The 2016 political campaign and popularity of Donald Trump as the Republican Party candidate for President of the United States has aligned the idea of “Trumpism” with the construction of “whiteness”. Similar to the current socio-political climate, the notion of whiteness was propagated by the 1980's Republican Party as a mechanism to re-establish white racial solidarity across economic lines. This obscures neoliberalism’s effects on the working-class and serves to rally behind nationalist, populist, xenophobic, protectionist and anti-establishment sentiments. The popularity of his rhetoric, message, and general path to the presidency indicates the growing (and/or previously more silent) beliefs of the electorate. The Trumpism ideology is not new. As most things that the Donald champions, Trump slapped his name on it, made it unecessarily flashy, and called it his own. Dominic Tierney (2016) of The Atlantic points out that Trump “rode a wave that has been building across America and the West for decades. Trump embraced and shaped the mood so profoundly that it’s possible to brand the movement with his name.” Trumpist sentiments have been seen overseas in Britain (particularly around Brexit) as well as Finland and elsewhere.
What is new about this collective ideology is that they are branded around one highly animated, highly outspoken celebrity funneled into a racialized white nationalist context. The coalescing of Trump’s narcissistic demagoguery and (more so than other Trumpist tenets) the racialized anti-Mexican, anti-Muslim, and overall “othering” he promotes via obscene comments and proposed legislation has validated frustrations amongst the so-called “silent majority”, working-class white voters, in addition to previously shunned bigoted attitudes from the Ku Klux Klan and the newly branded “alt-right”. Groups and demographics whom once believed themselves to be unheard and/or too radical (read: racist, hateful) to have a voice in the mainstream electoral process now feel their beliefs are being propagated through a candidate and now president.
CREDITS: Intro soundbite from BBC's Newsnight special layered on Auditorium (instrumental) by Mos Def ft. Slick Rick. Outro from Alright by Kendrick Lamar. Audio engineered by Genta Tamashiro. Episode art and Bourbon 'n BrownTown logo by Desirae Gladden.