On Meet the Press, Ta-Nehisi Coates notes that white supremacy was "an indispensable factor” in Trump’s election

On Meet the Press, Ta-Nehisi Coates notes that white supremacy was "an indispensable factor” in Trump’s election


From the October 1 edition of NBC’s Meet The Press:

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CHUCK TODD (HOST): This is what you wrote about in the election, you were not subtle in pointing the blame directly at systemic racism and bigotry. And this is what you write: "The implications that systemic bigotry is still central to our politics, that the country is susceptible to such bigotry, that the salt of the earth Americans whom we lionize in our culture and politics are not so different than those same Americans who grin back in lynching photos are just too dark. Instead, the response has been an argument aimed at emotion, the summoning of the white working class, emblem of America’s hardscrabble roots, inheritor of it's pioneer spirit as a shield against the horrific and empirical evidence of trenchant bigotry." You've said even tougher words about this president.

TA-NEHISI COATES: I have, yeah.

TODD: You don't think he'd be here without white supremacy.

COATE: No, no, I don’t.

TODD: Explain that.

COATES: Well, I think it's pretty easy. I mean, you have a political candidate who literally begins his presence or his campaign in birtherism. That was how it started. I don't think birtherism was a mistake and it wasn't a minority-held opinion – it wasn’t a small minority held opinion within the Republican Party. You had eight years of an African-American president, and if not majority to at least plurality of the Republican Party believed that Barack Obama was not legitimate because he was not born here. And Donald Trump saw that, played on that, and that was how he launched his campaign. I just don't think that was a mistake. And he's continued with that all the way through. You have a president who had no problem going on TV saying, "Someone can't judge me, a federal judge can’t judge my case because he's a Mexican," it doesn't get much more explicit than that.

TODD: Solely a reaction to the election of Barack Obama?


TODD: Do we have -- do we get Donald Trump without Barack Obama as president?

COATES: I don't think so. I don't think without that reaction. That doesn't mean there weren't other factors contributing to a Trump presidency ultimately. I would argue that white supremacy is an indispensable factor. Which does not mean there weren't other factors that were there too. But I think if you take that on, no, no. I don’t think it’s a mistake we've never had a president who’s never held political office or never been an independent -- had a military posting or anything at all. No experience with the within the public sphere at all. To just hand it off like that. I think Trump is different. He's not Marco Rubio, he's not Mitt Romney, this is a very, very different thing. And I think 50 years from now, historians are going to ask themselves how this actually happened and I think the answer is going to be the reaction to Barack Obama's presidency.


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Posted In
Race & Ethnicity, The Presidency & White House
Chuck Todd
Meet the Press
Race, 2016 Elections
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