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Donald Trump and the KKK. A perfect smudge.

March 1, 2016


When Trump repeatedly said that he didn’t know David Dukes, didn’t know anything about him and didn’t know anything about white supremacism – he wasn’t just floundering – he was reinforcing a very specific (if very vague looking) political position.

The fact that we possess clear and unambiguous documentary proof that Trump knows perfectly well who David Duke is  – is of course of no relevance.  Trump’s supporters are damaged individuals who have sabotaged their own intellectual autonomy and who have decided that “the truth” means whatever the hell Trump wants it to mean at any given time.

But being vague in response to what looks like a KKK endorsement was in fact being very precise.  Because the last thing that Trump wants to do is either

A)   Condemn the KKK and join a cosy official anti-racist consensus or

B)   Officially admit that he, Trump, is a racist and/or a sponsor of racism.

Trump needs racism, obviously.  He wants people to feel more comfortable with their racism because that’s where his support comes from.  He likes to say that he’s opposed to “political correctness” – which actually translates as “nothing should ever be done about racism”.  If Trump were to join Rubio and others in an official condemnation of the KKK – then he’d look like other politicians.  And that’s exactly what he wants to avoid – he wants the reputation of someone who “says it like it is” (even when – especially – when he’s saying things that are obviously untrue) – because “saying it like it is” actually means flattering racist instincts.

“Telling it like it is”  actually translates not as “telling the truth” but rather – “validating my worst instincts.”

And yet, and yet, and yet – Trump is also aware that being a racist is still considered sort of a bad thing.  It’s the sort of thing people demand not to be called.  Especially when they are being racist. He wants to validate people’s worst instincts and yet validate people’s right not to be called on those instincts.

Being vague and feigning influence of David Duke was not Trump falling apart – it was Trump being as calculating and careful as he ever has been.

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