Thanks to Donald Trump, White Nationalism Has a Spot in the Political Mainstream

The Donald Trump Inevitability Watch, May 11

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The Donald Trump Inevitability Watch is an ongoing series that presupposes a horrific truth: Inevitably, Donald Trump will win the presidential election. Despite rampant pleas to the contrary, we know he is the living embodiment of Murphy’s Law. Everything that can go wrong will go wrong, and this is the wrongest of the all the wrongs, and therefore a total certainty.

On today’s Watch, we have no choice but to focus on a fascinating story out of California, where a White Nationalist leader named Michael Johnson was named as one of Trump’s state delegates. Johnson, a lawyer and radio host, leads the American Freedom Party, “which exists to represent the political interests of White Americans.” Mother Jones, covering the story, found an expert who said that the AFP is the “arguably the most important white nationalist group in the country,” which means that Johnson is arguably the most important white nationalist.

Now, fair is fair—this seems like it was a total accident on Trump’s behalf, an illustration of incompetence rather than malice. As of today, the campaign was claiming that this was a “database error,” and seemed to be taking steps to get rid of Johnson (who offered to resign if they couldn’t manage to clean up the database). Weirdly, though, he may have to remain as a Trump delegate due to California’s bylaws:

Regardless, it doesn’t seem like Trump actually sought out Johnson, any more than he sought out David Duke’s endorsement. But that’s not the really interesting part. The really interesting part is why Johnson supports Trump—he thinks Trump has already begun to normalize white nationalism in America. Check out these excerpts from the Mother Jones piece:

Johnson got the news that he had been selected by Trump in a congratulatory email sent to him by the campaign’s California delegate coordinator, Katie Lagomarsino. “I just hope to show how I can be mainstream and have these views,” Johnson tells Mother Jones. “I can be a white nationalist and be a strong supporter of Donald Trump and be a good example to everybody.”

and…

”[Trump] is allowing us to talk about things we’ve not been able to talk about,” Johnson says. “So even if he is not elected, he has achieved great things.”

and…

We ended up in a mirrored conference room to meet with three AFP sympathizers, two middle-aged women and a young man. They talked about how Trump had enabled a new kind of “honest discourse,” how he wasn’t a racist but a “racialist,” and how he had left them feeling “emancipated.” Johnson also now finds it easier to be himself: “For many, many years, when I would say these things, other white people would call me names: ‘Oh, you’re a hatemonger, you’re a Nazi, you’re like Hitler,’” he confessed. “Now they come in and say, ‘Oh, you’re like Donald Trump.’”

Whether or not Trump accepts or even wants these types of endorsements is irrelevant—this kind of thought process proves that with his rhetoric, he’s giving comfort and philosophical quarter to white nationalism. His campaign slogan may as well be, “Make White Nationalism Mainstream Again!” Because for the first in years, a group of racists now have a home in the two-party system. And that’s fucking bananas.

Current Trump Inevitability Risk: Medium-High

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