President Klan Robe Vows To Save All The Suburban White Ladies From Cory Booker’s Black Mobs
Donald Trump had exciting plans for a smooth re-election that were spoiled when he almost singlehandedly destroyed the country. It's the stuff of Shakespeare, if the bard wrote about characters more physically and emotionally twisted than Richard III. According to an article in the Los Angeles Times, the president had intended to campaign on the slogan “Promises Kept," but even he's self-aware enough to realize that's comically untrue, so he's shortened it to “Promises" (not the famous Malibu rehab) (could also use an exclamation point.)
So, what promises will the thrice-married Trump fulfill for us in his second term? Well, he's going to save white women in the suburbs from the scourge of Black people. This is 2020.
The “suburban housewife” will be voting for me. They want safety & are thrilled that I ended the long running progr… https://t.co/N1v3RixESK— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1597233582.0
There's a lot of questionable phrasing in Trump's racist tweet. This isn't the first time he's used the term “suburban housewife," like he's the president of Pleasantville. “Stay-at-home mom" is probably more appropriate. There are also stay-at-home dads, but they don't exist in Trump's worldview. Resistance to affordable housing in “good" neighborhoods is a NIMBY problem in even supposed liberal cities such as Seattle, Portland, and San Francisco. The appeal is usually more subtle. You know, they just want to preserve the “character" and “visual interest" of their neighborhood.
Trump claims the “suburban housewife" wants “safety," as if that's a desire exclusive to the Ann Taylor demo. Safety ranks high on everyone's hierarchy of needs. Americans have traditionally viewed suburban life as “safe," but Trump contends that inherently dangerous poor (Black and brown) people are going to “invade" their neighborhood. This is the “manifest destiny" of Trump's nativism and xenophobia. He'll erect WALLs around suburban neighborhoods. Mexico won't pay for those, either.
Trump first boasted about making redlining great again last month. It was an almost effectively coded appeal to "property values" and the “Suburban Lifestyle Dream," which President Hooked on Phonics randomly capitalized like it was an ironically named 1990s grunge band.
...Your housing prices will go up based on the market, and crime will go down. I have rescinded the Obama-Biden AFFH Rule. Enjoy!— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1596039596.0
Fans of the "Suburban Lifestyle Dream" didn't “enjoy" Trump's news as much as he might've hoped. His numbers continue to erode among college-educated whites, especially women. Although polling data show that dying from COVID-19 remains a more pressing concern for these voters than the plot of A Raisin in the Sun, Trump doubled down nonetheless. “All You Need Is Racism" is his real campaign slogan.
Trump is trapped in a Fox News bubble where Barack Obama's presidency was the worst thing ever. It's hard to scare people, especially during a pandemic, with the threat of Joe Biden “reinstalling" a housing policy that didn't actually ruin their precious neighborhoods in the first place.
Admittedly, “Corey Booker" might be a shady character, but Senator Cory Booker is not leading some Black suburban invasion. Anyone who'd hide under their beds from the vegan legislator is probably already voting for Trump. The president needs to swing voters who don't already own Robert E. Lee commemorative plates. He has no idea how to communicate to an electorate that generally speaking chafes at direct appeals to racism. There's a reason his “migrant caravan" nonsense failed to prevent the 2018 Blue Wave.
Republicans succeed when they can paint Democrats as racially “divisive," the ones stirring up trouble by bringing up the issue at all. Trump fails completely in this regard, even more so against Biden, and he's actively turning off former voters in highly prized swing districts.
From a recent New York Times article:
"It's a disgrace," said Jane Scilovati, a schoolteacher from Devon, Pa., along Philadelphia's wealthy Main Line. She voted for Mr. Trump in 2016 but said she now regrets the decision. She called the president's recent handling of racial issues "deplorable."
Ms. Scilovati's use of “deplorable" is delightfully ironic. I don't think she's feigning outrage. Trump benefitted from plausible deniability about his racism during the 2016 campaign. He hasn't personally changed, so he's probably surprised that suburban Hillary haters think he's gross now.
Today is the third anniversary of the Charlottesville “Unite the Right" rally. A few days later, Trump would defend white supremacists and Nazis as “very fine people." This is who Trump has always been. He's not bothering to hide it, but unfortunately for him, no one's buying it.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes reviews for the A.V. Club and make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."