by Julie Kelly
They are everywhere.
I am talking, of course, about white supremacists. The news media, Democrats, and NeverTrump Republicans would have us believe the country is under siege by a sinister cabal of Americans who want to return to the days of Jim Crow, or better yet, the era of slavery. Since the election of Donald Trump, white supremacists, we are warned, occupy the White House and control the Republican Party.
The signs are everywhere.
A MAGA hat is the new white hood. A common hand signal for “OK” actually is a way to send a message of solidarity to other white supremacists. So is drinking a glass of milk. Or owning a dog. Or selling an athletic shoe embossed with an American flag designed by Betsy Ross.
Public schools can now access a “toolkit” with lots of advice about how to combat the “rise” in white nationalism. (It is important to note that the terms “alt-right,” “white nationalist,” and “Nazi” are interchangeable with white supremacist.) Last March, Facebook announced “a ban on praise, support and representation of white nationalism and white separatism” and will offer its own kind of virtual intervention by “connecting people who search for terms associated with white supremacy to resources focused on helping people leave behind hate groups.”
White supremacists have an entire cable channel—Fox News—populated by white supremacists such as Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham who use coded language and dog whistles and whatnot to provoke their fellow klansmen. Don’t believe me? Well, certainly you will believe Representative Joaquin Castro (D-Texas), brother of Democratic presidential candidate Julian Castro, who flatly called Ingraham a “white supremacist” on Twitter last week after she compared the conditions at a migrant detention center to U.S. military facilities.
You can’t escape them.
These fanatics have been spotted at the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearings and within the friendly confines of Wrigley Field. Restaurant owners are urged to banish them from their eateries while other Americans bravely confront these wannabe George Wallaces at barbecue joints in the nation’s capital. Trump-supporting knitters are censored on a popular website because, according to Ravelry, any “support of the Trump administration is undeniably support for white supremacy.”
If you’re naïve enough to think that white supremacy is only for white people, think again. Black people who support Trump also are white-supremacists-by-association: “Anyone who interviews Candace Owens on their platforms, is an anti-Black racist,” tweeted Tariq Nasheed about the black conservative activist. “The ONLY reason for anyone to interview her, is to give her a platform to regurgitate anti-Black rhetoric for white supremacist society . . .”
Even Trump-hating “conservatives” are suspected skinheads: New York Times columnist and NeverTrumper Bret Stephens was outed as a white supremacist last month after criticizing Democrats’ near-singular focus on the plight of migrants illegally crossing the southern border.
Since Inauguration Day, the New York Times has posted 770 articles about the menace posed by rampant white supremacy. Before the Fourth of July holiday, CNN aired an hour-long documentary hosted by Fareed Zakaria called, “State of Hate: The Explosion of White Supremacy.” And it’s not just Leftist news outlets giving us the scaries about white supremacists—National Review also warned their readers about the “surge” in white supremacy while claiming that “Trump’s words have emboldened white supremacists.”
Democratic presidential candidates are offering varying degrees of condemnation against white supremacists/nationalists/Trump voters, promising stringent measures to combat the scourge if elected in 2020. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) equates white supremacists with other terrorist groups such as ISIS; most candidates, including Senator Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) want social media companies to ban “hate speech” by white supremacists and Senator Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) suggests the platforms should be held legally liable for making a “profit” off hate.
Of course, this level of mass hysteria is unfounded. Aside from a handful of fringe groups and a few terrible events such as the mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue last year, there is no evidence that anything close to a “surge” or an “explosion” in white supremacy is engulfing the country. Data collected by the FBI on hate crimes is vague at best; there is no specific category for “white supremacy.” Reporting by local law enforcement agencies is voluntary and the FBI admits that it’s “sometimes difficult to know with certainty whether a crime resulted from the offender’s bias.” It’s all evidence-by-anecdote.
So, why the manufactured panic? White supremacy is the new Russian collusion, an imaginary threat intended to align Republicans, especially Trump supporters, with the bad guys. David Duke and Richard Spencer are the 2020 version of Vladimir Putin. If you support Trump in 2020, you, by extension, support the Klan. (This must be news to the voters in the 206 counties who voted twice to put a black man and his black family in the White House but voted for Trump in 2016.)
Want a border wall at the southern border? White supremacist! Want unlawful asylum seekers from Central America returned home? Nazi! Want tighter trade deals and a retreat from endless war? White nationalist! Object to wealthy athletes disrespecting the flag or the national anthem? Alt-right! Think a citizenship question on the census questionnaire is a legitimate inquiry? Nativist!
This is a cynical ploy to peel away Republicans voters who are uneasy or nervous about being labeled “hateful” in 2020—those voters who would find it socially awkward to be associated with “them.”
Further, the paranoia about the threat posed by white supremacists obfuscates the real danger: An unhinged Left prone to violence. After all, it isn’t white supremacists who are running people out of restaurants and attacking journalists in the streets. It isn’t white supremacists attempting to assassinate congressmen on a baseball field or dousing people with concrete-filled milkshakes or chasing them down in public. It isn’t white supremacists who are taking to the opinion pages of the Times to encourage the harassment and even imprisonment of government workers enforcing policies they oppose. No, all of that is coming from the Left.
And it’s not happening in some random chat room on the dark web—it’s being amplified in the nation’s elite newspapers, popular political websites, and on cable news channels.
The Democrats have no realistic agenda to earn back the working-class voters they’ve abandoned over the past decade, particularly in the Midwest. Name-calling is easier than problem-solving. That’s why some presidential candidates are trolling for support south of the border instead of in South Philly.
Correlating Trump supporters with white supremacists will enable social media companies to banish them from their platforms during campaign season; the faux connection will give cover to angry leftists who harass or attack Trump supporters in public under the guise of combating white supremacy. It’s a fake crisis but one with serious consequences for the 2020 election.
Meanwhile, Trump’s economy roars along, yielding unprecedented job opportunities for minorities. The black unemployment rate dropped from 7.7 percent in January 2017 to 6.2 percent in May 2019; wages are rising for lower-paid workers. Trump’s job approval rating among blacks is still low—only 18 percent in the latest poll—but the president has a 39 president approval rating among Hispanics. His campaign team plans to actively court minority voters in 2020.
Worst white supremacist ever.
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Julie Kelly is a political commentator and senior contributor to American Greatness. Her past work can be found at The Federalist and National Review. She also has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, The Hill, Chicago Tribune, Forbes, and Genetic Literacy Project. After college graduation, she served as a policy and communications consultant for several Republican candidates and elected officials in suburban Chicago. She also volunteered for her local GOP organization. After staying home for more than 10 years to raise her two daughters, Julie began teaching cooking classes out of her home. She then started writing about food policy, agriculture, and biotechnology, as well as climate change and other scientific issues. She graduated from Eastern Illinois University in 1990 with a degree in communications and minor degrees in political science and journalism. Julie lives in suburban Chicago with her husband, two daughters, and (unfortunately) three dogs.
Photo “KKK” by Martin. CC BY-ND 2.0.