We know who President Donald Trump is talking to when he lobs his racist taunts: his right-wing base. He’s talking to working class, mostly white voters who think that everything is being taken from them and that immigrants and African Americans are to blame. Playing the race card fires them up and, Mr. Trump is calculating, will bring them to the polls.
However many such people exist, he will get their votes. Not much is going to change their minds. Not his broken promise to save the coal industry, the damage he did to farmers with tariffs or his massive tax cuts for the rich. They’ll turn a blind eye to all his flaws as long as he heaps the blame on others — the media, coastal elites and especially minorities and immigrants. As long as the president plays into their insecurities, he can do no wrong. And other Republican lawmakers will fall in line, as they have done time and again, to ride that wave support.
That makes this election a time of reckoning for swing voters. The moderate Democrats and independents who know the racism is wrong but are willing to compartmentalize and ignore that side of the president for a little extra money in their pockets or a little less regulation on their business. Or because they like a guy who speaks his mind and goes against the establishment.
Well, it is no longer enough to act like the racist side of our country’s leader doesn’t matter. That it is OK to support a man who calls a city in our country “a disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess." The president’s rhetoric is becoming far too dangerous, and the willingness of swing voters to condone his stances by staying silent is egging him on. Complacency means that they are saying it’s OK for a man in a grocery story to tell an African American lawmaker in Georgia to”go back to where she came from" because she had too many items in the express lane. Because that is what happened shortly after Mr. Trump used such language at a political rally. They create an environment in which a man posts on Instagram about white supremacist writings before shooting into a crowd at a garlic festival in California, killing three and injuring 11. Mr. Trump is enabling hateful behavior like this, and everyone who turns a deaf ear to him is indirectly doing so as well.
There is some indication Mr. Trump’s inflammatory beliefs have become too much for some. The bombastic rhetoric is making more people uncomfortable and uneasy.
The president lost support from Democrats and independents after he attacked four congresswoman on Twitter and told them to “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came,” according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll. About three out of 10 independents who took the poll approved of Mr. Trump, compared to four out of 10 the week before, according to Reuters. His net approval among Democrats dropped two points.
So while the harassment of the Congresswomen riled up his core supporters — net approval from the Republican Party rose by 5 points to 72% — we are glad to see that a more important voter block couldn’t stomach it. We hope more will get the memo as well.
If you’re still struggling to decide whether Mr. Trump’s behavior should disqualify him from the highest office in the land, think about whether you want to be on the side of hate and inhumanity. Think about the image of America Mr. Trump is portraying to the rest of the world and how he is depicting some of your neighbors, colleagues and friends. We don’t vote for a piece of the president, we vote for the whole person — and this president is not good for the country.
Mr. Trump is betting that a coalition of the hateful and the indifferent will be enough to win him a second term. We consider that an insult to the American people, and it’s time for swing voters to stand up for themselves and throw a wrench into Mr. Trump’s political strategy. We hope they get as amped up with anger and disgust for the president as his base gets excited — and his strategy fails.