We don’t even have a Democratic nominee for 2020 yet but Donald Trump has already made his reelection strategy crystal clear: escalate his racism and whip his white voting base into a frothing, aggrieved rage.
In recent weeks we’ve seen the president attack four Democratic Congresswomen — all of whom were people of color — then go after Representative Elijah Cummings (D-MD) and Civil Rights icon Al Sharpton. Trump also targeted Cummings’s entire Congressional district, which includes the city of Baltimore. Trump smeared it as “rat and rodent infested.”
It’s no coincidence Trump never uses this particular form of coded language to describe the constituencies of white politicians, a fact which the president’s white nationalist fans have not failed to notice.
Rather than back down in the face of widespread criticism of his blatant bigotry, Trump had decided to continue upping his racism. Bloomberg reports that the president has resumed his smear campaign against Rep. Cummings and the city of Baltimore.
The president called the historic polis “corrupt,” saying its citizens live in “hell.” He went on to imply that “billions” of federal dollars have been embezzled from the city and unsurprisingly provided zero evidence for the ridiculous claim.
The Baltimore Sun reports that Baltimore has received $2.3 billion total in federal grants over the past decade, meaning the city doesn’t even have the untold billions to misplace in the first place. The Sun points out that federal inspectors have not accused Baltimore of wasting or defrauding billions of dollars.
Clearly, Trump is fabricating his accusation out of thin air. And while the racist element involved certainly appeals to the president, there’s an additional viable explanation.
President Trump demanded that Cummings launch an investigation into the city in what could easily be interpreted as an attempt to distract Cummings — as the Chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee — from further investigating Trump himself.
Cummings’s committee has been a major thorn in Trump’s side, issuing subpoena after subpoena as its works to uncover the administration’s criminality and corruption. Perhaps Trump believes that smearing Cummings and the committee will help undermine its findings. This latest attack shows just how worried he really is.
Of course, the falseness of Trump’s statements is irrelevant to the president as long as his base sees him once again attacking a prominent and respected Black figure. These kinds of attacks are only going to increase as the election draws near, and the only way to fully repudiate them is to vote Trump out in 2020.
Trump on the political strategy behind his attacks on Elijah Cummings: "There's no strategy. I have no strategy. There's zero strategy." pic.twitter.com/cL0OCQzVTr
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) July 30, 2019