Donald Trump’s great political discovery is that, if you want to win with Republican voters, it’s better to be a screeching train whistle rather than a dog whistle. Trump seems to have learned this lesson by paying attention to the hard-right media, particularly talk radio stars like Rush Limbaugh and Michael Savage. But now in a feedback effect, Trump’s blunt bigotry is emboldening the right-wing media to go even further, thus giving us a Breitbart article titled: “BILL KRISTOL, REPUBLICAN SPOILER, RENEGADE JEW.”
Written by notorious provocateur David Horowitz, the article uneasily combines a deployment of anti-Semitic tropes (a shadowy, wealthy, elite group led by the Jewish Kristol is trying to thwart the will of Republican masses) with standard neo-conservative dreck claiming the GOP is the only party for those who care about Israel. As Michelle Goldberg shrewdly explained in Slate, “What Breitbart is doing here is playing a double game, covering anti-Semitism with a tacky sheen of philo-Semitism. To define someone as a ‘Renegade Jew’ in a column about scheming elites written for an audience full of white nationalists is to signal to the sewers.” We can expect more such signals in the presidential race. And if Trump loses, his white nationalist fans will have a readymade myth about how they were stabbed in the back by Jews.