In his latest attempts to try and derail the Donald Trump juggernaut that is trampling all over his own candidacy, Jeb Bush accuses Trump of using “dog whistle politics” to gain popularity with his call to ban all Muslims from entering the country, saying:
“Americans are scared. Republicans and Democrats alike are very scared with the situation we have now, but to make his proposals out there just to basically — these are dog whistle proposals to prey on people’s fears and consume the news. It’s not a serious campaign.”
Jeb Bush seems to be as clueless about language subtleties as his much-ridiculed older brother. ‘Dog whistle politics’ is when you use coded language for unsavory ideas so that your target audience understands what you mean but you can maintain plausible deniability that you were not appealing to their worst instincts. By now, most of us know the codes: ‘urban’ means black, ‘welfare cheaters’ means black, ‘moochers and looters’ means black, ‘terrorist’ means Muslim, ‘Judeo-Christian’ means Christian, ‘family values’ means anti-LGBT, anti-choice, anti-women, and so on.
In fact, ‘dog whistle politics’ is exactly what Bush and the Republicans have been using all these years to whip up their supporters into a foam-flecked frenzy. What Trump has done is dispense with the dog whistle as unnecessary. Why bother to use a dog whistle when you can now say openly what you mean and still retain your supporters? In fact, you can increase your support among those who are too dense to interpret the code and among those who like having their prejudices expressed openly.
NPR had a segment this morning about a focus group of Trump supporters and their reaction to Trump’s call to bar Muslims from entering. His support seems to have increased with this group. It seems that his supporters are unfazed even if you point them to strong criticisms of Trump about the negative effects of his comments.
Watch Susan DeLemus, a New Hampshire state representative giving a wild-eyed statement of why she supports Trump. Her intensity is quite scary.
As I said before, it looks like in this election cycle, everything is good news for Donald Trump.