How Trump defines a ‘real’ American – Asia Times

How Trump defines a 'real' American - Asia Times

In his campaign to get the 2024 presidential vote, Donald Trump has just stepped up on his disparaging portrayals of illegal immigrants. In an interview with Time magazine, published on April 30, 2024, Trump referred to workers as” crooks”, who” travel in and they steal our jobs, and take our money, and they steal our state”.

Trump made a special outburst of immigrants from China, describing them as a “major power that’s forming in our land.” In brief, according to Trump, illegal movement is” an invasion of our land”.

Trump’s current anti- migratory rhetoric is mainly inflammatory, but it is not new. Since he entered the democratic fight, it has been Trump’s calling cards. For instance, in his first speech announcing his candidacy for the 2016 president, Trump notably referred to Mexican workers saying, they are “bringing medications, they are bringing violence and they are criminals”.

Why does Trump use this kind of obscene language to speak to immigrants? Because it works as an political plan. It has been specially effective in cultivating assistance from Trump’s primary voting base: whitened, working- class Americans.

According to a recent study of leading elections, Trump is currently 13.7 portion points ahead of Biden among white electors. White Americans without college degrees, who have a greater political benefits, favor Trump over Trump for 60 % of the time. Despite the fact that some observers have identified Trump as a crucial dynamic to see for the 2024 election, his support is still firmly entrenched in white America.

How has a tycoon from New York City managed to win over the working-class population so much? Since Trump’s victory in 2016, some have posed this question. Most people have criticized his nationalist approach and his ability to address the concerns of those who fear a perceived rise in “woke” elections or who feel left behind by industrialization. Our taking is somewhat different.

Our in- level study on Trump’s 2020.1713390″>2016 and 2020 campaigns shows that Trump’s support stems from his ability to plug into an “ethno- republican” tradition of United identity in his campaign rhetoric. This tradition of American identity is based on a set of criteria ( including being white, Christian, native- born, and English- speaking ) to define who is a “real” American, and who is not.

Trump uses this idea of American identity to win white Americans over, campaigning on the idea that he will protect them from the threat posed by those who are not perceived as real Americans, particularly the ostensible threat posed by undocumented immigrants.

Trump’s shifting support

How does the fact that Trump has recently increased his support among people of color, known as the so-called racial realignment in US politics, fit with our argument that his support is based on an ethno-nationalist ideology that speaks to white Americans?

While seemingly paradoxical, Trump’s messaging could also explain why he is gaining support from some Latino and Hispanic Americans. As others have shown, Trump’s support among people of color is not proof that race does n’t matter in America– quite the opposite.

People of color who back Trump typically have conservative viewpoints on racial and ethnic diversity. Trump’s recent doubling down on anti-immigrant messaging reinforces these beliefs. He is speaking to both his white electorate and a small group of people of color who have conservative views on immigration and racial issues in the US. This enables us to understand how, in spite of his messaging, he is gaining support from ethnic minorities.

Interestingly, even though ethno- nationalism is central to Trump’s campaign rhetoric, he tends to avoid explicitly referring to it. Presumably this tactic is intended to avoid accusations of outright racism while also allowing him to continue to win over people of color and white Americans.

He rarely speaks out against white Americans directly, for instance, but there are signs that he is becoming more and more likely to do so. For example, at a rally in Arizona in 2022, he claimed that” white people” were being “denigrated” and discriminated against when they tried to seek “life- saving therapeutics”.

Instead, Trump tends to heavily rely upon thinly veiled speech codes known as “dog whistles” to implicitly refer to them. This is what he is doing when he says he is standing up for the” silent majority” and “forgotten men and women”, or when he claims he will protect” suburban housewives” from the threat of illegal migrants.

We all know what he says, how he says it, and who he is talking to, but there are currently countless instances of Trump using these words.

But why does Trump make such use of rhetoric to win people’s support? In short, it is because it is not new. As we discuss in our most recent book, there is a long tradition of ethno-nationalism in American politics.

The notion that America is primarily a white, Christian nation has long been refuted by the idea at the heart of the US’s founding documents, such as the Bill of Rights, which states that all Americans should have equal rights regardless of their ethnic, racial, or religious backgrounds.

In times of increased concern over their perceived loss of status, such as in relation to the emancipation of formerly enslaved black Americans, or as we are seeing today, in response to migration, this alternative conception of America has occasionally gained strength among white Americans.

Trump adapts this long tradition to fit its current anxieties while directly utilizing it. Trump may be the most effective proponent of this American identity in recent memory, but he is not the only one to do so.

But, as much as Trump’s campaign strategy has been remarkably effective in building his base, it is also inherently limiting. This is because many Americans, including many white Americans, favor a more diverse one that is more closely related to the founding documents. This tradition underpinned Biden’s 2020 campaign. This is the” soul of the nation” Biden says he is trying to save.

It is not surprising that Trump has not been able to meaningfully increase his support if one looks at the two presumed candidates as drawing on diametrically opposed visions of American national identity.

And as he intensifies his campaign for 2024, Trump is faced with a conundrum: many other Americans find it equally difficult to understand how strongly resent his base.

Robert Schertzer is an associate professor of politics at the University of Toronto, while Eric Taylor Woods is an associate professor of sociology.

This article was republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.