Author of ‘Dear White America’ says Donald Trump is a painkiller for white people’s anguish — but it won’t work.
Despite his centrist moderate policies and avoidance of overtly liberal or progressive ideology – Obama was an extremely polarizing figure.
For many white people he became a dangerous and frightening symbol.
In response the Republican Party became even more extreme in its thinly veiled embrace of racism and white identity politics.
For a certain strain of white conservatives his very personhood seemed to embody an America where white people would in the not too distant future no longer be the majority group.
In this context obvious forms of white supremacy and white rage are no longer perceived as shameful outliers in American public opinion and thought.
In response to Obama’s (twice) election such sentiments have been brought into the mainstream of post-civil rights America as ‘reasonable’ responses to white folks’ anxieties and fears about a country where a white person like them was not president.
The sum effect of these forces (and others) was the election of Donald Trump as president.
It was effectively a white-male privilege temper tantrum and a moment of backward-looking revanchist rage.