When David Duke endorsed Donald Trump, Trump refused to disavow the endorsement. When the Trump administration put out a Holocaust Remembrance Day statement, it conspicuously omitted any mention of jews. I could go on, but there's no point. Trump's statement on the Charlottesville white supremacist violence is perfectly in character. He can't condemn, or even really acknowledge the existence of white supremacism. Some data are in order here.
In the 2016 American National Election Studies survey, respondents were asked to put themselves on a 10-point scale for how sure they were about whether or not Obama is a muslim. In my opinion, they should have used a 7-point scale, but nobody cares what I think. (If you are reading this, you may have heard me rant on this topic anyway). Anyway, 5.3% said they were "extremely sure" Obama was a muslim, 15.5% said they were "very sure," 10.7% were "moderately sure," and 5.0% "a little sure." Another 3.9% said, "not sure at all," but leaned towards the notion that Obama was muslim. Add that up and you've got 40.4%.
That's... roughly Trump's approval rating right now. And that's not entirely a coincidence. These aren't exactly the same people. Some people who believed, incorrectly, that Obama was muslim voted for Clinton, and some who knew Obama to be christian voted for Trump, but the fact that the numbers are so close should at least grab your attention. I'm just doing a Sunday morning blog post, but here's the dirty, little secret. If you have taken a class from me, you have heard me beat the following point into your head: party ID predicts everything. Vote choice, entertainment preferences, breakfast cereal... You name it.
But, if you have the statistical background, you can play around with the 2016 National Election Studies data here, even if you aren't on an academic terminal and can't download the data set from ICPSR. Belief about Obama's religion has an interesting statistical relationship with a lot of stuff in 2016. Short version: Trump supporters really were deplorable, and Clinton probably low-balled the number. I think we're gonna need a bigger basket.
This deserves a full post later, but I'm just doing a quick Sunday post in response to Charlottesville.
My main point, though, is that there is a reason that Trump isn't doing a more full-throated condemnation of the violence. A lot of his supporters are, while not violent protesters, the kind of people who are far more likely to say that Obama is muslim, and then vote for the guy who proposes that we ban all muslims from entering the country, while encouraging that protesters at his rallies be violently ejected, promising to pay the legal bills of anyone arrested for carrying out his wishes.
Anyone claiming to be shocked at Trump's response is either a) stupid, b) not paying attention, or c) being disingenuous.