably win the election. It is not only because I live here in Trump country, but because I read the comments to these and other columns, comments from people all over the U.S. and the world.The threads of racism and bigotry are strong threads that rum through the warp and woof of our society strengthened by the natural inclination towards tribalism in the human animal. I'm afraid we're toast. Butter, anyone?

  128. Just a comment on the immigration issue: When conservatives pass legislation going after employers hiring illegal immigrants, I'll believe immigration is a real issue. Until then, it is just another narrative/lie to avoid the real reason. If immigration is the threat that conservatives claim, then hiring illegal immigrants should be a death penalty offense for a business. The fact that it is not; in fact, just the opposite; tells you everything you need to know. The fact that no conservative anywhere has complained about the president's long use of illegal immigrants screams the truth. And anyone saying Democrats/liberals/progressives want open borders is grotesque. No conservative-controlled society can survive long term as a decent place. They always revert to various forms of barbarism.

  129. Those issues are losers for Democrats as far as beating Trump is concerned and they should ignore them. There is no formula, no matter how much sociology one wishes to cite, for presenting traditional election issues that will make a difference. The election, in the few states that matter, will be a referendum on Trump.

  130. We need to finally realize that the USA IS a racist nation. We were built by slave labor and to this day white privilege is the law of the land. Trump proved to us that polling is not the way to get honest answers to difficult questions. Just as many eventual Trump voters would not admit their position to pollsters, I suspect the same of the many white's who would not admit their darkest beliefs to a poll. Each generation is slightly better at acceptance than their parents, however, the issue may never disappear as long as we have demagogues who can exploit prejudice for a political advantage.

  131. @bobbybow Please provide specifics on how white privilege is the law of the land.

  132. @Max Stop and frisk; police profiling;Red lining; defunding of public schools; hurdles for voting rights; gerrymandering - want more?

  133. Liberals absolutely should have made enforcement of immigration laws a high priority. It is the law after all, but conservatives have to be honest and admit they have completely quit working with liberals in any way so it's unlikely they would have allowed liberals to do anything. That's a huge problem. For this to work, we have to quit cutting off our nose to spite our face and allow our foes to be successful when it makes sense. The conservative patriotism stuff is off putting because its so rabidly symbolic without much deeper understanding. Patriotism is way more complicated than loyalty and tradition, just like sexuality is way more complicated than heterosexuality. That's the truth and you can try to suppress it, but just because you don't like it doesn't make it not true. True patriotism is celebrating paying taxes for the overall benefit of our country. True patriotism is supporting a voting day being a national holiday and getting as many people as we can to be constantly engage in politics...regardless of outcome. True patriotism is welcoming dissent in order to keep the system honest. True patriotism is respecting others not because they are like us, but because we are all so different. We don't blare our music or lead with our religion because we respect others preferences.

  134. How about if the Democrats fight back by pointing out that it has been the result of republican policy during republican administrations that the world has become destabilized. The republicans, under George Bush destabilized the whole Middle East resulting in the mass migrations from Syria, Iraq and other Middle Eastern countries, as well as resulting in the birth and rise of ISIS. Under George H. W. Bush Al Queda became a new power. It was under Ronald Reagan that Central America became destabilized. The Republicans are great as causing the forever wars and running up deficits. They then quickly point the fingers at the democrats when their policies fall apart and ruin the economy.

  135. “Has the left wing of the party become so discouraged, so defensive — and so embattled — that it now perceives a critical mass of whites as intractably hardened and unswervingly opposed to minority interests? If moderates and progressives are locked in on either side of such a chasm, what will it take to make peace?” Well, here’s a thought. Stop accusing individuals who disagree with a particular position as “racist”. It’s offensive and does nothing to heal the divides that plague America. The vast majority of Americans, I believe, are not racist. Poor and disadvantaged white people have much more in common with poor and disadvantaged people of color. Politicians who recognize this have a much better chance of building coalitions than those that seek to divide. We are in the throes of class warfare, not race warfare. We have come to the place and time in America where most of us understand that we must all be allowed to progress together. Leaving certain constituents behind hinders the progress of all. We either sink or swim together. Politicians that understand this dichotomy will win the hearts and minds of American voters.

  136. @Jake Well said. Labeling every speech or behavior we disagree with as "racism" is an obstacle to rational thought. Instead of examining the blows taken by the working class in the 90s, we focus on their "racial resentment." If someone hurries away from a coughing person in Chinatown, we say they are "racist." It's time for pundits to abandon simplistic semantics that are counterproductive. Edsall used to be more astute than that. Remember what happened to Hillary Clinton's prospects when she fell into nasty labeling?

  137. Thomas, excellent question. However, I think a more accurate, relative to American reality is: "Does Anyone Have a Clue How to Fight Back Against the Racism That Americans Have and Wholeheartedly Support in Donald Trump's Reflection of Said Racism". Because, Donald Trump is not a Source. He is a Reflection. A Reflection of profound, fundamental racism in Americans who have found a home base to stand on embodied in Donald Trump. The Source that Donald Trump is drawing from is not inside himself. That Source is inside of us Americans.

  138. The Republicans have done a great job shifting the focus of the white working class away from the policies that are hurting them and instead blaming immigrants and minorities. That’s why we can’t have a socialism such as exist in Norway and other similar countries. Unfortunately, people are willing to suffer themselves just to keep the “others” from enjoying the benefits of a wealthy country. It’s not logical that people should be like that, but what can you expect from a society that has a huge majority of its citizens believing in mythologies that lack any proof whatsoever. When the people don’t believe in reason, they are unreasonable and that is a big problem.

  139. @Tim Phillips : Norway funds its "socialism" with TRILLIONS and trillions every year in NORTH SEA OIL revenues.

  140. The "race-focused student activists" referenced in this article seem to care less about winning elections than about winning specific policies, or even gestures of respect... and that's not bad in itself. They see their project as decoupled from the election cycle, and they're focusing on their highest priorities. However, that makes them an interest group, rather than anyone's political base. The Race-Class Project seems to have the right idea: I can't think of a single national politician who has achieved institutional power by calling out his/her opponents as racists. Not one. It's toxic behavior in the national political arena. These student activists will never be satisfied; their self-appointed role is to protest. They're never going to come fully into the fold, and the electoral collateral damage from pandering to them is too great

  141. Societies make the mistake of thinking humans evolve in a single generation it takes much longer. And constant work to make it sure it sticks.

  142. Maybe a moratorium on attacks on Trump? The coronavirus threat is a real one and Trump seems to be doing something to address it. It is better if the Democrats work with him to address the threat. Things are different about the climate. Trump seems quite unconcerned about that other big threat although he did sign on to the trillion trees project. But a house divided cannot stand and the Democrats have a lot to do with why the house is divided. Why not stop with the attacks on Trump for the time being, put up a strong candidate and promote him/her? I watched much of the Democratic debate and while I did not like the format I thought that the candidates themselves did quite well. Warren seemed to me to be the best debater but the others were not bad at all. Let America come together to work on its problems and let the Democrats accept responsibility for their contribution to why we are so divided. Trump is undeniably a rude and annoying man but he will stay that way, and attacks on him make him more rude and more annoying. Democrats, let go of your enmity! It is getting boring to those of us who are not partisan but care about the country and the world.

  143. @Ludwig: Your post was off to a good start, a good theme, but then you had to go and personally attack the President as "rude and annoying," which negated the theme entirely.

  144. @johnlo But Trump IS rude. There was no need to refer to Bloomberg as little. There was no need to refer to Biden as "SleepyCreepy Joe."But the Democrats have taken advantage of his rudeness to pretend that there is nothing good about him. And that pretense prevents them for working with him for the good of the nation. For instance Trump wants a certain amount of money for the coronavirus and Schumer has proposed much more. Let them talk and come to a reasonable figure, preferably without insulting each other. The good news is that they are BOTH proposing something in the same direction. Let us work with that!

  145. @johnlo Have you been living in a box for the last 40 years? Trump is "rude and annoying." He has been for decades. That's what a lot of his followers love about him, more than anything else.

  146. Mr. Edsall mistakenly conflates immigration policy reforms with racism. Many Americans do not believe in open borders; understand that the US, as a welfare state, cannot have both unlimited immigration and budget discipline (it's analytically impossible); support targeting the country's assistance budget to those who are already legally here; worry about the downward effect of additional supply of low-cost labor via bursts of immigration; and believe that in today's economy, when we open our nation to additional immigration there should be merit standards to invite those most likely to contribute to economic growth and least likely to become public charges. These are good faith policy beliefs. They are color blind. People who hold these beliefs should not be falsely tarred with the "racist" label.

  147. @Stuck on a mountain There is no conflation. Look at the world map and tell me which countries have been the targets of the immigration polices? Go back and read the tweets and the statements by the various officials who craft the policies.

  148. @Stuck on a mountain . I didn't see one trace of the writer proposing Open Borders. What I did read was an article discussing bigotry and racial resentment. A more correct reply from you might be to acknowledge this as undeniably true in the USA and politically boosted by the GOP. Of course as the Republican party is an almost white-only party, citing an objection to open borders to charges of institutional racism is not unusual. But it's intellectually dishonest. Linking trillion dollar deficits to undocumented workers is absurd On a different subject if you want a serious policy proposal for undocumented workers then consider fining employers. And if you are concerned about deficits vote against politicians who grant huge tax cuts to wealthy corporations and billionaires.

  149. @Stuck on a mountain, "budget discipline", hmm? Undocumented immigrants aren't eligible for welfare or most other government assistance programs, but even if they were it would cost less than targeting and detaining them, not to mention building a wall that doesn't solve the problem. It's clear as day that Republicans have no interest in fiscal discipline.

  150. He won because of tv. A walking ,talking 247 talking head that used tv advertising principles to create demand than feed it. Anyone listening? He did not stand on any principle. Bannon was his coach, probably still is.

  151. @Randall Brown True, but unless the audience is receptive the methods you correctly noted would all be empty noise. I've said before in various comments that America has changed fundamentally and it's that "critical mass of whites" Mr Edsall refers to in the last paragraph that acts like the host to a virus to use a medical analogy. The critical mass is solidly Republican but includes a wide swathe of voters who call themselves Independents and Democrats.

  152. Nearly forty years ago, I knew an African-American fireman. He asked me for my advice about a situation at work. A fellow fireman--white--and he were close. Over the years the white fireman had observed that my friend and his black co-workers would use the n-word towards each other and the white frreman began using it as well. Over time my friend said it didn't sit right with him but he did not know how to address the issue with the white fireman. My friend was an advanced black belt in Karate so fear was not an issue. I said that he should explain that times changed and he believed that no one should use the word because it was a reminder of harsh times in American history and racial hate. He also said this to the black firemen. All agreed to stop. Having the black belt may have enhanced the persuasion.

  153. If Democrats focus on immigration- especially protecting the undocumented or what many Americans call illegal immigrants, Trump wins and he knows it. If Democrats fail to understand how complicated race issues are, then the simplistic racist vocabulary of demagogues win. The problem with the extreme socio-economic racial divide in this country is that the white beneficiaries really don't want to give up their advantages and that includes many white liberals. We've already enacted most of the low-budget methods of reducing the extreme racial disparity of wealth in this country. What is needed is a substantial and focused monetary investment in education to assure that children of all races born into poverty don't fall behind academically as a result of their place of birth. It requires a commitment to and focus on genuine outcomes and not short-term gestures of appeasement and it takes years of success for such an investment to begin paying economic dividends. This column focuses on the generally more superficial aspects of racism. I believe that most brown and black Americans are more concerned about economic racism than what Trump's followers call them. I also believe that solving the economics of racism will help solve the psychology of it and that you can't have one without the other.

  154. Agreed, well put. I would add that every school in every state and city should have an actual medical doctor on staff, on site, every day. This could be achieved through a Teach for America sort of program. Health care, early and often, is in itself both a boost to growth and well being and a signal to children that someone out here cares whether they thrive in school or not. Every school, in every state and city should be a place where any parent, anywhere, would feel good about having their child attend.

  155. Excellent research, as always. I would like to see a shaming approach used, however, along with a reminder of the severe economic and budgetary impacts of restricting immigration. Racists and anti-immigrant folks need to be reminded that their views are un-American (see the Statue of Liberty) and if acted upon are illegal, no matter what Trump says. Trump’s statements on race would get him fired from any U.S. company. Further, the economic and budgetary consequences are severe from restricting immigration, as economist Austin Goolsbee pointed out in the NYT last year. Immigrants boost innovation (productivity) by starting new companies and fill open jobs (we have 7 million currently), boosting GDP and thus all of our incomes. If we don’t bring in more young workers, social security and Medicare require higher taxes to maintain. If we continue to restrict legal immigrants to 200,000 per year instead of the pre-Trump 1 million, the loss of GDP (income) is about $1 trillion over a decade, or about $8,000 per family. That excludes the extra taxes we pay for Social Security and Medicare, since there are fewer workers per retiree.

  156. At our cores, we are emotionally driven beings. Pushing past inherent differences is challenging for way too many people. Fox News has made many billions by never underestimating the power of "fear of the other". In a modern civilized society where basic needs are met (mostly), it is the only thing that uninformed, uneducated people have. Voters are simply not as "smart" as many politicians claim. It will always be that people vote viscerally, not logically. We have centuries of history that prove it.

  157. Nobody wants to stand on the bottom rung of the ladder. Generations of white males assumed they were the leadership class and devised social (educational opportunities, family obligations, housing patterns) and economic (job categories, pay scales) ways to preserve their status and govern all other groups beneath them. In America, that began to change with Emancipation in 1865, Indian conquests, spare land, waves of immigration, and Woman Suffrage followed by extreme capitalism protected by tax reform. Our politics and values are now sharply divided between liberal diversity and old-fashioned white supremacy, the richer the better.

  158. @Fran B. Sounds like you're speaking from your personal experience with feelings of superiority. My family belongs to a mostly rural community in a "flyover state", 3 generations removed from German peasants who came here at the turn of the century. So I'm curious how you imagine these destitute people managed to acquire an entitlement to status and power that never belonged to them in the first place. If my grandparents and parents somehow transformed into vain aristocrats while working full time at blue and lower end white collar jobs, they managed to hide it well. I never once got the impression they believed they should be in charge and better treated than anybody else. Rather, they wanted to be left alone.

  159. I find it laughable that those who treat minorities as children have the gall to accuse President Trump of racism. Charging "racism" to anyone who dares actually treat minorities as living, breathing adults - as President Trump does - has become cliche and needs to be stopped. This writer in fact comes off as racist for feeling and expressing his superiority and then cheapening the term "racist" with irresponsible charges to this President who's actions have been the opposite.

  160. Trump is not a racist and neither are 99+% of his supporters. From his words about the events of Charlottesville to his deep concerns over immigration, there is no racism present. Americans of every color go out into the world each day and interact in a friendly, respectful was with others who are unlike them in many ways. That is the reality. But go ahead and fight against the straw man you have created in your provincial, far left enclaves. It means you will leave the real man to win in 2020.

  161. “Trump has fanned the anger of many white supporters convinced that post-1970 federal policies have unjustly favored people of color.” I watched the Democratic debate last night and every single one of them called for specifically race-based handouts for African Americans: reparations for slavery, billions (!!!) for black colleges, reparations for redlining, free money to help buy homes, and more. None of these policies were color-blind, they all favored people of color.

  162. So long as people like Mr. Edsall insist that wanting to control our borders and enforce our immigration law amounts to "racism" they will never get my support and the support of the majority of Americans.

  163. The democrats could start by not saying they want to decriminalize illegal entry and give illegals free health care. Also, it doesn’t make you a “xenophobic racist” if you think our immigration and asylum laws should be updated to reflect a world 7.8 billion people, 330 million Americans and worsening climate change that is directly affected by those two numbers. You can be compassionate and committed to helping poor, unhappy people around the world and not agree that moving millions of them here is a good idea for this country and the planet. If the democrats really care about the future of this country and the planet (and making real progress on climate change) and aren’t simply interested in importing their “permanent majority” voting block they would support lowering our population here and around the world, not just moving millions more here. As it is, they are forcing environmentalists to choose between their mass immigration agenda and making progress on climate change and the environmental problems we face here. You cannot be for both.

  164. Sanders has been fighting racism all his life. He has the most diverse movement behind him and his official campaign reps who are non-hite females have faced racist slander by TV pundits even as some gear up to label him antiSemetic for daring to have a more realistic view on Israel. With the exception of Sen Warren, every other candidate has the taint of racism in their background and in the policies they have promoted.

  165. Report on every last bit of it.

  166. Perhaps you could share three initiatives that former President Obama did in this area to abate racism. I asked this question because I cannot in reflecting on his 8 years in office.

  167. "success in exploiting race and a host of ancillary issues — crime, welfare,.." The Edsall-like solution is to label white folks who push back against the Democrats as "embittered". It was a weaponized judiciary that unleashed busing on the Detroit Public Schools in 1972. Judge Roth wrote in part: “Transportation of kindergarten children for upwards of 45 minutes, one way, does not appear unreasonable, harmful, or unsafe in any way. ...kindergarten children should be included in the final plan of desegregation.” This was a weaponized judiciary aimed at working class folks by liberal Feds who for the most part had no skin in the game. Fortunately the cross-district scheme was reversed by the SCOTUS. Unfortunately Detroit Public Schools were still forced to implement busing with a white student population of 26%. Each school was forced to reflect this demographic. Working class folks with little of financial cushion saw their homes become essentially worthless due to the destruction of the DPS. These were working class folks who were hurt by Judge Roth while he trampled out the vintage where the grapes of wrath were stored. In the 1972 Democratic Primary the only candidate to speak out against the order was George Wallace who won the primary. Can't wait to see what the next round of social justice brings. Then comes Bernie from a state that has about a 1.5% Black population, lecturing the folks in flyover country how to get along with their neighbors. What a joke.

  168. @Jp I was in Elementary School in the 70's when the edict came down that our lower middle class neighborhood would be bussed an hour into a crime ridden neighborhood in the city to integrate the mostly black schools there. When the whites in our neighborhood complained, we were publicly castigated as racist. When our black neighbors complained they were quietly told to apply for a transfer to a different school (all of which were granted). That and the fact that the people calling us "racist" lived in neighborhoods and went to schools that were almost entirely white, were clear beacons of limousine liberal hypocrisy.

  169. @I want another option : When my family moved out of our near east side neighborhood all the the white liberals had long since moved on to safer environs. When we moved out is was almost as if we could hear these white liberals crying out: "Look, white fligh! That's the cause of all our racial problems!" Bernie: You will hear more about this during your campaign.

  170. I voted for Trump because of his views and action on immigration and I will do so again. I do not accept the efforts of the Democrats to have Open Borders and try to change the Demographics of America. If it was up to them no one would ever get deported. Frankly I want to see deportations increased and we must find a way to end birth right citizenship which only makes the matters worse. Also we must do more to prevent visa overstays -- we should require a large deposit which will only be refunded when the visa holder leaves the country.

  171. No kidding. How much grant money funded these studies that only state the blindingly obvious and truly do not go far enough. The papers sidestep the fact -- the fact -- that our President has encouraged acts of violent racism. All the talk in the world is not going put the lid back on the Pandora's box of unacceptable behavior that the President is underwriting.

  172. Maybe we can convince trump to start selling “make racism great again” hats. When enough people see them and see who is wearing them, they will hopefully feel so disgusted they will vote for his opponent. Can you imagine that some people - the racially conservative ones you mention - would actually go out and buy them?

  173. How is he a racist? This is all left wing bull. I think you guys should start thinking about socialized medical care like the rest of the world

  174. @george lange Medicare and Medicaid comes to mind.

  175. While liberals pursue their chimeric agenda, Trump is appearing in black churches touting his economy, and the success black blue-collar workers have had in finding jobs - due to less competition from illegal immigrants. He doesn't need to persuade every black man and woman to vote for him, or even a majority. All he has to do is get 20-30%, and the Dems are toast. With Hispanics, many voters who spent years emigrating legally and getting citizenship are not as keen on illegal immigration as you might think. Moreover, those who fled Castro or Maduro are nearly certain not to be voting for Bernie Sanders. So if Trump gets 20% of the black vote, and 45% of the Hispanic vote, what will the Democrats say then? The Russian thing is only credible for a limited period.

  176. its alarming how many liberal pundits seem not to have followed the storyline before trump was elected. after all the reaction to obama like the birth certificate conspiracy trump "unleashed" racism, for the first time, in the United states. you'd think edsall is old enough to remember nixon, dirty harry, and the great white flight and Lee atwaters quote about the southern strategy. all of those campus outrage stories from 2015 that seem so quaint now, he "regressive left" accusing people of crypto racism. yes where could it possibly have come from?

  177. Bernie not only has a clue, he has always BEAT Trump's racism in 2016 by leading him much more than Hillary in the 2016 polls, beating him among white workers in the Rust Belt exit polls that year, and leading him in virtually all polls right now. Bernie's simple FDR plan for cutting the Gordian knot or racism in our politics is to focus relentlessly on class instead, aggressively seeking to unite ALL races among the lower classes of America to fight their real enemies--not in some other race, but in the oligarchs who've controlled both parties for decades. There's a reason Bernie is well ahead of Trump in Michigan right now, and will beat him like a drum, to borrow hapless Joe Biden's phrase, in the fall.

  178. For too long, Democrats have permitted Republicans to define and monopolize the conservative values (patriotism, family and tradition) described by Edsall. In the process, the GOP has twisted those values into a set of negative principles that emphasize who we are not, instead of stressing who we are. Trump's vision of patriotism narrows the definition of American to non-immigrant, non-ethnic minority, and non-Muslim. This approach promotes hostility because it focuses on alleged outsiders who threaten the national community, while implicitly rejecting the positive values that unite American society. In like manner, Trump limits the concept of family by telling us what it is not. He implicitly excludes gay couples and single-parent households. Thus any emphasis on the critical values of love and mutual commitment give way before an artificial stress on sexual orientation and the number of parents. Tradition fares no better in the hands of this intellectual troglodyte. The heritage he identifies with spurns religious and cultural pluralism in favor of an ill-defined "white" worldview best understood by what it is not. Trump's flirtation with Russia, his contempt for any meaningful concept of family values, and his indifference to any people's cultural heritage, help explain his negative definition of these core principles. But they also provide an opening for Democrats to expose the hollow nature of his promise to restore American greatness.

  179. Good column and a very difficult problem. I think one thing we need to repeatedly make explicit, similar to the progressive message that performed best, is that working class people of all races have many more values and interests in common than in conflict. It’s the oldest trick in the book, divide and conquer. The richest class, including Trump and Congressional Republicans, divide the rest of us along racial lines so we fight each other rather than rightfully blaming them for wealth inequality and the lack of fair opportunity. His actually policy set has been pure GOP orthodoxy on behalf of the oligarch class - slash taxes on the rich and use the resulting deficits to justify eliminating our social safety net. This is why I think Bernie Sanders, although not necessarily my cup of tea, is getting some traction across demographic lines. He is plainly pointing out that the vast swath of working people in America are enduring class warfare from the top, and we can only overcome it if united.

  180. Racism is basically a form of shallowness — a shallow perception that cannot see the truth in life. People who use it or trust it are copying others who judge books by the covers.

  181. “Patriotism”? “Respect for Tradition”? Sounds like cloaked white nationalism to me. Guess I am a black man obsessed with race. In my mind it’s me being astonished that so much of white America thinks day-to-day maintenance of American white racism should continue forever. Black people will never "just get over it." Mr. Edsel, sometimes you speak negatively about “identity politics.” This is the debate on the left and the funny thing is, Bernie Sanders is alone in not putting for specific proposals that address 400 years of systematic oppression of black people living in America. The rest of the field is putting forth specific proposals. I am a moderate who resents anyone promising me pie in the sky, but the greater evil is to pretend that America’s race problem will miraculously heal itself. Trump’s racist base is not a critical mass, but today they are incurable. The other debate we Dems are having is how do we win in November. Bernie has said we will have this huge turnout in November, mostly driven by young voters and that this new coalition will revolutionize America. This is a lie that has never happened. A bunch of old white guys run the federal government and always has. We win by taking the middle. This was Clinton and Obama. Extreme white liberals take politics as a joke. They shout pie in the sky and after the election go back to their safe liberal bubbles and havens, leaving minorities to the real suffering under GOP control. This Liberal racism has to end.

  182. Trump panders to his base, no matter what. If his base was against racism, he would be, too. How to fight back? Vote him out of office.

  183. @Panthiest Before an audience of lumberjacks, Trump would profess to hate trees.

  184. The strategy of too many Democrats is to use inflammatory political rhetoric to worsen racial divisiveness with the goal of increasing black voter turnout. This damages all Americans, but especially black Americans. Here is a "Clue" to reducing racial divisiveness. Promise not to nominate the next Supreme Court justice based only on race and gender as opposed to Biden's statement that he will nominate a black woman only. Stop the false claims that most white people are "white nationalists and supremacists" committed to maintaining their "whiteness" and "white privilege.

  185. Record low unemployment stats across ALL ethnic groups since Trump’s election. If that is how Trump manifests his racism then I say: Let’s have more of it.

  186. Being an American is not an ethnic orientation but rather believing in 3 documents (and I wold add a fourth): --The Declaration of Independence in which 'all men are created equal' --The Constitution, including its facility to be amended, whose primary concern is how to prevent authoritarian demagoguery --Lincoln's Gettysburg Address wherein he states 'that our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. ' --I would add Lincoln's Second Inaugural 1. Trump does not believe blacks and brown people are equal to whites 2. Trump is shredding the Constitution and is exactly the demagogue the Founding Fathers feared 3 & 4: If Trump does not buy into No.1 he will also reject Nos. 3 and 4. Conclusion: Trump and the people who wildly follow him because he is their white supremacist leader, are not true Americans. Studies show that there is a great overlap between evangelical whites and white nationalism - they in fact are hypocrites and do not really believe the teaching of a non-European man named Jesus. You need to attack them on this.

  187. trump is effective because it is easier to sell hate than it is to sell love or values. And now he has the whole republican party helping him. Hate is simple but values are complicated. The other thing he sells is self pity and his supporters love to wallow in it. They all believe they are being treated unfairly even when they are in control.

  188. Maybe a lot of Americans don't want their country changed beyond recognition by unlimited migration or immigration. Like what is happening in Europe.

  189. Referring to individuals, no matter how personally bigoted, like Trump, really does not work because those who share those prejudices see themsleves as individually attacked. One must rather refer to racist policies.

  190. In recent democratic debates and commentary, by Ignoring the 1990 N.Y.C. 2,262 murders in one year with over 6000 people shot (last year 319 homicides) mostly in minority neighborhoods, resulting in a crisis of crime and disorder that threatened the very life of our city and brought on ‘stop and frisk’ and other aggressive crime fighting tactics (with some positive but unfortunate and significant negative results) gives Trumpsters a secret weapon called ‘political correctness’ and a barrier resulting in issues we can’t truly discuss or explain without pejorative terms.

  191. Thomas, You just do not get it. Most people just do not get it. The Country is split not into two tribes, but into two Paradigms of thought. One the one side you have people who use daily but reject the fruits of The Enlightenment --- Science, Facts, Reason and Logic. The other group holds those ideas of The Enlightenment. With the ascendance of the first group politically, with Trump as president, the New Dark Age is at hand. There is no way to compromise with people who are stuck in their Paradigm. Only a major crisis or a avalanche of inconsistencies in front of them can open them up to a new message and a new Paradigm. The United States is not anywhere close to the kind of situation that create such a crisis in their minds. Therefore their is only two ways this can end. Either we slide into an Authoritarian State where one Paradigm will by force make the other one bow or there will be a Civil War that remove the other Paradigm and establish a society "cleansed" of any other Paradigm. There is no middle Paradigm of compromise left in the United States. That compromise died when the middle class manufacturing jobs were allowed to go to China in exchange for cheap goods in our stores. We made a pact with the Devil and now we are going to have to give up our soul or our lives in payment.

  192. The only way that we are going to make America Free is if we learn to get along!

  193. Trump’s rhetoric and policies are every bit as misogynist as they are racist. Yet whenever men discuss Trump’s problematic prejudices, there is a tendency to focus on race discrimination vs. sex discrimination, which is odd, since women are half of the electorate.

  194. Bacon’s rebellion resulted in the division of white indentured servants and black slaves by providing the whites with a few pennies in wages and enslavement for life of the Blacks. “The ruling class responded by hardening the racial caste of slavery in an attempt to divide the two races from subsequent united uprisings with the passage of the Virginia Slave Codes of 1705.” “President Lyndon B. Johnson once said, "If you can convince the lowest white man he's better than the best colored man, he won't notice you're picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he'll empty his pockets for you." Dividing labor is the method white capitalists exploit to foster race resentment and secure cheap labor. It explains the willingness of “third way” liberals to welcome policies that create institutional racism.