Donald Trump Is Making White People Realize How Everyone Else Felt About the Republican Party All Along

If you're afraid of Donald Trump, you should take a long look in the mirror and ask yourself why.

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Complex Original

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It won’t be long now. Marco Rubio can continue to clown his hair, face, and insinuate that he has a tiny dick all he wants, but he can’t stop the inevitable. Ted Cruz can huff, puff, and continue to blow more bullshit out of his mouth, but the best days of the Cruz campaign are in the rearview. As for John Kasich and Ben Carson, well, bless their lil’ hearts for sticking around.

The math is on his side, and many of the characters who initially swore to never support him have remixed their songs in response to reality. So, yes, it's happening. Donald Trump will soon be the presumptive nominee, and not long after, likely clinch the Republican nomination for president outright.

For some, the idea of a racist, nationalist demagogue becoming president is truly frightening. For the rest of us, it’s just a day that ends in Y. How you look at the prospects of a Trump presidency depends on the lens through which you view bigotry.

Trump scares white people in a way the GOP has terrified everyone else for a long time.

Last week, Vox founder Ezra Klein appeared in the subtly titled “Donald Trump's rise is a scary moment in American politics.” In it, Klein says: “He’s so fun to watch that it’s easy to lose sight of how terrifying his rise really is.” Are you cowering under your covers yet? If not, here’s another spooky sentiment: “Donald Trump is the most dangerous major presidential candidate in memory.”

Why exactly? Klein, like others who echo this sentiment, doesn’t focus on policy so much as language. The truth is, Trump’s opponents are not that far away from each other in terms of policy. If anything, Trump would likely be the least terrifying of the bunch. Remember, in the last GOP presidential debate, Trump was assailed by two of his opponents for being unwilling to let Americans die on the street. He even admitted—albeit in a half-assed manner—that Planned Parenthood does in fact help women with their health, as opposed to the common GOP fairy tale that recasts it as an abortion factory.

So what makes Trump so much scarier than his opponents? Klein focuses on Trump’s “narcissism” and his “shamelessness.” To Klein, “The fact that he does things others won’t means he’ll do things in American politics that, until now, we’ve been protected from.”

Who is we exactly? I am the great-great grandchild of slaves. I am the son of a parent who helped integrate her high school, to the disgust of white people—the kind of school that is now more segregated than public schools used to be. I am the son of a man who had to learn to be cautious of police officers—particularly white ones. That same unease passed down to me, my brother, and my sister.

I was born in 1984, under President Ronald Reagan, the man who gave the world the racist “welfare queen" narrative. Then there's his successor, George H. W. Bush, whose own presidential win can be attributed largely to Lee Atwater, a racist who had no problem preying on the prejudices of voters to win elections.

Atwater's success with Bush in 1988 can be traced back to the southern strategy he built for Nixon. A former advisor to Reagan and ultimate chair of the RNC, Atwater never made any secret about his methodology, explaining in 1981:

You start out in 1954 by saying, ‘Nigger, nigger, nigger.’ By 1968 you can't say ‘nigger’ —that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states' rights and all that stuff. You're getting so abstract now [that] you're talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you're talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites. And subconsciously maybe that is part of it. I'm not saying that. But I'm saying that if it is getting that abstract, and that coded, that we are doing away with the racial problem one way or the other. You follow me—because obviously sitting around saying, ‘We want to cut this,’ is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than ‘Nigger, nigger.’

Republicans never stopped saying “nigger.” It’s in their ads, their treatment of then-Senator Barack Obama during his 2008 presidential bid, and the obstructionism that has plagued the Obama administration from the very start. In some cases, so have certainDemocrats.

And now some people are scared because Trump is doing the same thing at a higher volume and without pretense? Excuse me—white people are scared. White people are the ones afraid of Trump. Trump scares white people in a way the GOP has terrified everyone else for a long time.

George W. Bush left poor Black people to die in New Orleans. The party he left behind still won’t rally around the idea that my right to vote should be protected. Trump refers to Mexicans as “rapists.” It’s disgusting and evil, but Black men and women have long been vilified in American society and American politics. The wall Trump seeks is no less a barrier than the institutional ones this country constructs for its own racial minorities. It’s also no less cruel than the policy proposals of Rubio, Cruz, Kasich, and the GOP platform in general.

To wit, Trump is playing dumb about being unfamiliar with former KKK grand wizard David Duke, but that might be because Duke’s 1991 gubernatorial campaign is now considered mainstream Louisiana politics.

Should Trump win the presidency, I will make do under a bigot’s rule, as will other Black people.

Klein is perturbed at Trump’s lack of pretense. His existence isn't a watered down cocktail of condemnation of anything that isn’t white, male, and heterosexual. There is no chaser.

It’s as if the biggest issue is that Klein and those like him in media are being embarrassed in front of company. However, many of us in and out of this country have long known what this place is. If you’re afraid because Trump’s bigotry comes without decorum, I can’t help you with that. I find it to be a useless response. The fact of the matter is, if you really cared and wanted to ring the alarm, you should have done so long ago.

I do not support Trump’s candidacy, but I do continue to enjoy it. Reap what you sow. Should he win the presidency, I will make do under a bigot’s rule, as will other Black people. We did it under the other bigots who previously held the office of commander-in-chief. Some of the very folks complaining right now never cared because they didn’t feel affected.

Don't get all righteous now.

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