By Farah Naqvi

Coded political messaging (dog whistling), direct bigotry, and incitement to hate, exist on a continuum.

Globally, Donald Trump is a good example of a politician freely using all types. In the run-up to the 2016 election, he had started with straight up bigotry, calling Mexicans “rapists, criminals and drug pedlars”. He then also used coded messaging about ‘American family values’. On the face of it, the phrase seems unobjectionable, but to the core white male voter, it dog whistled – signifying that immigrants do not have these ‘American family values,’ blacks do not have them and ‘gays’ definitely do not.

Trump’s ‘Make America Great Again’ (MAGA) slogan, also used by Reagan (1980), contained the dog whistle punch in the word ‘again’, signalling to his core constituency that he stood for a [white supremacist] past, free from the shackles of civil rights and race equality. But he also continued to deploy direct bigotry, by proposing a Muslim entry ban into the United States (a diluted form of which he implemented during his presidency). And, in 2020, during a campaign rally, he called SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus the “Chinese virus” and “kung flu.” It was honest, in-your-face racism. Trump consistently pitted an array of ‘others’ (Mexicans, all immigrants, blacks, Muslims, Chinese) against white America. So that it could be, well, great again.

Even so, he avoided direct verbal reference to his ‘white’ constituency until a 2022 campaign rally in Arizona. It was a stunner.

He claimed that life-saving medicines were being rationed based on race. “…Discriminating against and denigrating, just denigrating white people, to determine who lives and who dies. If you are white, you don’t get the vaccine, and if you are white, you don’t get therapeutics… In fact, in New York state, if you are white, you have to go to the back of the line to get medical help. Think of it, if you are white, you go to the back of the line!”

This story was originally published in Read the full story here.