Nationalism isn’t the word I’d use. Nationalism implies that people want their own separate state. I think it’s more white supremacy, or white cultural resentment. The country is diversifying. It’s not going to be a white majority country by 2050. The most visible form of that is a black president, but it’s also the popular culture, the assertiveness of movements like Black Lives Matter – non-white people are playing a bigger role in American society than they have before.
I think for a lot of white people, that’s deeply uncomfortable. It’s not what they’re used to. It doesn’t necessarily mean that they are conscious racists – it’s a massive change. The default culture in America for 250 years has been that of white people, because most people here are white, and most people in positions of power and influence are white. All the same is true in Britain, and most countries in Europe, but those changes are happening faster in America.
The Trump vote is motivated by white fear of becoming a minority.
I absolutely think the Trump vote is motivated by white fear of becoming a minority. In this iteration of his political career – let’s not forget that he used to be a Manhattan liberal not long ago – he came to prominence by challenging the citizenship of the first black president, which was obviously a racist attack. The calls for deportations… I mean, I believe in enforcing immigration laws, but this talk of deporting 12 million people, the vast majority of whom are working and paying taxes, that’s just inhumane, and cruel, and un-American. And it’s kind of an ethnic cleansing. The proposal speaks to a fear of Hispanic achievement, and of the Hispanic presence in the country.
And the media has played a huge role in this – partisan media outlets which lead people to think that America is going to hell. If you listen to Donald Trump’s rhetoric throughout the campaign, he was describing this dystopian hellscape where crime was soaring and terrorists were running around, and if you look at the stats, none of it is true. And people who voted for Trump aren’t even living in the inner cities which are supposedly so horrible. They live in more rural areas. But when you have Breitbart and Fox pushing all this BS out, you’d think that the world was going to hell.
I’m not on the left, and I’ve been a very strong critic of President Obama on foreign policy. I actually agree with Trump that the Obama administration’s foreign policy has been an utter disaster and that we’re not as respected in the world as we should be. But what I find strange is that we’re therefore going to support the guy who is a Kremlin puppet. How does that make us more respected on the world stage? I largely agree with his diagnosis of America’s place in the world, but his solution to it is completely, utterly wrong.
I’m not sure this the last lashing out of this kind. That demographic change will take a long time. So I don’t think this kind of politics is going away any time soon.