Known for his use of coded language, Donald Trump recently invoked the words of Robert Jeffress, a Southern Baptist pastor who declared a “Civil War-like fracture” would occur should Trump be impeached during an appearance on Fox and Friends Weekend.
In my work, I have previously discussed the use of dog-whistles in politics and how the modern-day use of coded-language became popularized decades ago with the implementation of the Southern Strategy. Since then, many elected officials have employed the use of such rhetoric; appealing to the racial biases of white working-class voters all over the country.
Donald Trump, who is no stranger to the use of dog-whistles, alluded to a Civil War early in March of 2019. His hateful rhetoric, constantly regurgitated by his followers, has undoubtedly resulted in sharp increases in hate crimes across the country.
“I have the support of the police, the support of the military, the support of the Bikers for Trump — I have the tough people, but they don’t play it tough — until they go to a certain point and then it would be very bad, very bad.” — Donald Trump, March 2019
When Trump announced that he had the support of tough people, you could almost feel the collective erections (if they weren’t so small) of incels and neo-Nazis. We also heard the excitement coming from blatantly racist conservative radio and TV personalities.
After Barack Obama was elected we saw the so-called Tea Party begin to use blatantly racist language. They had no qualms about saying it then, just as they have no issues with saying it now. As we witness a sitting president adopt this Nixonian speech, we can see just how far the normalization of hateful rhetoric has come.
Trump’s language is a dangerous pattern that has militias and hate groups fantasizing about a Civil War and calling on their members to arm themselves in…