Donald Trump is the presumptive Republican nominee for president. Let that sink in.
One year ago, in May 2015, the nation’s political attention was focused on former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R), who was making the case for immigration reform, including a path to legal status for undocumented residents. At the time, Bush’s message seemed in tune with a new direction for his party. In 2012, the Republican National Committee published a report on how to win the White House in 2016. Key to the plan was expanding the GOP’s appeal to minorities, women and young people.
That’s not exactly what happened.
As a candidate, Trump has encouraged his supporters to beat up members of the Black Lives Matter movement who protest his rallies, calling them “outside agitators,” the term used 50 years ago to describe civil rights activists in the Deep South.
“I love the old days,” Trump said in February. “You know what they used to do to [protesters] like that when they were in a place like this? They’d be carried out on a stretcher.” But Trump’s open racism should come as no surprise. Many people learn how to approach the world from their parents. Trump’s father, Fred Trump, was arrested at a Ku Klux Klan rally in 1927. None other than the great political songwriter Woody Guthrie singled Fred Trump out as a vicious racist. In the 1970s, Trump and his father were sued by the Justice Department for systematically refusing to rent their apartments to black tenants. A decade later, Trump took out full-page ads calling for the execution of five young black men who were accused — falsely, it turned out — of raping and savagely beating a jogger in Central Park.
Trump’s racially tinged presidential campaign is part of a continuum that goes back to the 1980s and a refinement of the Southern strategy, a political plan devised by former Reagan campaign guru Lee Atwater and former Nixon aide Roger Stone, according to Trump biographer Wayne Barrett. more