What is nationalism?
According to Merriam-Webster, it’s “loyalty and devotion to a nation”, and especially, “a sense of national consciousness exalting one nation above all others…”.
Patriotism, Merriam-Webster goes on, is similar, “but it does not necessarily imply an attitude of superiority”.
Examples of nationalism in a sentence:
- “The war was caused by nationalism and greed.”
- “Nazism’s almost epic nationalism appealed to downtrodden Germans still suffering the humiliation of being defeated in World War I.”
So, what is it that has me reading the dictionary?
@thehill: President Trump: “You know what I am, I’m a nationalist, okay? I’m a nationalist.”
We know President Donald Trump can be fast and loose with language. Did he mean that he’s a patriot without understanding the implications of the word nationalist? Or was he deliberately amping the extreme right portion of his base ahead of midterm elections in less than a fortnight?
My read, having been to A LOT of Trump rallies, is that the President frequently says inflammatory things for political reasons. Ditto, bending the truth. I doubt he’d deny it if you asked him.
On that theme, blink-and-you-missed-it-comms-director Anthony Scaramucci has attracted attention with these comments:
“He’s an intentional liar. It’s very different than just being a liar-liar,” he told Bloomberg.
“Yes, the President is speaking mistruths, yes, the president is lying, but he is doing it intentionally to incite certain people which would include left-leaning journalists and most of the left-leaning politicians.”
That said, words matter
@realDonaldTrump tweet: A very big part of the Anger we see today in our society is caused by the purposely false and inaccurate reporting of the Mainstream Media that I refer to as Fake News. It has gotten so bad and hateful that it is beyond description. Mainstream Media must clean up its act, FAST!
That tweet came AFTER a bunch of pipe bombs were sent to high-profile Democrats (including Barack Obama, Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton) and Trump critics around the country.
One landed at CNN having been addressed to former CIA director John Brennan (who’s an MSNBC rather than CNN contributor).
@acosta tweet: Photos of the bomb and package sent to CNN
CNN presenters were on-air when they had to evacuate their New York headquarters.
@DailyCaller: Alarm goes off in @CNN newsroom while on air. Time Warner Center evacuated – suspicious device reported
Former House speaker Newt Gingrich helpfully added that the media had “earned” the “enemy of the people” moniker. He also said that social media and the “tribalisation” of cable news had helped create the current toxic political environment.
There’s truth in that.
Those targeted were all Trump critics or had been on the receiving end of his criticism.
@ABC tweet: Hillary Clinton speaks after explosive device addressed to her home was intercepted. “It’s a time of deep divisions, and we have to do everything we can to bring our country together. We also have to elect candidates who will try to do the same.”
@JoeBiden: This country has to come together. This division, this hatred, this ugliness has to end.
Mr Trump vowed he would bring those responsible to justice.
@ABC: “This egregious conduct is abhorrent to everything we hold dear and sacred as Americans,” Pres. Trump says. “We’re extremely angry, upset, unhappy about what we witnessed this morning, and we will get to the bottom of it.”
Then CNN’s President Jeff Zucker said this:
@CNNPR: Statement from CNN Worldwide President Jeff Zucker:
And we were back to this:
@ABC tweet: Pres. Trump after newsroom bomb threat: Media should “stop the endless hostility.”
CNN characterised the event as an attempted mass assassination, so if nothing else, the perpetrator has achieved the desired aim of creating fear and deepening division, if that’s possible.
Check your mail with care, right? Ugh.
I must confess that having just road tripped my way through Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia talking midterms with real people (i.e. non-swamp dwellers) over the last week or so, I’m saddened but not surprised.
Several of our requests for interviews were met with ranty accusations of being “Fake News”. The very mention of CNN seems to inspire untold fury in a lot of people, and most Republicans we met were spitting chips at Democrats for undermining Mr Trump.
“Evil” Democrats, we were told, are responsible for dividing the nation because of their irrational negativity towards an elected president.
The level of vitriol from both sides is truly depressing.
@ABC tweet: VOICES OF THE CARAVAN: @ABC has been on the road with the migrant caravan heading north from Honduras to the U.S.-Mexico border, as thousands of individuals and families are seeking safety and a better life. Here are some of their stories. https://abcn.ws/2EI9ttq
Back to ‘nationalism’, the division is being fanned by a toxic immigration debate which, again, is being amped up by the President ahead of the midterms to mobilise voters who want tighter borders.
He’s claimed there could be terrorists in the group of people walking towards the US-Mexico border and that Democrats were funding their trip (see above Scaramucci quote).
@realDonaldTrump: To those in the Caravan, turnaround, we are not letting people into the United States illegally. Go back to your Country and if you want, apply for citizenship like millions of others are doing!
To be clear, the caravan of migrants from Central America will not reach the US border for several weeks (and the elections will be well over by then).
But the people in the group are a political symbol (and not in a good way), especially in border states like Texas and Arizona where Republicans are in trouble to varying degrees.
@realDonaldtrump: To those in the Caravan, turnaround, we are not letting people into the United States illegally. Go back to your Country and if you want, apply for citizenship like millions of others are doing!
Speaking of Texas, remember ‘Lyin’ Ted’?
Well Ted Cruz, who was knocked out of the Presidential race by Mr Trump in 2016, is now ‘Beautiful Ted’.
@NBCNews: WATCH: President Trump on Sen. Cruz: “To me he’s not ‘Lyin’ Ted’ anymore. He’s ‘Beautiful Ted.'”
Mr Trump shelved the old nickname because he needs Ted to retain his Senate seat at the midterms.
Mr Cruz was truly grateful for his old rival’s support.
@FoxNews: WATCH: President Trump on Sen. Cruz: “To me he’s not ‘Lyin’ Ted’ anymore. He’s ‘Beautiful Ted.'”
(For those of us who covered the 2016 campaign, this turnaround is pretty funny.)
Polls have shown Mr Cruz in a tight race with Democrat Beto O’Rourke who has been mobilising support via a grassroots campaign driven by small donors. The margin is wide enough to expect that Mr Cruz will still win, but not by as big a gap as one might expect in Texas.
We’ll know soon enough because we’re just a week and a half from election day!
In the meantime, the pumpkins are carved, in keeping with the season.
@ZDaniel tweet: Spotted in West Virginia this week. #roadTrip #MidtermElections2018 #USA
And the Halloween decorations are up, also with a distinctly political theme.
@khinman: via @KateBennett_DC, please enjoy a very DC Halloween display: “Mar-a-La-Ghost”, replete with RIPs for departed White House staffers.