Who’s Really Playing The Race Card?

Whenever a member of the African-American community objects to an injustice, or points out that a public figure has made a racially-insensitive (or worse) remark, Right-wingers immediately respond by accusing the person voicing the protest of “playing the race card.”

Evidently, it’s just not polite to call out racism.

Similarly, those of us who have called attention to the numerous studies concluding that “racial resentment” was the characteristic most predictive of a 2016 vote for Donald Trump have been dismissed as “partisan” and worse.

Well, they need to polish their invective once more, because there’s additional research confirming the proposition.

Following the attacks on New Zealand mosques, the Washington Post reported on the effects of Trump’s rallies–and those effects are neither ambiguous nor pretty. Counties that hosted such rallies in 2016 saw a 226 percent increase in hate crimes.

During an interview with CBS’s “Face the Nation” this past Sunday, Sen. Tim Kaine(D-Va.) lambasted President Trump for emboldening white nationalism after a young man killed at least 50 people at two New Zealand mosques. Kaine was referring to Trump’s answer after a reporter asked whether he sees “today that white nationalism is a rising threat around the world?” Trump responded, “I don’t really.”

This is not the first time Trump has been accused of catering to white nationalists after a terrorist attack. At an August 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, a young white man rammed his car into a crowd of counterprotesters, killing Heather Heyer. Afterward, Trump insisted that “there’s blame on both sides” for the violence.

Then in October 2018, a gunman killed 11 congregants at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh. When Trump announced plans to visit the synagogue, many people in Squirrel Hill, the city’s predominantly Jewish neighborhood, took to the streets demanding first that Trump renounce white nationalism before paying his respects to the victims.

Trump, of course, has pooh-poohed any suggestion that his rhetoric might be encouraging these horrific events. Those denials prompted a study to determine whether Trump’s behavior and language has emboldened white nationalists. (It is worth noting that white nationalist leaders– including Richard Spencer and David Duke– have publicly supported Trump’s candidacy and presidency, and the New Zealand shooter even referred to Trump as a “renewed symbol of white identity.”)

To test the effect of Trump’s rallies, the study aggregated hate-crime incident data and Trump rally data to the county level and then used statistical tools to estimate a rally’s impact, including controls for factors such as the county’s crime rates, its number of active hate groups, its minority populations, its percentage with college educations, its location in the country and the month when the rallies occurred.

The result?

We found that counties that had hosted a 2016 Trump campaign rally saw a 226 percent increase in reported hate crimes over comparable counties that did not host such a rally…

Additionally, it is hard to discount a “Trump effect” when a considerable number of these reported hate crimes reference Trump. According to the ADL’s 2016 data, these incidents included vandalism, intimidation and assault.

What’s more, according to the FBI’s Universal Crime report in 2017, reported hate crimes increased 17 percent over 2016. Recent research also shows that reading or hearing Trump’s statements of bias against particular groups makes people more likely to write offensive things about the groups he targets.

It’s pretty obvious–and obviously dangerous–that Trump and his base are actually the ones playing the race card.


  1. I go back to the polls and studies during Obama’s presidency–according to the SPLC, hate crimes went up 1,800%.

    It’s not a typo.

    Many were associated with the Tea Party which was really just the KKK in suits and ties. Society shifted…those who used to meet in barns and wear hoods suddenly became a welcomed into our halls of administration.

    We need these racists to move out of our halls and back into barns where they belong. You know it’s bad when the Koch brothers abandon the GOP at the national level. Even they don’t want the sticky goo of racism attached to any of their causes.

    Under Trump, racism has been legitimized. We need to delegitimize racism in 2020. Put it in a box and toss it back to Southern barns.

  2. “Put it in a box and toss it back to Southern barns.”
    Don’t forget how much Klan activity there is/was here in Indiana before you point fingers south. I’d say, let’s toss it out with the trash where it belongs, then bury it.

    How many times was Trump in Indianapolis? How have hate crimes increased here since then?

  3. “Under Trump, racism has been legitimized. We need to delegitimize racism in 2020. Put it in a box and toss it back to Southern barns.”

    Todd’s copied and pasted statement above describes Trump’s campaign foundation and was blatant in his rallies and speeches; on occasion was evidenced with violence toward unwanted rally attendees. This country has been blatantly racially violent for centuries; blacks were the primary targets with antisemitism more covert but always in evidence at some level. Trump simply added other race cards to the action, confusing the race issue, and has quickly stacked the deck is his favor via his administration appointees and provided judicial support with his two SCOTUS appointees, followed by his recent lower federal court appointees, assuring his White Nationalist rule will be upheld. Trump has somehow managed to add religion as a separate race thanks to Pence and the primarily white evangelical conservatives.

    “It’s pretty obvious–and obviously dangerous–that Trump and his base are actually the ones playing the race card.”

    The SCOTUS appointees are sitting in life long judicial seats of power; Trump and Pence are not, we CAN end their reign in 2020, but WILL the overload of Democratic presidential wannabes realize they must come together, circle their wagons, and find a strong campaign foundation to oust the racists squatters in OUR White House “deconstructing” OUR democracy, Rule of Law and ignoring the Constitution?

  4. What hateful thoughts and words will the president and Vice President speak here at the NRA?

  5. The hateful words at the NRA convention here in Indy will be the praise they heap upon the Indiana State Legislature for its “everybody grab your guns” laws that include allowing people to register to vote at State police stations as long as they are also getting a gun permit.
    Outside of the convention center the death toll will continue to rise as the Republican Party and the religious right fight for the “right to life” except for anyone caught up in the gun violence they facilitate.


    The NRA filth is holding its Annual Meeting in Indy this Thursday through Sunday and trump and pence will be here on Sunday to speak.

  7. I lived in Los Angeles for eight years, and was not surprised to hear the influence of “southern barns” in Southern California in the form.of neo-Ku Klux Klan and the John Birch Society. As a society, we need to address the truth and see it as is where it is. The very best monuments and public archives of the truth are located in Birmingham, Selma and Montgomery, Alabama, where millions have been donated to erect magnificent museums dedicated to curating truth and chronicling details of the ugly truth. It is called aptly, part of The Civil Rights Trail. Before one in righteous indignation points the finger to them and those people of “southern barns”, every time you shop at Walmart or Costco for bargain clothes and goods, you have supported neo- slavery outsourced to China and the far east. The Klan are like cyclid beetles. They hunker down and bury themselves until the right spring emerges again. Let’s not bury them … Just be sure we don’t elect them into office before the right spring comes.

  8. I find Trump’s denials that his obvious racism has nothing to do with the rise in race-based mass murders like the one in Sri Lanka as just another lie, even though some of the killers in other such horrors openly refer to his giving permission for such atrocities. It appears that he has if indirectly joined the Islamists and Rwandans who need cover for their homicidal acts. Nor am I surprised that studies showed a rise in such race-related incidents with the election of Obama. Why? Because racism and hate are alive and prospering and are cynically used by Trump and the right for political purposes.

    The good news is that the young of today are finally rejecting racism along with excesses of capitalism and other such fixtures in a still hate and greed-infused society. We are still decades away from “tanning out” a la Brazil, but that is our direction, and while en route our task is to reject placing or keeping such racists as Trump in power while on another level sending this disease back to both southern (and northern) barns.

  9. Don’t blame the southerners for all of the nationalism and racism. Remember the John Birch Society was formed right there in downtown Indianapolis by candy maker Robert Welch. Additionally, the KKK controlled Indiana government until D.C. Stephenson kidnapped, tortured, and murdered a young woman. Indiana has a long and despicable history of racism, which it generally fails to acknowledge.

    To address today’s issues, we need to resoundingly defeat the Republican Party at the polls in 2020. If they are not sidelined in the White House, the Senate, and the state legislatures we will see more disruption of our constitutional norms. If ever there was an existential threat to the country it is now and it is personified by 45.

  10. I have a good friend and neighbor who happens to be a Boomer like myself. He is Black and I am White. We have very frank discussions on race relations. What my neighbor endured as a young man were the subtle insults and covert threats of the Central Indiana Red Necks. It is one thing to read about the Neo-Confederates and Jim Crow of the 1960’s and another to hear it from someone who experienced it.

    The Red Necks did not disappear they came out their millions to vote for George Wallace. Nixon’s Southern Strategy came down to telling the Neo-Confederates – We know you are there and we welcome you. All sorts of code words and dog whistles had to be used, to disguise the intent. It worked there was a dramatic shift from a Solid South of Democrats to a Solid South of Republicans. Numerous ploys were instituted gerrymandering and various other voter suppression tactics.

    Candidate Agent Orange understood this buried racial resentment. No code words for Candidate Agent Orange. The Right Wing-Reactionary-Evangelical Republican Party is firmly held in orbit around the immense gravity of President Agent Orange.

  11. (1) I grew up in the South and know that housing and school segregation were as bad or worse in the rest of the country. No “separate but equal” schools, but no need to – taken care of by housing discrimination.

    (2) Try if you can to understand some underlying angst (no excuse for racism or any other “ism”) – everywhere you turn (news, pop culture, fine culture, etc.) it is all about people who aren’t like you. You don’t matter – do we need a bit of “all lives matter”???

  12. Nothing new here. Nixon played racism to get the South to elect him in 1968. It’s been a Republican thing ever since Lincoln was shot. Hell, his party resented him for making slaves free men. After all, the Second Amendment’s language was couched such that the Southern states could form their own slave chaser militias and give white people the right to keep guns to hold off slave rebellions.

    I’m reading Rick Reilly’s very disturbing (and funny) book, “The Commander in Cheat”. It’s about golf and Trump, Trump and golf. The true character of this monster in chief is described over and over. If this book was written in 2015 or 2016, I doubt Trump would have been nominated by all the country club types. Trump’s love affair with golf disgusts, as always, everyone he contacts and is an embarrassment for the nation, golf and most of the PGA golfers who love him.

  13. While there have been many attempts at reducing racism around the world, none seem to have been wildly successful. Our hopes to get better rest on the young growing up in a world where exposure to the real diversity of the world is commonplace and we all see that the distribution of good and bad in people is roughly the same for all races and religions.

    That means that we are waiting for a few more generations to die off.

    It also means that we will have to live with rampant racism for decades more.

    In this country then it means that we will have to become passionate Democrat voters until the GOP can repair itself from the hostile takeover by Trumpian racial forces. That requires both Democrat unity and turnout. It also means that that the Trumpian forces, who only campaign negatively because there is no positive, and relish lies more than truth, will do everything they can think of to foment Democrat apathy and divisiveness.

    Remember that while paying attention to our rich inventory of qualified candidates in order to come together at Primary time. Half of what you will hear about them does and increasingly will stem from Republican roots and must be ignored as irrelevant.

  14. Pete – so right on! In a college class on the “Sociology of race” in the 60’s, our professor told us that hardcore racism in the South would not end until whites went to school with and worked with African-Americans routinely to they would see for themselves that they were none of the stereotypes and several generations who would never get to do that would have to die out. It happened and the “New South” of the 80’s and beyond happened. We are left with the lingering remains….

  15. ‘…Trump’s answer after a reporter asked whether he sees “today that white nationalism is a rising threat around the world?” Trump responded, “I don’t really.”’

    It just occurred to me that if one thinks white nationalism is right and proper, an increase isn’t a bug , it’s a feature.

  16. Trump, his administration and supporters appear to have rewritten the history of the Civil War with a surprise outcome.

  17. Greetings Vernon. A little history lesson. Lincoln only freed the slaves living in the rebel states. He did not grant freedom to those slaves in the Union states. Also on today’s topic, I read that if I want to visit the NRA convention, I must first join the NRA. Do you suppose that trump and pence must also join the NRA in order to speak there? Greetings to the others also!

  18. Irvin. Thanks for putting a finer point on my comment. Since slavery was “illegal” in Union states, freeing them there was sort of moot. In the end, the Southern lifestyle and economics were predicated on this affront to all things civilized. Remember, slavery has been around – and still is – since the invention of economics. Man’s exploitation of man is NORMAL to the human condition. Equality and harmony amongst all men is a theory, not a reality. That’s where our current tribalism stems from.

    Ask yourself this: How could 1% of the elites in antebellum southern America convince millions of dirt-poor farmers barely eking out a living to lay down their lives for “the cause” of state’s rights? Is there any bigger lie? Nope. It was all about the economy driven by slaves. How’s that for moral turpitude. And Southern Baptists and Evangelicals all claim how righteous they are. Give me a break.

  19. Vern is right about slavery’s history. Thus Rome and Greece enslaved whites, blacks in Africa enslaved blacks, and both enslaved whites and blacks. In many cases the enslaved were the elite as many were professionals who taught, were doctors, and some bought their freedom to become citizens. Aristotle, for instance, was recruited from Athens by Philip of Macedon to mentor his son, Alexander, who later conquered the then-known world and built one of the seven wonders of the ancient world in conquered Egypt, the Great Library of Alexandria (probably at the behest of Aristotle, as generals as well at Trumps are not all that bookish).

    While one can trace the history of slavery, that doesn’t mean that we have to endure it as a profoundly inhuman institution given our democratic institutions of today, so let’s be selective; let’s keep the libraries and end that “peculiar institution” and any vestiges of it such as wage inequality, poll taxes etc.


  20. Slavernij haseverything to do with the free market and inequality between people. Only ethic rules, political will and power could and can stop it. With an economy, that widens the gap between the super rich and the poor and middle groups, as we have now, “slavish” relationships continue to exist.

  21. Greetings Vernon. My point was that many people see Lincoln as a great president. He was a politician covering his butt just like they do today.

  22. The economic role of slavery is the same as any and all livestock. In both cases part of the cost is to house and feed the livestock and keep them healthy enough to work and/or reproduce.

    Today there are employers who don’t pay the full cost of housing and feeding and maintaining the health of some employees making their work (wealth creation) cheaper than slaves.

  23. Jim Crow began up north- you can look it up. The first race riots were in northern states. There was slavery in northern states. The north benefited greatly from products created by southern slavery. Union prisoners of war were starved because the supply lines to southern states were cut, and Lincoln was completely aware of the situation and the reason for it, and did nothing to remedy it. Money was allotted for food and medicine for Confederate prisoners of war, and it was deliberately withheld, so they were starved with intent. The entirely discriminatory Mason-Dixon Line still exists. I am a southerner who is tired of my area of the country being demonized. There is more slavery around the world now than ever, and we should be looking forward, to abolishing it, not looking back and cherry-picking history.

  24. the NYC attitude. its prevalent in this burg,go there.. the wall street suits have the same attitude,the same critque, am i outta line for this view,no….. trump will carry himself as a god.
    and no one else above. hes become the outsider billion air ( no i didnt miss spell it)his like and kind,dispised. but became president on the countries ignorance. stupid met stupid. and we are now a nation with its underwear around its ankles, from being taken out of humanity. his voice is suppose to support our dreams, his are sincerely money. and hes a punk with a big mouth, but no diffrent than mnuchin or dimond. we didnt miss mcevil. now theres a parasite,spewing words to his own constituents, and like trump, vote for him to screw themselves over recognizing the demise of our democracy for a board room vote on reality TV. maybe we need some,reality TV. start with the bodies in yeman,and the killings for thrill. we white wash the crimes,and really do nothing about the instigators…

  25. Trump has brought vulgarity to racism. Mayo Pete will bring elegance and intellectualism to racism. Mayo Pete’s type of racism is much more subtle. And,acceptable!

  26. Truth – Don’t worry about “Mayo Pete”….he’ll never get past the bigotry and prejudices toward him…to be elected. I can see the Russian bots already planning their anti-gay strategy.

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