In the most recent Letters from an American, Heather Cox Richardson reports on how the Trump campaign seems baffled by Kamala Harris as VP pick.
As far as I can tell, Trump is leading his sickophants into a political nightmare. Trump’s “stoking of racial tensions” is backfiring and costing them votes from white women!
Today, as the Democratic Joe Biden-Kamala Harris team began to campaign together to win the 2020 election, the contours of the upcoming political contest became clearer.
The Trump campaign seemed curiously befuddled by Biden’s choice of Harris as a running mate, although surely its leaders must have known she was among the top choices. Their messaging about her was confused. On the one hand, they claimed that she was soft on crime and a radical who wanted to defund the police; on the other hand, they said she was too tough as a prosecutor. The Trump campaign settled on the idea that Harris is a dangerous radical, a label that will be hard to pin on former prosecutor Harris, especially as Democratic progressives complain that she is too moderate.
For his part, Trump echoed the idea that Harris is radical, but almost immediately fell back into racist and sexist attacks. He immediately called her “nasty,” a word denigrating Black women that has its roots all the way back in colonial Virginia, as well as “meanest” and “most horrible.”
Addressing his recent overturning of the Obama-era rule intending to end racial segregation in housing, he tweeted: “The ‘suburban housewife’ will be voting for me. They want safety & are thrilled that I ended the long running program where low income housing would invade their neighborhood. Biden would reinstall it, in a bigger form, with Corey [sic] Booker in charge!” New Jersey Senator Cory Booker is Black; his inclusion in this tweet seems designed to suggest that white suburban women should fear that Black Americans are going to “invade their neighborhood.”
In fact, Trump’s stoking of racial tensions has cost him support from white women that he badly needs. White women without a college education backed him by 27 points in 2016; right now that support has dropped to 6 points. Suburban women deserted him in 2018, and it seems unlikely his racist and sexist attacks on Harris will help bring those voters back. He appears to be intending to run for reelection by firing up his base to make sure they vote, while suppressing the votes of those who want to replace him.