Friday on MSNBC’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports,” while discussing Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s call to ban Muslims from entering the United States, host Andrea Mitchell said Trump’s appeal reminds her of one of the first campaign she covered as a young reporter, which was segregationist former Gov. George Wallace (D-AL).
Mitchell said, “I will tell you that the White House views the Trump Muslim ban as pure racism and a number of them—senior officials—saying this isn’t surprising, we have seen growing racism over these seven years. This is the way they are ascribing the criticisms of the president which may be a cop-out, may be a combination of factors, but they see it as part of the subtext of American politics, reaction against this president.”
Chuck Todd, a guest on Mitchell’s show and moderator of NBC’s “Meet the Press,” said, “Well, I would take it in a slightly different direction. I have had this conversation with the same administration folks, or similar administration folks, that made this argument. I pointed out it’s a certain group of voters who feel as if the government has let them down. Wall Street let them down. The media’s let them down. Their own situation, corporate America’s let them down. These folks, this is a working class person who doesn’t have as good of a job as their parents had and are wondering why. The culture’s changed dramatically around them in the last decade when you think about some of the social changes. And so this is—they feel like outsiders. They feel as if the political system has made them the outsiders and they used to be, in their minds, part of, you know, remember there’s part of Trump’s message, make America great again. The “again” is the code word.”
Mitchell said, “It used to be the majority white and it’s no longer ours.”
Todd continued, “It used to be a high school education got you the good job. And it used to be you could move up.”
Mitchell said, “But there is a subterranean text. My first campaign 1968 as a young reporter was George Wallace. I have seen this before.”
Todd concluded, “They’re susceptible to it. The point is, what’s the root? The root is economic distress, okay. That’s the root here. That’s all. That’s why both Republicans and Democrats should be very careful. Don’t condescend to these voters. These voters are economically hurting. Trump has given them somebody to lash out at. The Chinese are the ones taking your jobs, the immigrants, they’re taking your jobs. the Muslims are making you insecure. He’s using different tactics that resonate with this group of voters but at its root is both a cultural and economic frustration.”
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