On Thursday, Aug. 18, at 5 p.m. EDT, the PBS NewsHour along with the Hutchins Center for African and African-American Research will present a special forum on “Race & the Race to the White House.” Armstrong Williams, conservative TV and radio host as well as business manager for Ben Carson, will join as a panelist. You can watch live and join in the discussion here.
Dog-whistle politics are not unfamiliar in America. Democrats are certainly known to use the specter of civil rights abuses to drum up black votes. Republicans have consistently campaigned on the platform of law and order, using images of black criminals to scare voters into supporting more conservative policies. Republican operative Lee Atwater described what he called the “Southern Strategy”: a means of appealing to racial divisions without explicitly mentioning race.
But Donald Trump has gone well beyond innuendo to specifically name the culprits. He uses none of the qualifiers that usually accompany such attempts at coded communication. For example, he openly called for a blanket, albeit temporary, ban on Muslim immigration to the United States. This is clearly seen by many Muslims as a direct attack on their religion. Trump’s surrogates have suggested that Muslim beliefs are inherently incompatible with the American way of life.
And in his opening salvo as a candidate for the office of president last June, Donald Trump issued the following statement: “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”
Needless to say, Donald Trump’s poll numbers among prospective Latino voters have literally cratered. Record numbers of Latinos are registering to vote specifically in order to defeat Donald Trump at the polls. To put it another way, Donald Trump has not only lost friends, but created net enemies among the Latino voting bloc.