As always, I am sorry to disagree with the intelligent and thoughtful David Izraelevitz, but this time I am quite sure that his conclusion is wrong: The Rump is not a racist; he is far worse than that. The Rump is an unprincipled opportunist who is willing to appeal to any prejudice: racism, sexism, xenophobia, in order to advance his status.
The flip-flops are especially informative: The Rump recants under pressure so he can claim innocence of the charges, but flops back to reassure his prejudiced supporter that he is only saying what he must to get the politically correct off his back, while still being faithful to his “true” constituency. Of course, he has no principles either way, but seeks only to do whatever advances his self-interest, the country be damned.
In that sense only, he can convincingly claim that he is not a racist.
While it is disappointing to discover how many Americans do fall into those categories, the evidence is clear that there are many. And more who will follow that bandwagon for their own profit. On the other hand, it also seems to be clear that the Americans in those groups have not constituted a majority, but that partisan gerrymandering has led to our current misfortune.
While conspiracy theories are as old as America itself (George Washington wants to be king! Alexander Hamilton is conspiring with the British!), blood – and the truth – will out and the country has survived even worse divisions – recall the Civil War.
Hopefully, the cost will not be so great this time. E pluribus unum but divided we fall. And there are many enemies, and even jealous allies, who would be only too happy to see that happen.