Donald Trump is the presumptive GOP nominee. If anybody was going to be the target of harassment from his supporters, one would think it would be Democrats. Surely that is the case but what about conservatives and other Republicans? Unfortunately, that is the case.
It’s not fair to paint all of Donald Trump’s supporters as knuckle-dragging morons. I know some good people who support him and I have friends who have family members who support him. It’s no fun but it is a reality. That said, there is also an underbelly of Trump supporters who don’t necessarily line up behind Trump, but seem him as a vehicle for their own agenda. This would include various white nationalists, many of whom are anti-Semites.
Trump has managed to create a climate where white people can actually claim a form of victim-hood. Twenty years ago, when welfare reform was a thing, many of the same people who support Trump now, were happy to tell others (particularly minorities) to “pull themselves up by their bootstraps” and “get to work.” Things have changed since then. The global economy has shifted the US workforce to a more service and tech oriented culture. Job growth under President Obama has been tepid at best. The low unemployment rate does not account for those who simply have given up looking for work and GDP during the last eight years as been anemic.
People are looking for somebody to blame and Donald Trump came along to give people the direction they needed. Trump has made his entire campaign blaming Mexico and China for the US economic woes. He’s talking about tariffs and building walls and in doing so, has allowed people to openly display their resentment towards immigrants and a changing world economy. He’s used terror attacks to throw a blanket over the entire Muslim community, turning them all into either terrorists or enablers of terrorism.
It was only a matter of time before Trump supporters started pointing the finger of blame at another group – Jewish people. Donald Trump himself hasn’t gone in that direction. However, he has sat back and not said anything to dissuade his supporters from engaging in such ugliness or to separate himself from it.
This is where people say, “C’mon Jay. This is a very small subsection of Trump supporters and it’s mostly just random people online.” That’s a bunch of nonsense. While it’s true many of these idiots are go-along young morons with no life who spend most of their time on 4chan, enough of them exist that people truly feel threatened enough to take action. People like Bethany Mandel:
Mandel, 30, is an Orthodox Jew and conservative writer for prominent Jewish and conservative publications who has vociferously opposed, particularly on Twitter, the candidacy of Donald Trump.
And that’s why she had to buy a gun.
Mandel estimates she has faced thousands of anti-Semitic messages online, mostly from self-identified white nationalists who are passionate Trump supporters — as made clear by their exhortations to “make America great again” and the Trump imagery in their user profiles. The messages she has received (“Die, you deserve to be in an oven,” for example) are tame compared to the pictures (Mandel’s face superimposed on that of a Holocaust victim).
Mandel is far from alone. An old argument has been rebooted for a new political age: Jews are destroying the country, and only Trump can stop their malevolent hold over media, business and government.
Mandel said Trump first went after the “easy targets in our culture” — Mexicans and Muslims. Then some of his supporters turned on the Jews. “We have to speak up,” she said. “And I feel this as a Jew…Because I knew they were coming after us next. And I was right.”
She’s not exaggerating. I’ve seen this. One of the more prominent targets of Trump’s anti-semitic following is conservative, and Jew, Ben Shapiro. I’ve been RT’ed by Ben on a number of occasions. When he did, my mentions would immediately be filled with some of the nastiest anti-Semitic imagery and rhetoric one can imagine.
Trump of course, in seconds, could distance himself from such garbage. Wolf Blitzer gave him the chance to do so when writer Julia Ioffe was attacked, harassed and threatened by Trump supporters after she published a profile piece on Trump’s wife, Melania. The article in question is tame in nature and not a hit piece by any stretch. Yet Trump and his wife were critical of it and that was enough for Trump supporters.
When Wolf Blitzer asked Donald Trump about the reaction from the anti-semites, his narcissism would only allow for him to talk about himself:
Trump said while he hadn’t read the article, he heard it was “very inaccurate” and “nasty.”
“I’m married to a woman who is a very fine woman. She doesn’t need this, believe me,” he said, recounting how Melania Trump was “tremendously” successful as a model and “made a lot of money.”
He also described his wife as a “very high-quality woman who loves people and has a big heart,” saying, “they shouldn’t be doing that with wives.”
Blitzer interrupted: “But the anti-Semitic death threats that have followed –”
“Oh, I don’t know about that. I don’t know anything about that. You mean fans of mine?” Trump replied.
“Supposed fans of posting these very angry – but your message to these fans is?” Blitzer continued.
“I don’t have a message to the fans,” the billionaire said. “A woman wrote an article that’s inaccurate.”
Feigning ignorance is the hallmark of cowards. That’s Donald Trump.
Nobody expects him to put a stop to it. People are going to do what they want to do. But he could easily say, “I want nothing to do with those people. They don’t represent me or the ideas I have at all.” But that would mean pushing away people who like him. And his own ego won’t allow that.