Luke Visconti is the founder and CEO of DiversityInc. Although the title of his column is meant to be humorous, the issues he addresses and the answers he gives to questions are serious — and based on his 17 years of experience publishing DiversityInc. Click here to send your own question to Luke.
"I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn't lose voters." — Donald J. Trump
He has been proven right. Trump's strategy of cultivating a sense of victimhood for lower-middle-class white people by fueling hate in other groups started (in the public consciousness) with his denying President Obama's citizenship. He's preying on a distinct group of Americans.
The future of the white middle-class, defined as white people making a middle-class living doing semiskilled or unskilled labor, is bleak. Life expectancy is declining, attributed to "drinking, drugs and suicide."
The president tapped into this despair by creating a sense of victimhood with this failing demographic. They're victims — of that Black president, of environmental regulations, of political correctness, of hordes of brown people running across the border unchecked, of Muslim "extremism." But he (Steve Bannon) did it courting neo-Nazis and white supremacists — you can see it if you look for the pattern.
All within the past month:
- Just a few days before DeVos arrived at Bethune Cookman, President Trump issued a statement that he thought federal funding for HBCUs was unconstitutional. DeVos got the reception she deserved, and white people were able to cluck and finger wag at the "savage" Black people. Read her speech — it feeds directly into the false Trump description of Black communities as being in the "worst shape ever."
- Neo-Nazi Richard Spencer's torch-lit protests against tearing down the Confederate monuments in Virginia are oddly timed with Jeff "Bull Connor" Sessions announcing that the failed war on drugs would be amped up.
- The president asked "... Why was there the Civil War? Why could that one not have been worked out?" Neo-Nazis and neo-Confederates have historically focused on that question because the answer is that if the North had simply allowed slavery to continue in the slave states, the Civil War could have been avoided. White supremacists preach that white people should not have had to kill other white people for the benefit of Black enslaved people. David Duke made several tweets supporting Trump's comments.
Longer term, the pattern is very clear.
The president uses the term "America First," which was coined by Charles Lindbergh — American aviator and virulent Nazi supporter before WWII. The original Nazi use of "America First" origins are not known by most Americans, but every current day neo-Nazi knows it.
The president took a long time to disavow the endorsement of David Duke. What kind of person does David Duke endorse?
The president and people in his campaign retweeted neo-Nazi tweet several times.
The president did not mention Jews in his Holocaust Memorial Week statement. Hardly an oversight; his son-in-law is Jewish.
If you were waiting for more people to react critically to the absolute chaos we have been seeing, all you have to do is switch from CNN to Fox during the next crisis (that will pop up in five or 10 minutes). Trump's 35 percent support base watches a very different news than the other 65 percent. Giving up this peculiar worldview would mean giving up victimhood — it's not going to happen.