When Trump leaped to the head of the Republican field, he delivered the appearance of legitimacy to a moral vision once confined to the fevered fringe, elevating fantasies from the message boards and campgrounds to the center stage of American life. In doing so, he pulled America into a current that is coursing through other Western democracies—Britain, France, Spain, Greece, Scandinavia—where xenophobic, nationalist parties have emerged since the 2008 economic crisis to besiege middle-ground politicians. In country after country, voters beset by inequality and scarcity have reached past the sober promises of the center-left and the center-right to the spectre of a transcendent solution, no matter how cruel. “The more complicated the problem, the simpler the demands become,” Samuel Popkin, a political scientist at the University of California in San Diego, told me. “When people get frustrated and irritated, they want to cut the Gordian knot.”
Trump has succeeded in unleashing an old gene in American politics—the crude tribalism that Richard Hofstadter named “the paranoid style”—and, over the summer, it replicated like a runaway mutation. Whenever Americans have confronted the reshuffling of status and influence—the Great Migration, the end of Jim Crow, the end of a white majority—we succumb to the anti-democratic politics of absolutism, of a “conflict between absolute good and absolute evil,” in which, Hofstadter wrote, “the quality needed is not a willingness to compromise but the will to fight things out to a finish. Nothing but complete victory will do.” Trump was born to the part. “I’ll do nearly anything within legal bounds to win,” he wrote, in “The Art of the Deal.” “Sometimes, part of making a deal is denigrating your competition.” Trump, who long ago mastered the behavioral nudges that could herd the public into his casinos and onto his golf courses, looked so playful when he gave out Lindsey Graham’s cell-phone number that it was easy to miss just how malicious a gesture it truly was. It expressed the knowledge that, with a single utterance, he could subject an enemy to that most savage weapon of all: us.
Trump’s candidacy has already left a durable mark, expanding the discourse of hate such that, in the midst of his feuds and provocations, we barely even registered that Senator Ted Cruz had called the sitting President “the world’s leading financier of radical Islamic terrorism,” or that Senator Marco Rubio had redoubled his opposition to abortion in cases of rape, incest, or a mortal threat to the mother. Trump has bequeathed a concoction of celebrity, wealth, and alienation that is more potent than any we’ve seen before. If, as the Republican establishment hopes, the stargazers eventually defect, Trump will be left with the hardest core—the portion of the electorate that is drifting deeper into unreality, with no reconciliation in sight.
Indeed, in the Age of Obama, racism and conservatism are one and the same. And the Republican Party is addicted. Like all addicts, it cannot stop using their cocktail of symbolic racism and nativism — even when such behavior imperils their long-term political health and safety.
The slur “anchor baby” is potent because it summons images of people coming to a country where they do not belong, imposing themselves on it by having children who can make some unfair claim on resources, and by doing so to deprive the “original” and “rightful” residents of the land, jobs and wealth that is their birthright.
In America, a country founded as a Herrenvolk racial state, where the color line determined one’s freedom, the language of “anchor baby” cannot possibly be separated from the nightmare of white supremacy, of a democracy where human rights and citizenship were based on a person’s melanin count and parentage.
Like most racial slurs, “anchor baby” masks and obscures more than it reveals. In reality, the people who would eventually become the first “Americans,” those white Europeans who, beginning in the 17th century, migrated to the colonies are the parents of this country’s first and true “anchor babies.”
Forget Amazon -- try the kitchen - a thoughtful piece by René Redzepi of Noma
I started cooking in a time when it was common to see my fellow cooks get slapped across the face for making simple mistakes, to see plates fly across a room, crashing into someone who was doing his job too slowly. It wasn’t uncommon for me to be called a worthless cunt or worse. It wasn’t uncommon to reach for a pan only to find that someone had stuck the handle in the fire and then put it back on my station just to mess with me.
I watched chefs—mine and others—use bullying and humiliation to wring results out of their cooks. I would think to myself: Why is that necessary? I’ll never be like that.
But then I became a chef. I had my own restaurant, with my own money invested, with the weight of all the expectation in the world. And within a few months I started to feel something rumbling inside of me. I could feel it bubbling, bubbling, bubbling. And then one day the lid came flying off. The smallest transgressions sent me into an absolute rage: Why the hell have you not picked the thyme correctly? Why have you overcooked the fish? What is wrong with you? Suddenly I was going crazy about someone’s mise en place or some small thing they said wrong.