NeverTrumpers Should Be Blunter About Donald Trump’s Toxic Racism

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.

In the LA Times today, Jonah Goldberg pushes back against defenses of Donald Trump which rely on the claim that “populism” has always been a part of the Republican message:

Not all populisms are the same, because though they all claim to be the voice of the people, they invariably speak with a specific voice for a specific subset of the people….Populism is a bottom-up phenomenon, but it is shaped and defined by rhetoric from the top. And just as there are differences between left and right populism, there are different kinds of conservative populism.

I appreciate the small band of conservative NeverTrumpers. Really, I do. But I sure wish they could be a little more forthright about exactly what makes Trump’s brand of populism so poisonous: namely that the “specific subset of the people” Trump speaks for is explicitly white people. He routinely appeals to white resentment and racial bigotry with barely even a fig leaf to camouflage what he’s doing. This appeal has been a part of the Republican Party for decades, but in recent years its public face has dwindled, mostly taking the form of wink-wink-nudge-nudge innuendo. Trump doesn’t bother. His core base is white people who are mad at blacks and Hispanics and Muslims, and he’s happy to publicly stoke their anger.

Aside from his chaotic incompetence, this is what makes Trump different and toxic. It’s not his conservative heresies on trade or entitlements or Putin or NATO. It’s his racism. It shouldn’t be so hard to put that front and center.

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate