Thomas Mills: Trump is perfect messenger for Bishop in 9th District
By Thomas Mills
Donald Trump is coming to North Carolina again.
This time, he’s coming to rally the troops for state Sen. Dan Bishop in the special election in the 9th Congressional District. Last time, he drew national attention when the crowd started chanting “send her back” after he mentioned Rep. Ihlan Omar of Minnesota. This time, he’ll try to wake up his base to the polls in an election where early voting has already begun.
Bishop and Trump are good fits for each other. Trump’s rhetoric has brought white nationalists and racists out of the shadows. Bishop has played on bigotry by introducing the politically motivated HB2, otherwise known as the bathroom bill, and financially supporting Gab, the white supremacist version of twitter.
A poll out last week shows why Trump is coming to the 9th District and why his divisive rhetoric might help Bishop. The president is underwater with almost every demographic except noncollege-educated white voters and the 9th District is full of them.
Anson, Richmond, Scotland, Bladen, and Robeson counties are among the poorest in the state and those hit hardest by trade agreements. They watched the textile industry leave the area for other countries and nothing came to replace it. Instead, they were left with an aging and largely obsolete infrastructure. The population is aging and dying. Younger educated residents leave and never come back. They’re being replaced by Hispanic immigrants who’ve come to work in low-skilled, mostly agricultural jobs.
Resentment and frustration run high and noncollege white voters live vicariously through Trump. He says out loud what they’ve been thinking for years. They resent the new immigrants who are changing the demographics and the culture. The “send her back” chants could apply to a whole population, and they’ve been wanting to scream it for years. Bishop plays off these resentments, fearmongering over men using women’s restrooms and accusing his opponent, Dan McCready, of supporting socialism and sanctuary cities.
Like most Republicans, Bishop has dropped most of his traditional values and adopted populism that includes tariffs, trillion-dollar deficits and the federal government overreach. His message is one of fear designed to manipulate uneducated voters with the boogie men of violent immigrants stealing their way of life.
Bishop’s not offering voters a message of hope or proposing any solutions to the problems that face the district. He’s just trying to feed off the deep-seeded resentment that’s already there. Trump’s the perfect messenger.
Mills is founder and publisher of PoliticsNC.com.
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