Trump in 2016: Us Against Them. Trump in 2020: Us Against Us.
It took almost four years but here we are.
Trump used to rally his base with innuendo about shadowy others who threatened America: Mexicans are rapists and members of obscure, violent gangs. A Muslim travel ban would keep out terrorists. Orphaning the children of parents fleeing Central America by locking them away and concealing them from their families would ensure that only Americans would receive benefits from paying taxes.
Where we are now was a gradual and incremental shift but it’s easy enough to look back and see it coming. After all, Trump made his mark on the political scene by questioning Pres. Obama’s legitimacy and refusing to acknowledge that Obama was born in Hawaii, not Kenya.
We know the cascading inflection points ever since. Good people on both sides. Pardoning Sheriff Joe Arpaio before he could be sentenced for what the U.S. Dept. of Justice called “sadistic punishments” of Latino inmates. Trying to shut down the NFL because Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the national anthem in response to police killings of Black people. Calling Elizabeth Warren Pocahontas. Labeling a free press the enemy of the people. Saying the members of “The Squad,” four Democratic congresswomen, should go back to their countries although all but one were born in America. Calling Jews who vote for Democrats “disloyal.” Retweeting white supremacists. The list is endless and neither of us has that much time.
Now, as Poltico’s Michael Kruse, Renuka Rayasam, and Myah Ward note, Trump is no longer talking about us versus them. He’s ginning up the base by making it us against us. […]