Sometimes in the noise of a campaign, we overlook the canary in the coal mine, or choose to ignore it if it doesn’t fit the immediate favored agenda. Be it a racial dog whistle or sexual harassment, we can choose to cut it out like a malignancy. But before sharpening the scalpel, first we have to admit it exists and identify it.
In November of 2015, candidate Donald Trump tweeted fake black crime stats he obtained from a neo-Nazi white supremacist site. I was on that tweet because he had “trolled” a Twitter conversation that included me. It was shocking, yet most granted him the benefit of the doubt that it was merely a very stupid mistake — that in his zeal to tweet, he simply skipped the vetting and research process.
Such “mistakes” became more commonplace and were glossed over, denied or “Trumpsplained” away as we witnessed the mainstreaming of something ugly we had thought we were well on our way to eradicating. Trump refused to denounce former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke to Jake Tapper on CNN, a move viewed by many as a wink and a nod to the "alt-right" white nationalists. He tweeted an image of rival Jeb Bush next to a swastika. He tweeted a photo of Hillary Clinton and the Star of David, provoking a rebuke from the Anti-Defamation League.