Million-Woman March on Trump’s Inauguration

Washington, DC residents and folks who can get there, take note: There are some murmurings of a march on Trump’s inauguration in support of women’s rights, which the Republican platform is set to erode.

According to preliminary plans posted on Facebook, the march will take place on Saturday, January 21, the day after Trump is sworn in as America’s 45th president. The details of the event are not yet final, but organizers have launched individual Facebook groups in key states to help women make arrangements to be at the demonstration.

Over the past 24 hours, the organizers wrote that more than20,000 people have signed up to attend. “This is an INCLUSIVE march, and EVERYONE who supports women’s rights are welcome,” they added.

Connect with point people in your state here. And if you’re feeling furious, don’t boo—march. (Or do both. Doing both works, too.)

I’ll keep an eye out and signal boost the finer points when they’re settled.

USA, you’re going to need your #BlackMonday.


What happens in the US doesn’t stay in the US

The question of what America’s progressives are going to do next is a complex one. There are many US analysts attempting to dissect the bloated carcass of the 2016 election and for my part I’m probably going to take a while to really take stock in terms of action in the United States. I’ve started regular donations to Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union and I strongly urge you to do the same if you have disposable income.

The problem, of course, is that Trump is a symptom–and the disease which caused it knows no borders. Something I do have more direct involvement in is the politics of Alberta and Canada. There are only limited ways I can help in the United States but right here, at home, there’s hot iron for me and other Canadian progressives to strike–because all signs point to our next Trump, too. Most of us will only be indirectly affected by the disaster that is sure to be the Trump administration, but we’re afraid nonetheless. Ideas don’t stick to borders.

After all, I’ve been mocking our very own opportunistic climate change denying xenophobic forced birther Christians-can-do-no-wrong fuck-the-gay-kids alt-right posterboy grifter and conman. This is the same leadership hopeful of Alberta’s so-called “Progressive” Conservatives who got a pat on the back from Michael Gove of all people and who manufactured the niqab outrage in our last federal election. That’s like getting an endorsement from Emperor Palpatine.

The question, of course, is what does it mean for Canadians that the projected winner of the PC leadership, Jason Kenney, is a derivative of Trump-esque beliefs? Specifically, what does it mean for conservative Canadians–the “not sexist/racist” kind who support fiscal conservatism–when at least some of their big tent includes the “proudly sexist and racist”?

If you consider yourself a centrist or conservative in Canada, you are overdue for an honest introspection of who exactly sits in your “big tent.” Like American conservatives, the right-wing has enjoyed successes in the recent past by uniting many different voting blocs under a single banner; indeed, the big tent fracturing is likely one of the largest contributors to the left-leaning New Democratic Party’s (NDP) success. So if you’re one of those more reasonable centrist types, the voting bloc that seems to think Trudeau Sr.’s budgeting was bad but thought he was on to something when he said “the nation has no place in the bedroom,” then you have a problem. Because also sharing space in your tent of fiscal conservatism is, you know, the voting blocs that would put a self-admitted rapist in the White House and bring the government back into people’s bedrooms.

If you’re not convinced, you need only look at how the current race for the Progressive Conservative leadership is playing out. Two centrist candidates, Sandra Jansen and Donna Kennedy-Glans, ran for PC leadership on platforms that fit the bill of fiscally conservative but socially progressive: Jansen in particular was explicit about a woman’s reproductive right to choose and her support of the NDP’s environmental protections. In other words she was just the sort of reasonable voice a progressive could communicate with, since she was less concerned with towing the party line and more concerned with whether individual policies were effective and needed. I don’t think I would’ve voted for her but I wouldn’t be sweating below the collar if she got in.

At the same time Canada was curled up into a ball and crying into its knees as the results of the US election came in, revealing some 60-odd million who actively supported Trump and another ~180 million who didn’t seem bothered enough to vote against him, Jansen and Kennedy-Glans were entering their resignations from the PC leadership. Their reason? Their nomination forms had been returned with misogynistic slurs and rape threats written all over them. I’m sure it’s total coincidence that this sexist harassment coincides with Kenney’s bussing in so-called Bible-boys and signing up youth en masse to PC membership so they can vote for the candidate who just not-so-subtly “incentivized” them. Which, by the way, is breaking the PC charter–you’ll note the PC executives don’t care. All this, by the way, paid for by Kenney’s “charity” dedicated to himself, so he could skirt around election oversight.

Kenney’s playing dirty, and he’s slated to win.

Conservatives of Alberta, this is your big tent. For decades you’ve been able to put respectable conservatives front and centre, courting this other Trump-esque voting bloc implicitly through the use of dog whistles, banking on the fact that the respectables would be able to sit on the trembling Pandora’s Box.

Well, America just demonstrated that the deplorables in Pandora’s Box can break free, and we have the early signs right here in Alberta that the respectables don’t weigh enough to keep the lid on: Kenney just broke a charter rule which requires members to be members for at least 7 days before they can vote, and just had hundreds of youth bussed in from rural Alberta to vote for him after signing them up the same day; he keeps characterizing the NDP’s changes to the education curriculum as “social engineering”–surely you agree the basics of “gay people exist” is not a radical revelation for our rusty and creaky curriculum; Kenney has a long, long track record of voting to erode a woman’s right to choose; women in politics are regularly receiving rape and death threats from his supporters; and he has a soft spot for regressive Christians routinely violating public policy despite pocketing public funds in public contracts. Is that your idea of “fiscal responsibility”–letting scammers who steal from the public purse off the hook because they mumble something about Jesus? How about Kenney grifting national taxpayers to finance his provincial leadership bid? Is that fiscally responsible, too?

You need to soul search, because it’s rapidly starting to look like the fiscal-conservative-socially-progressive types aren’t going to have a party in the next election. Kenney is slated to win the PC leadership and he has been very, very open and forthright about his intention to absorb the Wildrose back into the fold. The problem is that it isn’t the respectables at the helm anymore. It’s the deplorables. The ones who are serious about being socially reactionary. The ones who think death and rape threats are a legitimate vehicle of criticism. The ones Brian Jean has been trying to contain like a beleaguered dog-owner pulling back on the chain of his rabid pup: You know, the ones making targets of the Premier, mocking victims of domestic violence and the assassination of labour-rights politicians, and publicly approving denigrating posts about gay politicians, because there’s apparently not enough policy to criticize?

We have about 3 years to see what damage the deplorables will do under the Republican big tent before our next provincial election. I seriously hope you pay close attention, because here in Alberta the women, trans folk, queer folk, immigrants, people of colour, students, youth, poor, sick, and disabled are all going to be at the mercy of your big tent whose presumed-leadership intends to grind us into dirt. Some of us are even fiscal conservatives ourselves, but our political calculus is tainted by the fact that the party which potentially agrees with our economic policy is bolstered by a highly controlling voting bloc, one that wishes to make life difficult for us “deviants” through a climate of explicit legal and social hostility.

And yes, to head off the accusation that the Left has its own brand of deplorables: It’s true that we have our lunatic fringe as well. The difference is that our Greens bagged 0.49% of the popular vote. Our Communists bagged 0.01%. Neither has a penchant for doxxing their critics, something I can’t say of the right-wing deplorables. Let’s not pretend that radical leftists in this province have a voice. If Kenney succeeds in the creation of another big tent conservatism, that’s well over half the province throwing their weight behind him: And it’s the social regressives at the steering wheel. Your lunatics aren’t a fringe sequestering themselves in Pandora’s Box anymore. The handler’s grip on the leash is slipping, and we’re slated to watch the rabid dog break loose.

There’s two voting blocs this post isn’t addressed to: the capital-P Progressives, and the socially-conservative Conservatives. If you’re the type that has already been convinced by Kenney’s rhetoric that respecting trans kids constitutes an “experiment,” I’m not sure how to communicate with you. We are working with very different data sets and at this point might as well be speaking a different language. This language problem I have no solution for, though if you’re willing to communicate without hurling insults then so am I. We can give it the old college try. And if it fails, you can at least take the liberty of looking me in the eye that my wellbeing matters so little to you that you’d support a reactionary candidate like Kenney. At least be honest about it.

As for Albertan Progressives, I’ll have more detailed plans as we near the 2019 election. There’s too many variables to commit to any given plan just yet, but I am confident I can give you something thorough after the lines are drawn. I know several Pride centres across the province working together with several BLM chapters across the province, so progressives are already teaming up. Start there while we wait for the dust to settle.

To close, here’s the homework for conservative Albertans and Canadians: If it truly matters to you to make a fiscal conservatism that doesn’t deliberately single out minorities for mistreatment, you need to make that clear as your political parties take shape. Albertans, there’s still time to make Wildrose the respectables–Kenney appears to be more-or-less confirmed in taking the PCs hard to the right. And federally? The Conservatives agreed to axe their “one man and one woman” policy on marriage. Push for more of that.

Tonight I attend a federal Liberal party gathering. I intend to raise the spectre of reactionary successes and how the Liberals will almost certainly do what the Democrats did and take the progressive vote for-granted in their next election. Results of that coming soon.

We all have a responsibility to cast informed ballots in our upcoming elections and there’s far too much at stake for minorities to have the respectables become complacent as the deplorables take charge of the conservative apparatus. If you want to be branded as the politics of personal responsibility, then make sure your tent doesn’t have deplorables in it. Denying they exist and are in your tent is anything but responsible.


Staring Contests

Content Notice: Self harm.

Semi-open thread here. Comments changed for now not to require manual approval, so as long as you’ve got at least one comment somewhere on my blag you can get through.

Again, list of help lines here. Please, please call if you have to. There’s no shame in it. I had to, too. Although mine was Canadian.


There will be plenty of postmortems in the coming weeks that will hopefully provide valuable insight for those of us who are not garbage human beings.

I’m not sure I care.

Black lives don’t matter.

Trans lives don’t matter.

Gay lives don’t matter.

Women’s lives don’t matter.

Only disaffected white voters. That’s it. That’s who matters, to the expense of everyone else.

So few people seemed to actually read the policy manuals in this election. Will it make a difference to those Americans who are about to become explicit (rather than implicit) second class citizens whether someone voted Republican despite their policy or because of it?

Are we going to give a shit about your “economic anxieties” when our employment is imperiled by the Religious Freedom bills that make it legal to fire us for being who we are, as long as our former employer remembers to mumble something about Jesus?

Are we going to give a shit about your “economic anxieties” when our marriages are rendered null, when our spouses die alone in hospitals because we don’t “count” for visitation rights? Are we going to give a shit about your “economic anxieties” when the ensuing medical bill thereof renders us bankrupt?

Are we going to give a shit about your “economic anxieties” when we’re being murdered in bathrooms and in the streets because of all the paranoia surrounding our bodily functions?

That’s the lesson cemented today. Our lives don’t matter. We’re acceptable collateral in service to the perceived grievances of white voters. The USA was topping the charts of its own performance in nearly every civil sector, but nope, the motherfucking feelings of America’s beckys won the day.


Most people answering the question “what does it all mean?” didn’t arrive to my conclusion. Certainly my staring contest with the edge of a razor gives it context. I don’t think it’s mere depression telling me this. The Republican platform is an absolute human rights disaster. No legal apparatus is available to us to challenge it. The Supreme Court, the House, the Senate, and the Presidency. No checks and balances before. It’s all united this time, unless enough Republicans find their back bone and break party ranks. Riots is pretty much all we have left, and all that will do is get us sequestered in prison.

No wonder the razor stared back.


John Green‘s postmortem suggests something profound, something I will likely fixate on as I regroup and reorient my political activism here in Alberta and Canada. My transcript:

Good morning Hank, it’s Wednesday. We were going to have a video from the [don’t forget to be awesome] warehouse today but I thought I’d make one instead.

So it appears that more Americans voted for Hillary Clinton than Donald Trump in the US Presidential race but the Presidential race is decided by Electoral College votes and Donald Trump won most of them so he is the President-elect. Most–though certainly not all–of the people watching this video wanted Hillary Clinton to become President. I know I did, and for many of us the results of the election are devastating.

I think part of what makes so hard for some people is that Donald Trump has often attacked not what his opponents believe but who they are: Their race, their gender, their religion and more. And it is painful and scary to be called dangerous or less-than by a man who becomes President-elect of the United States and I don’t want to minimize that fear or trauma because I believe that it is real and important.

I also want to say that I’m sorry. I am sorry that we have let our political discourse become so hateful. And I’m sorry we let our echo-chambers become so sealed off that it is as unfathomable to me why someone would support Donald Trump for president as it to many Trump supporters why I would support Hillary Clinton.

I spoke with hundreds of undecided voters in the days before the election and what struck me most was how different our information was. In many cases we had the same concerns–the environment or healthcare or tax policy–but we were working with completely different data sets.

Our community, by the way, is also an echo-chamber–just 4% of the Nerdfighters who filled out the census this year said they would vote for Donald Trump. But I don’t know how to make our community more inclusive without opening it up to cruelty and hatred. We have to get better at listening to each other and challenging each other constructively and generously but I worry that the very architecture of the social internet might make that impossible.

Honestly I feel lost and I’m looking to you for guidance and clarity as I have for almost a decade now.

But the world doesn’t end today as Saladin Ahmed wrote last night: “It’s our job to fight those in power and stick up for the powerless. That stays the same no matter who’s president.” As Lin-Manual Miranda wrote: “I love this country and there’s more work to do than ever.” And as Kamala Harris said: “This is a time to fight for who we are.”

I think this will be a tough time in US history–I hope it won’t be but I think it will be. But I also think our nation is and always must be bigger than any of its leaders and that our leaders are and always must be answerable to the people.

So it’s always our job to stand together and make sure the government does its job, that it affords equal protection under the law to all citizens, that the rights of all are protected, and that our government’s policies are fiscally sound and carefully considered.

Change doesn’t only happen on election night and it doesn’t only happen in the Oval Office and it is up to us to find the places where our skills and talents meet the needs of our community and the world and to do the hard work to make life better for all. And on that front, I am hopeful.

So ten days ago my nephew Oran was born and bringing that baby into the world was an act of hope on the part of his parents. I am glad for their hope and I am heartened by it and I do not believe it was misguided. That child was born into an America that is better than the one his grandparents were born in. And it was made better by people whose hope, from restaurant counters in Alabama to the beaches of Normandy, helped them to stand together and hold the line in circumstances vastly darker than anything I pray most of us will ever see.

I don’t think hope is idealistic or silly, I think it’s the founding emotion of our species. And it’s not naive to hope we can bend the arc of American history towards justice because we’ve seen our ancestors do that in the face of unimaginable difficulty. As the great American poet of the human heart wrote, “Hope is the thing with feathers, that perches in the soul, and sings the tune without the words and never stops at all.”

Take care of yourself, and take care of each other.

This observation resonates:

I spoke with hundreds of undecided voters in the days before the election and what struck me most was how different our information was. In many cases we had the same concerns–the environment or healthcare or tax policy–but we were working with completely different data sets.

Here’s my takeaway. Something we can do that doesn’t require a movement or any kind of organized plan is to up the ante on the need for evidence. Where did you hear that? What makes you think it is accurate? How do you know that to be true? Have you considered the other opinion and if so why is that opinion inadequate? These need to become the bread and butter of every single statement of fact asserted by every single person in our lives. We need to challenge people to truly examine not just what they believe but why they believe it. Then when they’ve given us their canned answer for why they believe it, we need to challenge them to relate that to what the evidence says.

Do this to me. Put me over the motherfucking coals. If you are not convinced, get the specifics. Interrogate. Investigate. Do it to your parents, your peers, your coworkers, your community leaders and most of all, do it in public with your political candidates. Do it when the camera’s rolling. Put cracks in the echo chambers. This needs to be second nature.

There will be a need to agitate and organize and educate in the coming years. Those of you who have the privilege to escape the worst of a Trump presidency: This is on you. QUILTBAG people are going to be preoccupied navigating a legal and social culture of naked hostility planting landmines under our right to exist openly. Moderate and progressive Muslims are going to be busy dodging Christofascists. Black people have their hands full with the KKK (and, you know, the police). Indigenous people are on a permanent back foot with the oil industry. Disabled people are already scrounging just to feed and house themselves. The poor will be battered by their union-less jobs and “choosing” to die of preventable disease. The homeless will have no services to turn to. The youth more than ever will be at the mercy of their parents with no legal recourse under conditions of severe abuse. Women will flood the black market in desperate bids to plan their families. Journalists will twist around a President who threatened open violence against them for quoting his own words.

We’re going to be busy. Us minorities have a full agenda, and all it says every day is “Survive. Somehow.” Those of you who still have room in your agenda, it’s on you to work over time.


Semi-open thread here. I’ll return proper after some time.



Reactionaries really don’t need to benefit from humanization

It must be the International Month of False Equivalency because by golly the articles attempting to humanize Trump supporters came out in spades. Whether it was The Advocate trying to delicately explain how and why the white rural voter was disenfranchised in ways that were real or perceived such that it justified a Trump vote or whether it’s Aiden, that trans guy who was turned into a meme by clueless cis folk, trying to say we should “check ourselves” when we see a Trump supporter and think “idiot,” the theme prevalent in these numerous works is that we can’t judge Trump supporters because they’re probably just ignorant.

Okay, so here’s the thing: Hitler had a dog and painted beautiful portraits, Mussolini tucked in his kids at night, Pinochet played a mean game of football (soccer for you yanks), Stalin was an astute scholar, and Pol Pot found a niche in radio electronics. Every mass-scale human rights abuse committed in recorded history has at its helm someone who, if you look closely enough, has entirely ordinary–sometimes supposedly redeeming–qualities.

This does not mean that we should model the eras of Hitler, Mussolini, Pinochet, Stalin, or Pol Pot, all of whom are responsible for stomach-churning atrocities in both depth and breadth. Again, saying we ought to humanize a Trump supporter seems to be operating from the assumption that his critics have been dehumanizing him to begin with.

Because here’s the thing: Good and Evil ought to be understood as things you do, not things you are. If someone tells us we have spinach stuck in our teeth, we do not bristle and say “How can that be? I’m a hygienic person!”

I’m not dehumanizing a Trump supporter when I point out that they are, AT BEST, indifferent to the Republican platform, which features some of the most rabidly anti-woman, anti-black, anti-queer, anti-immigrant, pro-big business, fuck-the-little-guy policies in recorded history. And I’m definitely not at all interested in excusing ignorance in an election like this. The unfortunate truth is that an ignorant vote is equivalent to an informed one, but that doesn’t mean we’re all compelled to stick our head in the sand when it comes to policy.

I don’t support this. I don’t support patting Trump supporters on the head and giving them the permission they so desperately seek to be not be called racist. Motherfucker, you vote for someone whose policy reiterates racial injustice, then you is fucking racist. I’m not giving you that wiggle room. And it won’t make a difference to Trump whether you voted for his racial injustice policy planks or whether you voted in spite of his racial injustice policy planks, the effect is the same: You threw your weight behind him, he potentially gets in office to enact his policy. The ballot doesn’t know the difference. It only knows who you voted for.

The least you can do is pull up your big girl socks and fucking own up to it.

Yes, that applies to Clinton’s supporters. Yes, progressive Americans will need to work overtime to have their interests represented in all levels of government. Yes, Clinton will need to be held accountable to her actions and you ought to strive for that, even if you vote for her. That’s what owning your vote means.

But I charge that Trump supporters haven’t been dehumanized, at least not to a comparable scale to say, black people or QUILTBAG people or disabled people. Me refusing to give them that pat on the head they’re so desperate for is not the same thing as gutting what little social welfare the disabled need to live, or fostering unchecked police brutality to ensure the disproportionate imprisonment of black bodies, or reifying second-class citizenship for QUILTBAG people. It’s me saying “I don’t care whether you consider yourself racist, homophobic, or ableist or not. I care whether you support a political party that intends to dismantle what little progress the country has made in service to vulnerable communities.”

I’m well aware that Trump supporters have dogs and paint paintings and tuck their children to bed and volunteer for homeless shelters and play mean games of chess and pen thoughtful articles in academia. I fucking know, man. The point is, that favour isn’t being returned. It’s the minorities who are being dehumanized to justify or excuse one of the most monstrous Republican platforms in recent memory. It’s trans women being depicted as rapists, it’s black people being depicted as thugs, brown people depicted as terrorists, and cis women being depicted as murderers for exercising bodily autonomy. A single observation from Clinton–that Trump has the support of some seriously questionable characters–is not equivalent to a nationwide sustained smear campaign the way these various groups have been enduring.

And through all this, we have to pat his supporters on the head and assure them they’re not doing harm?

Fuck that shit.

Nobody says we don’t study the terrible atrocities of the 20th century because all of those figures did ordinary human things in their day to day. In fact, we explicitly study those atrocities to learn just how much an ordinary person can do. How much violence we’re willing to tolerate, as long as we’re not the immediate victim. How easily we’re persuaded when we’re in a crowd. How easily we can be persuaded to support the erosion of our own rights.

This is the part the Trump crowd denies. You want to think you’re good people, then start by dismantling this idea that good is something you are, that this simplistic black-and-white thinking is nothing but snake oil salesmanship.

Good is something you do. 

Good is something you can start today.


Random musings on the so-called defamation of Trump

“Rigged.” It’s the word bandied about irresponsibly by the Trump camp to describe the election. Yet when you look at some of the specifics of the claim, all you find is Trump himself.

They want to say the media is covering him unfairly, but don’t seem to realize that most of the media’s coverage has just involved handing Trump the microphone and letting him speak. Make no mistake, there’s no quote-mining or cherry picking. All one has to do to “defame” Trump is quote him in his entirety.

Which just means his status in the polls reflects that most of us realize how fucking awful he is. The New York Times pisses me off routinely with some of their ignorant editorial choices regarding trans folk, but I think they had a point when they countered Trump’s lawsuit threat by pointing out he has no reputation to defame by virtue of his own words. And indeed, this was one of Clinton’s attack ads. She simply strung together what Trump himself has said, and Trump, in a stunning lack of awareness, said it was “nasty.”

No shit, dude.

Trump wants to engage in the incredibly dangerous act of suggesting the media is “rigging” the election. All the media has to do is plug in a microphone and hit record. Trump will take care of the rest. If that’s “rigging,” then the election is rigged by none other than Trump himself.

I’m sure this will be of small consolation to the first journalist to be murdered by one of his unhinged fans.


Signal boosting: Make America White Again

Most of us have noticed the parallels between 1930s Germany and the situation in the United States today. But if we are willing to call the German obsession with the so-called Aryan race a form of white supremacy, it is curious that the designation largely slips past mainstream media when discussing Trump’s campaign, including his supporters.

I suppose it’s easier for a foreign paper to publish it. Content Notice: Paris attacks, not quoted here, but present in the rest of the article. (emphasis added)

Gallup’s goal was to create a profile of Trump supporters, describe their social and economic circumstances and locate them on the map of America. It collected more than 87,000 responses over a year ending this past July.

The resulting analysis is a dry read, some of which confirms what we already knew: Trump supporters are more likely to be white, older males; less likely to have a higher education; more likely to be Christian and to say their faith is important to them.

But the thing that is new and important is how the data upends what many thought was the economic and social experience of Trump supporters — namely, the belief that they are the people most deeply affected by a failing economy and rising immigration rates.

According to the Gallup results, those who support Trump are slightly better off economically and employment-wise than people who don’t support him. While they are likely to live in areas that have suffered economically, they are also likely to be better off than their neighbours, and to have been spared the worst effects of the 2008 recession.

They are also significantly less likely to live in communities where there is a substantial immigrant population. In other words, Trump supporters are less likely than other Americans — and less likely even than other Republicans — to have regular personal experiences with immigrants.

Jonathan Rothwell, a senior economist at Gallup, says that Trump has been misleading his flock.

Intuitively, I’ve been skeptical of any connection with reality concerning the “economic anxieties” line that’s often dropped when discussing Trump’s campaign. I understood that this was the perception, but tried to root around for numbers to substantiate it. The Gallup poll discussed here seems to indicate that while everyone was hit by the Great Recession, Trump supporters took the least of it. If Trump supporters are perceiving economic threats, they are missing the broader picture of who is actually shouldering the burden of the recession.

As is often the case. I refuse to believe that Republican supporters are simply “stupid,” and there had to be a reason they were so prominent among majority demographics.

They’re not rich by any means, but they’re well-off enough that the Republican’s assault on social services won’t generally affect them. That’s why they can support the racist and xenophobic policies of the GOP, policies bundled with a vicious assault on those living in poverty: As a demographic, they ain’t in poverty. By process of elimination, that largely leaves one motivating factor–racial anxiety.

You’re shocked, I know.

Many months ago, I sat down with Matt Heimbach, the leader of the Traditionalist Worker Party. He seemed calm, articulate and determined to sound reasonable — although that was before a YouTube video popped up showing him violently shoving a black woman out of a Trump rally in Kentucky.

I asked Heimbach what Trump meant to his movement.

“I’m not throwing in and saying I want Donald Trump to even be the president necessarily. What I do want is for him to keep saying these things, because it offers us a kind of political cover to be able to say, ‘Well, Donald Trump says it, we’re not that radical.’ It’s moving the discussion toward the right, towards nationalism,” he told me.

“He’s made immigration a topic here in America. He’s making the very question of what’s an American a question.”

That seems true. Trump has given broader license to the kind of political conversation that not long ago was relegated to the alt-right.

In my first chat with Ed Hunter, I asked him whether the people who supported Trump were mostly white people who resented having lost the power they once had in America.

“Well, they should be,” he jumped in, adding that they are struggling for “self-preservation.”

Man, I wish I could self preserve this aggressively. I’d go to jail, for a long time at that. The justice system is brutal to trans folk, trans women especially. That’s why I’m a pacifist–not out of any ideological aversion to hurting someone trying to hurt me–but because I have a better chance fighting a deadly assault in the hospital than I do a murder charge in the courtroom. But I mean, sure, let’s classify roaming lynch mobs in the making as “self preservation.”

“You know what they want more than anything? They want to be left alone.

Again, that’s an odd idea of being “left alone.”

They don’t want to be fighting off hordes and hordes of people from foreign cultures that are utterly changing their country to the core.

“You go into any airport, any public building, any public school and you look at what it is now compared to what it was 30 years ago, the level of security needed, the constant surveillance, the constant police presence.

“That’s not the America we grew up in. We didn’t need that. What changed? Who did they bring in that makes everybody so afraid?”

Immigration to America, both legal and illegal, has increased over the last generation. But crime has not. In fact, violent crime, including rape, has decreased steadily, and in some cases dramatically.

So what is it, really, that “makes everybody so afraid?”

Trump knew from the start.

Again, those pesky statistics can’t survive the lens of fear. It doesn’t matter to Trump supporters that the actual fact of violent crime is decreasing, they perceive it to be increasing and that’s good enough.

Read the rest here.