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It’s official. Donald Trump is the Republican nominee for president.
Reactions abounded late Thursday after the (racist, xenophobic, Islamophobic, and misogynistic) real estate mogul accepted the party’s nomination in a rambling, hour-and-fifteen-minute long speech.
Some noted the parallels to Richard Nixon’s infamous 1968 “law and order” speech; others pointed out the fascist undertones of Trump’s declaration that “I alone can fix this.” Few were thrilled that former KKK grand wizard David Duke praised the speech on Twitter.
As The Nation‘s John Nichols said Thursday night, the speech ultimately signaled Trump’s “determination to exploit fears of violence as part of crusade to seize the White House from the Democrats.”
Trevor Timm made similar comparisons. In a column for the Guardian on Friday, he wrote:
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But the alarm bells did not stop with Nixon comparisons. On Twitter, prominent activist and Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza said, “I don’t know what I’m watching right now but I imagine this is the kind of speech Hitler would make.”
“When Trump says law and order what he means is shut down #BlackLivesMatter,” she tweeted. “He meant law and order for whites, martial law for everyone else.”
At The Root, Danielle C. Belton summed up:
Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors said in a statement issued Thursday, “The terrorist on our televisions tonight was Donald Trump. He pledged to fight for Americans, while threatening the vast majority of this country with imprisonment, deportation and a culture of abject fear. His doublespeak belies his true nature: a charlatan who will embolden racists and destroy communities of color. He is a disgrace. White people of conscience must forcefully reject this hatred immediately.”
Yet while the speech seemed “self-evidently absurd to liberal listeners,” writes Richard Eskow of Campaign for America’s Future, “it’s likely to resonate very well among the white, largely male demographic his campaign has targeted.”
Eskow noted the rhetorical trajectory of the speech, which “suddenly pivoted from real-world complaints” like poverty, unemployment, and crumbling infrastructure to “something much more abstract—and nationalistic,” something that would appeal to his “decimated” base that is “desperate and frightened and looking for answers.” Eskow wrote:
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That’s what makes Trump’s core message—putting “America First”—so dangerous, Eskow says.
“At the mention of this phrase,” Eskow writes, “born of anti-Semitism and unwillingness to fight Hitler’s Germany, the crowd erupted in wild cheers: USA! USA!”
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