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[dc]I[/dc]’ve said all along the president many times says what people are thinking,” Congressman Jim Renacci told Fox & Friends host Brian Kilmead.

Trump Still Rides High

The Ohio Republican, who's running for the Senate, was referring to President Trump’s reported description of El Salvador, Haiti and African nations as “shithole countries.”

No doubt, the president’s racist remark is not just what a big chunk of his base is thinking. Emboldened by the bigot-in-chief, they're saying it.

“Trump’s supporters rushed to his defense in an effort to distract from the simple reality at the heart of this latest White House scandal: The president of the United States is a racist man pursuing a racist immigration agenda,” Nick Wing wrote in The Huffington Post.

“Right-wing extremists and white supremacists welcomed Trump’s comment,” Jenna Johnson, Vanessa Williams and Marc Fisher wrote in The Washington Post. “Former Ku Klux Klan leader and Louisiana legislator David Duke said on Twitter that the president ‘restores a lot of love in us by saying blunt but truthful things that no other President in our lifetime would dare say!’”

They quoted Fox News reactionary Jesse Watters: “… this is how the forgotten men and women in America talk at the bar. . . . Is it graceful? No. . . . Is it a little offensive? Of course it is. But you know what? This doesn’t move the needle at all. This is who Trump is.”

Trump is still the Great White Hope among many folks in rural, overwhelmingly white, conservative and Bible Belt parts of the country, including western Kentucky, where I've lived all 68 of my years.

Trump is still the Great White Hope among many folks in rural, overwhelmingly white, conservative and Bible Belt parts of the country, including western Kentucky, where I've lived all 68 of my years. I'm about as deep in Trump country as you can get.

The president collected 62.5 percent of the vote in the nearly 90 percent white Bluegrass State, but 76.4 percent in the county where I was born, reared and still live with my wife of going on 40 years. She grew up in an adjacent county that is even whiter, more rural and more Bible Belt. Trump polled 80.5 percent of the ballots there.

“Trump’s “talk about 'shithole countries' is a perfect distillation of Trumpism," Zach Beauchamp wrote in Vox.

Trump is the distillation of George Wallace, Alabama's segregationist governor who ran for president in 1968 pandering full-bore to racism. He won his native Alabama and a quartet of ex-Confederate states. (Wallace also carried five Kentucky counties, including two that adjoin mine. He finished second in my county and my wife's county.)

Anyway, the other day, I heard about a poll that had Trump’s approval at 56 percent in Kentucky. I offered to bet a Democratic state legislator that the president would carry Kentucky again in a blowout. She wouldn’t take my wager.

I'm not saying everybody who voted for Trump is a bigot. Neither would Hillary Clinton, for whom my wife and I voted. For example, more than a few union members fell for his baloney about saving jobs and some bitterly regret voting for him.

But Trump pandered non-stop to prejudice from day one of his campaign. He shows no signs of stopping. Extensive research has shown that racial resentment "is at the core of his political success," German Lopez also wrote in Vox.

He added, “If Democrats want to defeat him, they will need to overcome that racial resentment."

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Republicans have appealed to racial resentment—sometimes overtly, sometimes subtly—since the first days of the Southern Strategy of the 1960s and 70s, but Trump turned the dog-whistle into a bullhorn.

He meant for whites to read "Make America Great Again" as "Make America White Again." A lot of whites cast ballots for Trump, figuring he'd screw over immigrants and minorities, but not them.

We in organized labor repeatedly warned that Trump was a dangerous demagogue and a phony. We said he was a union-busting Wall Street Republican who would cater to rich people like himself. We said he would shaft the whole working class.

We hate to say, "we told you so."

All along, Trump's program has been a mix of old-time Republican social Darwinist, Calvin Coolidge-Ronald Reagan trickle-down economics, George Wallace-style race-baiting and Know-Nothing immigrant bashing.

“Today marks a great victory for the Koch brothers and other billionaire Republican campaign contributors who will see huge tax breaks for themselves while driving up the deficit by almost $1.5 trillion,” Sen. Bernie Sanders (my guy in the Kentucky primary) said in a video posted on Twitter right after congressional Republicans passed their Robin-Hood-in-Reverse tax bill.

"Sanders stressed the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center’s findings that 83 percent of the benefits of the tax bill will enrich the top one percent of Americans, and that in eight years taxes will once again increase for 93 percent of middle-income households while corporate tax cuts are permanent," Nicole Goodkind wrote in Newsweek. "Nearly 13 million Americans are expected to lose their health insurance under the tax bill due to the loss of the individual mandate, Sanders warned."

Trump is still making a bundle off clothes and other products made in cheap labor countries like China. American jobs are still flowing overseas, faster than before, according to Quartz's Tim Fernholz.

“All told, in the year since Trump was elected, more than 93,000 jobs have been certified by the Department of Labor as lost to outsourcing or trade competition, slightly higher than the average of about 87,000 in the preceding five years,” he wrote last month.

No matter, Trump is still riding high in Kentucky.

Never mind that the president remains a virulent racist and nativist who operates under "the fundamental premise ... that you have to be a European white, already wealthy person to contribute to the United States," according to conservative Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin.

In a guest appearance on MSNBC's All in With Chris Hayes, she added, "That’s wrong—that's wrong morally; that's wrong factually; it's wrong historically, and yet that is the view that they hold forth, and they do want to make this country more white.

"Unfortunately, the ideal that they talk not all men were created equal, but some mythical, white Christian America. That's the America that they want to see, and they see every single person who does not meet that ... description as somehow diluting and somehow worsening this country.

"It is the most heinous, the most offensive philosophy I have every heard in my lifetime coming from the Oval Office."

It's the same odious philosophy Trump preached on the campaign trail and sadly it evidently still sells in many parts of the Red State Bluegrass State beyond "liberal" Louisville and Lexington, the seats of the only two of Kentucky’s 120 counties that Clinton carried.

Berry Craig

Berry Craig