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To save his presidency, Donald Trump may tear America apart

To save his presidency, Donald Trump may tear America apart. Trump is not even pretending to hide the divisive racial rhetoric on which he’s anchoring his bid for a second term.

He’s running to keep the Confederate flag — seen by many Americans as a symbol of slavery — flying. He’s guarding statues that honor generals who took up arms against the United States. He has attacked a Black NASCAR driver and even slammed the Washington Redskins football team for finally looking for a less offensive name.
Without a strong economy to carry him through reelection, Trump is picking the most polarizing fight possible: He hopes enough Americans will agree that their White culture is drowning under a multi-ethnic tide for him to run an election campaign on racial grievance. Over the weekend, he turned one of the few nonpolitical moments in American life — Independence Day festivities — into a pageant of paranoia, claiming that Marxists, radicals and anarchists are roaming the country and far-left fascism is taking over newsrooms and America’s education system.
There was an outburst of apolitical violence at the weekend — including the heartbreaking deaths of six children in gun violence — but the America under siege that Trump describes is largely a fantasy. Most pollsters and many Republicans think that while Trump’s arguments strike a chord among millions of conservatives, the “Silent Majority” that he invokes is not sufficiently large for him to win reelection on their votes alone — and that he is alienating moderate Republicans.
The efficacy of Trump’s tactic will emerge only in November. But it is already clear that the President is running the most openly demagogic campaign in America’s modern history. And it will leave wounds that will take years to heal by whoever wakes up in the White House next January 21.

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