Opinion - The dogs have heard the Trump whistle, and now they are barking

By Congressmember  Karen Bass |February 10, 2016 |

In 2005 The Economist introduced a new term into our political lexicon: Dog whistle politics. It is the act of “putting out a message that, like a high-pitched dog-whistle, is only fully audible to those at whom it is directly aimed.”

Even before he announced his candidacy for the Presidency of the United States last year, Donald Trump was working on perfecting his dog-whistle rhetoric to call out to racists in the United States.

In 2011, Donald Trump crowned himself king of the birther movement when he launched a very public search for President Obama’s birth certificate, even going so far as to announce that he sent private investigators to Hawaii to see what they could find. He followed up this chase in 2012 when he offered $5 million for President Obama to reveal his college transcripts.

In 2013, when asked by reporters about these stunts, Trump replied, “Actually, I think it made me very popular… I do think I know what I’m doing.”

At first I, like many people, simply dismissed Donald Trump as little more than a carnival barker. But now that he has won the New Hampshire Primary and continues to be the GOP presidential frontrunner, I must admit that in fact he was right in 2013. His embrace of the birther movement made him popular with some of America’s most racist elements. And now, Trump is hoping to accomplish George Wallace’s legacy: Use hatred and bigotry to power yourself all the way to the White House.

Many of Donald Trump’s most racist remarks have been heavily reported.

In his presidential announcement speech, Trump famously declared, “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.”

When he began to dip in the polls a few months ago, Trump sent out a statement “calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.”

And when an African American protester interrupted one of Donald Trump’s rallies, Trump said that the protester was “so obnoxious and so loud” that “maybe he should have been roughed up.”

But some of Trump’s most effective whistles have been outside mass media with his effective use of social media.

An analysis of Donald Trump’s Twitter account by the British newspaper “The Independent” revealed more than 60 percent of people Trump chose to retweet during a one week period followed multiple accounts which promote the notion of “white genocide. ” And it was not like these users kept their inclinations secret. One of the people he retweeted uses the Twitter handle@WhiteGenocideTM.

I will admit that I should have noticed sooner. Last summer, while political pundits assured us that the Trump star would fade, the Southern Poverty Law Center correctly disagreed. They noted six months ago that white nationalists were beginning to openly support Donald Trump. One of these groups is the White Genocide Project, a white nationalist group formed to raise awareness of the “genocide” of white people around the world. They started a White House petition calling on President Obama to honor Trump for “opposing white genocide.”

While progressives, mainstream media, and the Republican establishment slept, Donald Trump blew the whistle. Now, the dogs are barking.

In the run up to his second place finish in Iowa, Jared Taylor — editor of the white supremacist magazine American Renaissance — lent his voice to a robo-call urging registered voters in Iowa to caucus for Trump because “we need smart, well-educated white people who will assimilate to our culture.”

Heading into South Carolina, Donald Trump not only received the endorsement of former South Carolina lawmaker S.C. Knotts but alsoappeared at a rally with him.

In 2010, Knotts called President Obama “a raghead.”

Most politicians distance themselves from people who make these types of remarks. Not Donald Trump. He basks in their glow and continues to feed their hysteria. Just last week he questioned President Barack Obama’s religion because he went to a mosque recently saying, “Maybe he feels comfortable there.”

It is easy to dismiss Donald Trump as stupid or claim that he is ignorant of his actions. What scares me is that Donald Trump knows exactly what he is doing. After having served in elected office for over a decade, I can tell you that nothing at this level of campaigning is by accident. Every Tweet, every word in a press statement, every person on a stage at a rally is chosen for a reason.

And should Donald Trump win, he will no longer be blowing a whistle. He will be dancing with the White Supremacist organizations and racist individuals who paid for robocalls, organized rallies, and used social media to allow him to win the Republican nomination in the first place.

I, like many people, should have paid more attention earlier. But now that he has won a primary and continues to lead in national polls, I felt obliged to speak out.

I doubt I was his target audience, but I too have heard Donald Trump’s whistle. Only now, I refuse to stay silent.

Bass represents California's 37th District, which includes Los Angeles, South LA, and Culver City. Previously, Bass was in the California State Assembly where she served as Assembly Speaker. http://fb.me/RepKarenBass

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An Elk Grove resident and registered voter said...

The same could be said for Bernie Sanders' dog whistle too. With promises of free college and gifts to the poor and middle class, his whistle was also in top form last night in New Hampshire. And today, he is expected to meet with the Rev. Al Sharpton before heading off to South Carolina to court the minority vote. Sharpton, the great shake-down artist with a Reverend first name will likely 'tell' Sanders what he needs to promise in order for Sharpton to deliver the black vote for him. Different dogs, different whistles, but lets call it what is--it's a dog eat dog world out there in the world of politics-on both sides of the aisle.

A Real Outsider said...

While I would never condone anything Donald Trump says or does, what appears to be happening in the country is that voters are sick and tired of politicians; so much so they are backing outsiders like Trump.

I hope that is true in here in our local government; that “outsiders” will step up and run for Elk Grove City Council. Certainly not a Trump outsider, but candidates who know the issues, know the real reason why local government exists, will earnestly and honestly represent the people of our city and not just their “friends with checks," candidates who can’t be bought and sold for a gas station, candidates who don’t use their campaign account for personal use, and candidates who aren’t afraid to call out the incumbents for their unethical behavior.

Trump would have a word for those incumbents, and he has used it several times, but there are rules against that on Elk Grove News. But clearly the shoe fits!

Anonymous said...

You pretty much nailed it, "it's a dog eat dog world out there in the world of politics-on both sides of the aisle."

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