Leading Democrats for the presidential nomination have apparently decided that their path to victory in the wake of the El Paso and Dayton mass shootings lies with demonizing President Donald Trump and his supporters as white supremacists and racists.
They’re just saying it aloud now.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) told CNN on Aug. 4, “… I think all of the evidence out there suggests that we have a president who is a racist, who is a xenophobe, who appeals and is trying to appeal to white nationalism.”
In Council Bluffs, Iowa at a campaign stop, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) declared, “He has given aid and comfort to white supremacists… He’s done the wink and a nod. He has talked about white supremacists as fine people. He’s done everything he can to stir up racial conflict and hatred in this country.”
Former Vice President Joe Biden apparently agrees, too. In Burlington, Iowa, while campaigning, Biden declared on Aug. 7, “This president has fanned the flames of white supremacy in this nation.”
Biden went further, blaming Trump for the shootings at El Paso and at the synagogue in Pittsburgh last year, “How far is it from Trump saying this is an invasion, to the shooter in El Paso declaring, quote ‘this attack is the response to Hispanic invasion of Texas.’ How far apart are those comments? How far is it from white supremacists and Neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, Trump’s very fine people chanting, ‘you will replace us,’ to the shooter at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh saying, ‘we’re committing genocide, Jews are committing genocide on his people.’ I don’t think it’s that far at all. It’s both clear language and in code.”
Biden doubted Trump’s sincerity in condemning the attacks, suggesting, “His mouthing of the words written for him, condemning white supremacists this week, I don’t believe fooled anyone at home or abroad.”
On Aug. 8, Biden appeared to want to have it both ways, when asked the question, he said, “Whether he is or is not a white supremacist, he encourages, everything he does speaks to them. He’s afraid to take them on.” And then, later, when asked again, he said, “Why are you so hooked on that? You just want me to say the words so I sound like everybody else… He is encouraging white supremacists — you can determine what that means.”
In fact, President Trump explicitly denounced the white supremacist, racist ideology of the El Paso shooter on Aug. 5: “In one voice, our nation must condemn racism, bigotry, and white supremacy. These sinister ideologies must be defeated. Hate has no place in America. Hatred warps the mind, ravages the heart, and devours the soul.”
How about just saying, “The President is not a white supremacist”? Apparently, Biden and Harris are afraid to say that. Biden might as well have winked. He didn’t stop short, as some outlets reported, he is absolutely implying it to those who want to think that. Otherwise, he would explicitly reject the idea.
One hopes this is just a cynical ploy to boost their poll numbers ahead of the New Hampshire primary and the Iowa caucuses, but it is hard not to start to worry that what we are witnessing is the radicalization of a mob that is thirsty for mob justice.
Doesn’t anyone think this rhetoric is way over the top? Or worried that this sort of dehumanizing rhetoric has dangerous implications for the future of this country? Or could be construed as another incitement?
This is beyond irresponsible, it is reckless and dangerous — and it could lead to yet more political violence. It legitimizes it.
The Dayton shooter, who police shot dead at the scene, was an Antifa supporter and a self-proclaimed leftist and Satanist on his Twitter page who supported Warren, was pro-gun control and spoke against mass shootings such as Parkland, and who on the anniversary of violence in Charlottlesville, Va. wrote, “Kill every fascist.” Last October, he tweeted, “Nazis deserve death and nothing else.” He had shared posts about “concentration camps” on the border and wrote, “Cut the fences down. Slice ICE tires. Throw bolt cutters over the fences.” He called the he Antifa firebomber who targeted an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facility in Tacoma, Wash. a “martyr.”
The firebomber in Tacoma who attacked federal law enforcement also believed in the “concentration camp” and Holocaust comparison that had been made by U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in June, saying that facilities used to house illegal immigrants apprehended at the southern border, where almost nobody dies, were akin the concentration camps kept by Nazis in World War II, where almost everybody died.
To date, none of the Democratic candidates for president have denounced the violent left-wing revolutionary ideology of the Dayton and Tacoma attackers. They haven’t uttered a word about it. How can that be? When are they planning on discussing it? Let me be clear, I do not think these candidates endorse political violence by Antifa against persons either they or their supporters perceive to be white supremacists. But the fact that they are not explicitly stating that, particularly after Dayton and Tacoma, is shocking.
The thing they accuse Trump of, supposedly being afraid to stand up to right-wing extremists, which isn’t true, he’s done that a lot, is something they are guilty of. They are afraid to stand up to Antifa and the left-wing extremists who attacked Dayton and Tacoma. Otherwise, they would call it out the same way the president denounced the white supremacist ideology of the El Paso shooter. They’ve had more than a week. It’s not that hard.
Instead, we have the opposite, where they are using the same rhetoric as the attackers.
You expect to find that nonsense in a mass shooter’s manifesto, and now it is being repeated by leading candidates for president. Calling your political opponents Nazis and white supremacists and demonizing them in that way is hateful, radicalized rhetoric. It’s about the worst thing you can say to somebody and yet it has become more than normalized in our political parlance to encapsulate all Trump supporters or anyone who wants border enforcement and a legal immigration system.
How are we supposed to have civil discourse under these circumstances when the president and his supporters are accused of endorsing political violence, mass shootings, domestic terrorism and the most hateful, racist ideologies?
This type of language has been used to legitimize attacks on federal law enforcement, and now it is being directed at the President of the United States and his supporters. Nearly 63 million people voted for Trump in 2016, and now leading Democrats are declaring that if they don’t abandon their voting preference for President Trump, they too are white supremacist Nazis.
Have the leading Democratic candidates for president lost their minds? They have adopted the language of Antifa, proponents of which views their political opponents as Nazis and white supremacists who should be brutalized or even killed.
In the meantime, Trump’s crime in these people’s eyes is enforcing federal immigration law. More than 86,000 people are being apprehended on the southern border on average every month of this fiscal year, according to U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, amid the current wave of migrants fleeing drought conditions in Central America and abusing the nation’s asylum laws. President Trump has reached an agreement with Mexico to curb the flow. Trump pushed for and received $4.6 billion of humanitarian aid to improve conditions in the overcrowded, overwhelmed facilities.
There may be a ray of sunshine. On Fox News Radio, on Aug. 9, former Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Donna Brazile said, “This conversation about race and racism, domestic terrorism, white supremacy, white nationalism, it is that I am profoundly saddened as an American. The reason why is to point fingers and to play this so-called blame game. President Trump had nothing to do with the maniac, and I’m being gracious here, the maniac who shot up a Walmart store. He had nothing to do with the person who shot up, you know, the bar in Dayton. This is unbecoming of the country. The president of United States, you know, should not be blamed for you know these individual killers.”
Brazile is right and we must hope the American people reject this demonization of half the country. This is the modern-day rhetoric of dehumanization. Because the Democratic candidates have refused to explicitly confront the violent, hateful, revolutionary ideology of Antifa after Dayton and Tacoma, and are now openly adopting their rhetoric, they appear to be inciting the next wave political violence.
Robert Romano is the Vice President of Public Policy at Americans for Limited Government.