Donald Trump won YUUUUUGE in Nevada last night … after saying he wanted to “punch [a protester] in the face.” (More)

“We’re seeing a backlash in the United States that we’ve never seen before”

Nevada’s caucus format didn’t slow the Trump train:

Donald Trump swept to a convincing victory in the Nevada presidential caucuses here Tuesday evening, the Associated Press projected, building a broad coalition that left his top two rivals trailing far behind and accelerating his march to the Republican nomination.

An angry electorate hungry for a political outsider in the White House catapulted Trump to his third straight win in the GOP primary race as the billionaire mogul used visceral rhetoric to tap into anxieties about the economy, terrorism and illegal immigration.

More on that “angry electorate hungry for a political outsider” below.

First the bare news … Trump won almost 46% of Nevada GOP caucus-goers:

In early returns, Mr. Trump held a lead of about 20 percentage points over his nearest challenger, Mr. Rubio, with Mr. Cruz trailing in third place. Turnout in Nevada was reported to be high compared with previous caucuses.

For Mr. Trump, the outcome in Nevada is another sign of his campaign’s durability and the breadth of his appeal: He has now handily won primary elections in New England and in the South, and a caucus fight in the far West. He won over independent voters in New Hampshire and evangelicals in South Carolina, and prevailed in Nevada, where Mormon voters and rural activists wield influence.
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“We’re seeing a backlash in the United States that we’ve never seen before,” said Neville Cramer, 65, a Trump supporter from Las Vegas.

More on that “backlash” below as well.

“I’d like to punch him in the face, I tell ya”

Trump’s win came a day after he said he wanted to punch a protester:

“Here’s a guy, throwing punches, nasty as hell, screaming at everything else, when we’re talking,” Trump told the crowd, although CNN reported the man did not appear to be fighting with security officers.

“The guards are very gentle with him. He’s walking out, like, big high-fives, smiling, laughing,” Trump continued, before saying to loud cheers: “I’d like to punch him in the face, I tell ya.”

Trump’s depiction of the protester “throwing punches, nasty as hell” was at odds with CNN’s reporting. It was also at odds with Trump’s claim, seconds later, that the man was “walking out, big high-fives, smiling, laughing.” But this was hardly the first time Trump has endorsed political violence, as that Washington Post report documents:

The incident was the latest in a string of controversial comments by Trump regarding protesters at his rallies. In November, after a Black Lives Matter protester was beaten and choked after disrupting a rally, Trump appeared to condone the rough treatment.

“Maybe he should have been roughed up, because it was absolutely disgusting what he was doing,” he said on Fox News at the time.

On Monday night, the politician connected his desire to punch the protester with both the good, “old days” in America and the country’s more aggressive foreign policy under a President Trump.

“Look, see, he’s smiling. See, he’s having a good time,” Trump said of the protester. “You know what I hate? There’s a guy, totally disruptive, throwing punches, we’re not allowed to punch back anymore. I love the old days. You know what they used to do to guys like that when they were in a place like this? They’d be carried out on a stretcher, folks.”

Trump proudly supports torture, and promised to ship more people to Guantanamo in his victory speech last night:

“Gitmo, we’re keeping that open,” Trump says. “We’re going to load it up with bad dudes.”

“I believe they do have an actual advantage”

A new Rasmussen poll shows that those who thought Jeb Bush’s departure would cause GOP voters to coalesce around a not-Trump were also wrong:

With Jeb Bush out, Donald Trump has widened his lead in the race for the Republican presidential nomination.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of Likely Republican Voters finds Trump with 36% support, giving him a 15-point lead over Senator Marco Rubio who earns 21% of the vote. Senator Ted Cruz is in third place with 17%.
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The billionaire businessman has a two-to-one lead over Rubio among male GOP primary voters. He leads the Florida senator among women Republicans as well but by a narrower seven-point margin.

Add in Trump’s unapologetic racism and it’s hardly surprising that his political base is angry white men:

White Americans feel more angry than black Americans, according to a November survey of 3,257 US adults by Esquire and NBC. White people were more likely than black people to say their current financial situation isn’t what they thought it would be when they were younger, and they were also more likely to put that down to difficult circumstances rather than “wrong choices”.

When asked whether they ever hear or read anything on the news that makes them angry, white respondents were more likely than black ones to say they felt angry at least twice a day. There were gender differences too – men were more likely than women to say that they felt angry about the treatment of white men.

Trump understands these white men – or at the very least, he understands that these white men want a politician who understands them. It was these voters that Trump was speaking to when he said last year:

And if you look at black and African American youth, to a point where they’ve never done more poorly. There’s no spirit.

This is more than just opportunism – Trump gets it. Of course, the history of American politicians is the history of many, many white men, but there’s something unique about Trump’s whiteness and his masculinity. He is distinctly unashamed of either trait, and is unwilling to even pay lip service to the notion that they were beneficial to his success. In a 1989 NBC interview, for example, he made his point:

A well-educated black has a tremendous advantage over a well-educated white in terms of the job market. I think sometimes a black may think they don’t have an advantage or this and that … I’ve said on one occasion, even about myself, if I were starting off today, I would love to be a well-educated black, because I believe they do have an actual advantage.

“The racial insecurities of his followers”

In a well-researched article for the Social Science Research Network, exiled Republican strategist Bruce Bartlett found a strong correlation between perceptions of white victimhood and support for Trump:

Trump’s very hard line against Muslims and illegal immigrants from Latin America appeals to those who are also concerned about the declining position of whites in American society, whites who perceive reverse discrimination, and those that are simply old-fashioned racists. While Trump has thus far avoided explicitly racial appeals, he has long made quasi-racist attacks on Obama in the form of questioning his American citizenship and embracing so-called birthers who simply deny his documented birth in the state of Hawaii. (Trump has also questioned the eligibility of Canadian-born Senator Ted Cruz of Texas.)
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Numerous reporters, historians and political scientists have noted the strong appeal Donald Trump has for white racists. He is often likened to Alabama Governor George Wallace. Yet it is doubtful that many of these people think of themselves as racists, but rather as victims of a system that does not care about their concerns – including the idea, however foolish, that the core racial problem in our society is discrimination against white people. It’s important that those wishing to understand Trump’s appeal understand the racial insecurities of his followers.

White male rage is at the core of the “backlash” that Trump backer Neville Cramer announced with such glee.

“Far-reaching consequences in the day-to-day life of people who don’t share his politics”

That white male rage, coupled with Trump’s open endorsement of political violence, has AmericaBlog’s Jon Green very worried:

Hand each of the GOP frontrunners a Republican Congress and free rein to tinker with the Supreme Court, and Trump would likely do the least (though still a large amount of) damage in the form of public policy. What makes him really dangerous, by contrast, is the way in which he would as president completely discard democratic norms, which could have far-reaching consequences in the day-to-day life of people who don’t share his politics.

For starters, Trump openly embraces the use of violence in support of his persona and his agenda. Last August, when Trump was just beginning to gain traction in the race, he called two Boston-area supporters who beat up a homeless man in his name “passionate.” It’s been downhill ever since. Just last night, Trump said of a protestor at a rally that “I’d like to punch him in the face.” Lines like that have become a common enough occurrence that they’re barely even news anymore, and that desensitization to calls for violence suggests that, under a President Trump, angry white men would be openly encouraged to attack people who belong to groups that Trump has otherized. The Department of Justice under President Trump would likely do as little as possible to ensure that they were prosecuted.

Green goes on to speculate about how a President Trump would silence media critics – his campaign already revokes press credentials as punishment for unfavorable op-eds – but I think Green was right to lead with “angry white men would be openly encouraged to attack people who belong to groups that Trump has otherized.”

“An angry electorate hungry for a political outsider”

That brings me back to the quasi-fact in the Washington Post lead above. In describing Nevada’s GOP caucus-goers, “An angry electorate hungry for a political outsider in the White House” may be accurate. And that’s certainly been a common Beltway narratives of this election cycle. Yet Hillary Clinton is still the odds-on favorite to win the Democratic nomination, and she is anything but “a political outsider.”

Because our political media is dominated by white men, white male attitudes are typically framed as the attitudes of “Americans.” Thus, the white male anger fueling Trump is framed as “an angry electorate.”

But Trump is very unpopular with most of the people who will vote in November. The election may well reveal that the media narrative of 2016 – “an angry electorate hungry for a political outsider” – was as flawed as their predictions that Trump would crash and burn once primary voting began. Our political media amplify the voices of white men, but actual voting lets everyone speak.

And odds are, that will be good news for America.

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Photo Credit: Alex Brandon (AP)

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Good day and good nuts