December 2, 2017. Kelley Kidd. An essential element of the Trump strategy eluded me until a few days ago. I had been wondering some about why Trump managed so often to stick his foot in his mouth. He appeared to be accidentally offending all sorts of folks, particularly nonwhite ones. I reasoned that the nature of a politician looking for votes in a democracy is that he will try to avoid pissing people off whenever he can. So he kept saying and doing offensive words and deeds because he accidentally miscalculated the effect that he was having. Then a single picture told me I had been wrong. Trump chose to give several Native Americans awards in a ceremony backgrounded by a photo of Andrew Jackson, who I knew from experience to be universally hated by any Native American for the simple reason that he had hated them, and he had shown his hatred by creating concentration camps for the wholesale destruction of many thousands of them. We call those camps reservations. Truth is their Native American inhabitants were forced to leave their lands and homes and march under guard to these places. Genocidal internment.
Trump used the award ceremony to declare that the Native Americans are the subject of the concern of Senator Elizabeth Warren, who he chose to refer to contemptuously by the name of a famous Native American female. More insult. You see the insults were as intended and planned as any other campaign strategy. The man means to court white voters by playing on the negative feelings some of his supporters have for the people he derided. Others will be courted when the negative reaction of people like me are put up for display by Trump supporters as evidence of our racist overreaction to imagined but unreal historical memories of suffering at the hands of whites.
Trump’s bigotry is neither accident nor the product of ignorance. It is as calculated as the racist campaigns of old fashioned Southern demagogues. He aims to please some by intentionally displeasing others.