By 71 Republic
On Monday night in Houston, President Trump labeled himself a “nationalist” to cheering support from a sold-out crowd ahead of midterm elections in Texas. Republican Senate incumbent Ted Cruz has been in a heated race with Congressman Beto O’Rourke. Trump landed in the Lonestar state in hopes of convincing voters to keep Congress Republican. With just two weeks until election day, polls between the two candidates currently suggest that neither side has a lockdown on the Senate seat.
You know, they have a word. It sort of became old fashioned. It’s called a nationalist. We’re not supposed to use that word. You know what I am? I am a nationalist! – Donald Trump
With 538 suggesting that Beto “has a chance in Texas,” Trump’s rally looked to bolster Ted Cruz’s numbers in the fight for the seat. As usual, Trump mocked what he sees as globalist ideas coming from his opponents. Touting himself a ‘nationalist’, the president seeks to distance himself from these political rivals. Trump’s ideology strikes a similar tone to the one he made on the campaign trail when he called himself a populist. If nothing else, it’s “America First” at a new level, direct from the Commander in Chief.
It’s not surprising to see the President use a word that the media and many on the left have labeled unspeakable. Trump enjoys teasing those that attack him and his use of the word ‘nationalist’ is an obvious bullying tactic aimed at the corporate media complex and his detractors in the Democrat party. It also signals to his staunchly conservative base who enjoy his calls for national superiority and American proto-homogenization.
Whether this will affect Cruz positively or negatively remains to be seen. As with most things the President does, it will likely only reflect on himself. Dogged by claims of racism throughout his first term in office, this moment will only further crystalize the vision that most on the left hold of Trump – as a white nationalist interested only in restoring and reestablishing the privilege of the white male patriarchy.
This is not the first time that Trump has given nationalist ideas. For years, Steve Bannon has been influencing his policies. Without a doubt, Bannon has identified himself as nationalist many times. However, Trump’s direct use of the term is still significant. As “nationalist” generally carries a negative reputation in 2018, this may influence the president’s overall approval. It also has the potential to either help or hurt Cruz’s chances at swaying currently undecided voters.
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