The Trump Rally is A Gathering For Hate

by | Oct 1, 2022 | Politics | 6 comments

“In the fifties, you just say n—–, n—–, n—-,” admitted Lee Atwater, South Carolina Republican consultant and architect of George H. W. Bush’s 1988 campaign for the presidency. Later, on his deathbed, Atwater expressed remorse for using race hatred in the pursuit of political power. But from Atwater’s penance we seem to have come full circle. If fifties demagogues cried the n-word, so does the forty-fifth president of the United States.

Donald Trump impishly elicited the n-word from rally-goers at an event in Wilmington, North Carolina. Pause and consider the setting of his evocation. In 1898, just six generations ago, white supremacists in the city of Wilmington overthrew its government and terrorized hundreds of Blacks into fleeing the city. No doubt Donald Trump is completely ignorant of this history. But as Mark Twain quipped, history does not repeat itself, it rhymes. The resonance between one port-city mob and another could not have been on clearer display.

The Trumpers lustily shouted “n—–” in response to their idol’s provocation. This hideous display of racism may have been the ugliest spectacle to surface at a Trump rally since a mob, also North Carolinians, chanted “Send Her Back” in a jeering reference to Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, an American citizen. It was, however, not atypical. For Trump rallies are the most flagrant irruption of fascism America has seen since Charles Lindbergh spewed venom at followers who looked upon European autocracies with admiration.

The Trump rally is a blight on America. On its politics, on its public aesthetics, and on its conscience. The gathering of invariably bigoted whites to cheer on the most racist president since Woodrow Wilson is an extrusion of the darkest aspects of the American soul. These rallies exude the aroma of hatred. Even beyond Trump’s own vile words, his rallies repel the conscience with people choosing to congregate solely on the basis of authority-worship, grievance, and hate.

I’m getting overheated. But I am angry, angry at a political culture in which hatred in the spirit of every demagogue from Charles Lindbergh to Jesse Helms has become a fixture of the landscape. We are an ailing nation. Democracies in robust health do not tolerate xenophobic populism in the heart of a major political party. The greatest problem we face in this regard is that our country does not have many parties, but only two, and one of them is rally for the rawest of hate.


  1. cocodog

    I find it surprising that you seem shocked and angry over the fact a few of us need to look down upon or feel more privileged than another. The south historically has suffered from this problem dating back to before the civil war. Many non-slave owners fought and died for folks who were had something to lose without a second thought. Today the same type of thinking drives white southerners to a party that advocates doing away with social security , Medicare, and Medicaid. Benefits that are labeled as socialism which is a word that means the same as communism. Sadly, they fail to understand either concept, but hate both with equal enthusiasm. The old saying you cannot fix stupid is true, even in 21 centuries. They express their hate in words that belittle degrade their fellow citizen. Being able to do this is more important to these few than democracy.

  2. Walter Freeman

    “Donald Trump impishly elicited the n-word from rally-goers at an event in Wilmington, North Carolina.”
    Impishly??!!?? Too weak. I should have thought that “devilishly” or perhaps “satanicly” would have been a better fit.

  3. Dillon Roberts

    Is trump as ignorant of history as we might think, or does he know full well what he spouting to his followers, knowing that they are probably ignorant of the history and racism is rife among them?

  4. Randy Guptill

    I agree about the generation thing. My grandmother was born around 1900, my mother in 1926, myself in 1951, my oldest son in 1979, his oldest in 2017, so maybe four? As for the Wilmington “race riot”, I was born in Wilmington and never heard a word about it in school. I am positive that the troubles there during desegregation were due to black people having full knowledge of the past and clueless/embarrassed white people who covered up their great grand daddy’s involvement.

  5. Peter Harkins


    Just a brief note to suggest care in the use of “generation”. I’ve worked the past decade on county issues with a fellow who was born in Chatham County 1935. His father was born in 1898. His grandparents just before,or just after, the War – he lives on the same property today. Many of my pale friends, native Chathamites, have similar histories.

    I ‘spect we tend to think of “generation” as 30-35 or so years -and goodness! over 6, why memories must fade. Over three, not so much I fear 😉

    Not only is the horn player ignorant of history, as well, I bet’cha, are a majority of our North Carolinian friends.

    Uncle Grumpy

  6. TC

    I just started reading “American Psychosis” by David Corn. The parallels across time concerning the Republican Party from inception to now are striking. Some of the history I was already aware of and had forgotten the details had faded with time. Others I was not aware of but found enlightening.

    After reading your piece Alex, it is sobering to face the reality that this is merely another cycle in the ‘never ending story’ of the Republican Party. Which includes race baiting. What we are seeing is simply another crescendo in the aria of singularity and greed for the Republican party. The themes are the same. The ideology is the same. The players are different and perhaps more radicalized, but Atwater, Rove, Stone, Miller, Bannon and the backstage minions who support their efforts are hardly the fresh-faced debutantes at the ball of misdeeds. Divide, conquer, do the most for the wealthiest and the business class. Manipulate, lie, misrepresent; do what you must to maintain those core and basic truths. If you are gullible enough to buy into the MAGA mine of misfortune, well then, shame on you.

    The party, it seems, has fought within itself for decades across parts of 3 centuries now in an effort to render itself amenable to the masses and at the same time, to the wealthy elites who provide the funding and influencing for the planks in its’ platform. One is the votes and numbers to make it count. The other is the money. It has succeeded and failed miserably with both on multiple occasions. In the either/or paradox, the elites have always come out on top. They will here too.

    The one single difference that was missing from all of the peaks and valleys of the Republican experience is the Trump factor. Now, someone is in charge of the party and holding sway with the power inside who has no moral compass. No compassion. No empathy. In totality, someone who doesn’t care about the party, other Republicans, or the Nation, but only for himself and his family. Success is defined by how well he does. How much he succeeds. The money he amasses. Have you heard Donny plugging for disaster relief for South Florida? Me either. He was begging for money and soliciting for donations since the third quarter deadline was approaching. Who cares that Hurricane Ian was rolling in too.

    Everything you point out is something that has happened in a previous period of the evolution of Republicans and Republicanism. But this is perhaps the worst and, it isn’t over either. The nightmare is never-ending.

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