Donald Trump is either racist or utterly deranged or both. Those are the options. That’s it.

Photo: Zach Gibson/Getty Images

This is getting tiresome.

A couple of days ago, Xeni Jardin, writing at Boing Boing, criticized national reporting for not calling Trump’s racist twitter tirade what it was: racism.

On Sunday morning, popular-vote-losing illegitimate president Donald Trump tweeted some awful racist tweets that you can read about everywhere, all the time, because he does white supremacist bigoted stuff constantly and will only continue to escalate it as his day of cosmic comeuppance approaches.

Trump’s totally a racist.

The tweets were explicitly racist.

Everyone knows this.

So why did the big respected major media news outlets everyone turns to for breaking news all decide NOT TO CALL IT RACIST in their reporting, and instead rely on embedded tweets, commenters, pundits, and op-ed contributors to use the r-word?

“Xenophobic,” “provocative,” and “inflammatory” aren’t synonyms for “racist.”

“Racially charged” isn’t a better phrase to use in this case than “racist.”

Just say racist.

Seriously, if you are surprised by all this you simply haven’t been paying attention.

David Graham, writing for The Atlantic, thinks Trump is going all-in on the bigotry apparently because he thinks this is a sound strategy.

Trump uses Twitter to try on new ideas and policy ideas in real time, seeing how he likes them, and then either discarding them or centering them. The current incident began, as my colleague Yoni Appelbaum reports, with Trump tweeting that the Democratic members should “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came. Then come back and show us how it is done.” (While Trump doesn’t make explicit whom he means, it’s likely he’s referring to the “squad” of progressive Democrats — all four of whom are American citizens, and three of whom were born in the United States.) By Sunday evening, he had decided he liked the reaction, welcoming a battle over race at the ballot box in 2020.

His doubling down on the whole thing would seem to indicate his willingness to go down this path. Of course, it didn’t work AT ALL in 2018 when he employed the same hateful strategy.

Simply because the president has concluded that open racial disparagement is a winning political tactic doesn’t mean that his calculus is correct, and Trump has made good and bad bets on political outcomes. During the 2018 midterms, the GOP suffered a political battering. Most people viewed this as a rebuke of Trump himself, but the president seems to believe the vote was simply a referendum on Congress.

If he really believes that then his advisers are morons.

You see, Republicans will never admit to racism or call out Trump for his obvious racism because, in fact, they are racists themselves. Amanda Marcotte, in Salon, makes this abundantly clear.

Telling someone to “go back” is, in the ranks of racist statements, right up there with calling a person the N-word or some other rank slur. Yet, there still appears to be resistance among Republicans to admitting that is racism, which leads many on the left to wonder: If this doesn’t count, then what could possibly count?

The answer, it’s becoming quite clear, is that there is no limit. There’s no line in the sand, no sentiment so ugly, where most Republicans will cave in and admit, OK, that’s racist.

A new poll from Ipsos confirms this. While more than two-thirds of Americans correctly identify the “go back” language as racist, only 45% of Republicans agree with that assessment. Instead, 57% of Republicans agreed that these women should “leave” the country where all four are citizens, and where three of the four were born. A startlingly large majority of Republicans — 70% — also said that the word “racist” is a bad-faith effort to discredit a political opponent’s views.

Of course, no one with half a brain will identify themselves as racists but that doesn’t mean they aren’t.

Efforts to educate about the irrationality of racist beliefs are dismissed as “political correctness.” Efforts to stigmatize the expression of racist views are characterized as assaults on “free speech.” Unfortunately, that also means that these kinds of public debates about race only make Trump supporters more fiercely defensive of their bigoted beliefs, which the Ipsos polll registered by showing that Republican support for Trump has intensified in the wake of his “go back” comments.

Jamelle Bouie, in The New York Times, explains this all perfectly: For Republicans only white-skinned people are Americans.

If Donald Trump has a theory of anything, it is a theory of American citizenship. It’s simple. If you are white, then regardless of origin, you have a legitimate claim to American citizenship and everything that comes with it. If you are not, then you don’t.

That’s textbook racism. Republicans who are silent or defend Trump are enablers of this racism. I’m not sure what you call someone who enables racism, but they deserve to be called out.

Photo: Zach Gibson/Getty Images
Photo: Zach Gibson/Getty Images