Trump’s Coalition: Nationalism, White-Identity Politics, or Justice-Seeking?

Jeremy Carl, National Review Online, August 18, 2016

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Jonah [Goldberg] is right on the money when he says that many people are uncomfortable with talking about the sensitive cultural and racial elements of Trump’s nationalism. Where I disagree with Jonah is that I think one needs to separate out legitimate advocacy of the just interests of white voters with “white identity politics.” Our liberal friends are very eager to conflate the two–conservatives shouldn’t make that mistake. The latter, which at its far edges consists of hoping for some sort of white ethno-state in America and in its more mainstream forms yearns for a return to some form of the ethnic balance and cultural practices of the 1950s, has no future in a rapidly diversifying country.

But there is an entirely different issue with unapologetically representing the legitimate and just interests of white voters, which make up the vast majority of the GOP coalition and which sometimes diverge from other groups of voters. Personally, living in a California county where whites are just another minority (less than one-third of my county is composed of white non-Hispanics), it is not at all clear to me why the rules of U.S. politics dictate that my Asian-American and Hispanic neighbors can have interest groups representing them, but if my white neighbors express their interests, the Klan will be burning crosses on every lawn.

Jonah also ignores the question of who is playing offense and who is playing defense in this culture war. If a segment of the GOP has mistakenly embraced white-identity politics, it is in defensive reaction to the Democrats’ full-throated embrace of anti-white identity politics and GOP politicians’ decision, in response, to assume a fetal position whenever a controversial racial issue is raised.

Take the recent riots in Milwaukee, which Ben Shapiro wrote about brilliantly at NRO yesterday. If large gangs of white people were caught on video threatening and beating African-Americans who happened to be in their neighborhood, if African-American journalists were unable to safely cover these events for safety reasons, it would be a front-page story for days and every conservative in the country knows it. Yet the mainstream media has only grudgingly covered the Milwaukee riots and has done so through a farcically liberal frame. But few will call out the Left for their double standards.

And when the sister of the armed felon whose death sparked the riots spoke to the rioters, her words were chilling. “Burnin’ down s*** ain’t going to help nothin’! Y’all burnin’ down s*** we need in our community. Take that s*** to the suburbs. Burn that s*** down!“

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It is very easy for our bicoastal elites to pretend that such concerns are strictly infra dignitatem. But if you are a white guy in a middle-class or lower-middle-class area of Milwaukee being pulled out of your car and assaulted in explicitly racial violence–and if the media refuses to cover it and politicians refuse to talk about it, this isn’t a theoretical issue to you. It hits you, quite literally, where you live.

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To want to stop racially motivated assaults against whites, to slow immigration of people who will, as soon as they arrive, be granted explicit racial preferences over you by universities, jobs, and the federal government–these should be seen as normal conservative concerns. To want politicians to address such legitimate concerns doesn’t mean you are joining the white-nationalist fringe. These cases, and many others that are wrongly tied into “white identity politics,” are demands of a group of our citizens for equal justice under the law.

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