Scoot: Trump is a “nationalist” – is that racism or patriotism?

October 24, 2018 - 1:31 pm

President Trump said this at a recent rally in Texas for “Lyin’” now “Beautiful” Ted Cruz:

“A globalist is a person that wants the globe to do well, frankly, not caring about our country so much. And you know what? We can’t have that. You know, they have a word - it sort of became old-fashioned - it’s called ‘nationalist.’ And I say, really, we’re not supposed to use that word. You know what I am. I’m a nationalist, okay, I’m a nationalist. Nationalist. Use that word. You use that word.”

Taking the purposeful political step of declaring himself a “nationalist,” President Trump stirred controversy and seemed to lend support to those who argue the President feeds racial divide in America.

Before we go any further - let’s define the word “nationalist.”

According to the Oxford Dictionaries:


1) a person who strongly identifies with their own nation and vigorously supports its interests of other nations. 2) A person who advocates or supports the political independence of a particular nation or people.

Collins English Dictionary:


an individual connected with the desire of a group of people within a country for political independence.

Cambridge English Dictionary:


1) supporting political independence for a group within a nation. 2) wanting your country to be politically independent. 3) strongly believing your country is better than others.

It is never convenient to a debate over the meaning of a word when a collection of definitions invokes ambiguity. And such is the case with the word “nationalist.”

One could look at the definitions of “nationalist” and conclude that the word refers to a very patriotic individual. But the word “nationalist” could just as easily be used to describe an American with allegiance to a certain group within the United States.

The political rhetoric is ramping up on both sides of the political aisle, so it is fair to assume that President Trump intended to invoke some political meaning by declaring hes is a “nationalist” and by his encouraging everyone to “use that word.”

The meaning and usage of words often change with the times, and the word “nationalist” has been associated with “white nationalism” in recent years. The White House and Trump supporters are justified in using a literal translation of “nationalist” to describe the President as one who loves his country, but it is impossible to not consider the definitions of “nationalist” that refer to those who side with a specific group within a country.

While both sides have their points, President Trump’s declaration in 2018 that he is a “nationalist” unmistakably appears as red meat being fed to the President’s base as an incentive to rile up Republicans into voting in the midterm election. The question is how many people who define themselves as Republicans will relate to a gesture to white nationalists within the party?

It would be extremely naïve to believe that anything said or done by any politicians this close to the midterm election is not a political strategy.

Democrats want to energize their voters, and Republicans are trying to energize their voters. Elections are decided by the group that turns out to vote in the largest numbers.

It’s sad to think that both parties have to resort to political games in order to inspire Americans to vote, but that is the fault of the “people” and not the politicians.

Everything from the declaration of being a “nationalist” to who is to blame for the caravan coming through Mexico toward America to the suspicious packages delivered to CNN, the Obamas, the Clintons and a Democratic congresswoman should all be seen as political stunts aimed at encouraging voting.

When President Trump defined himself as a “nationalist,” was he suggesting racism or patriotism?

With the common use of the word “nationalist” and its association to “white nationalists,” I think it’s reasonable to assume that President Trump was purposely appealing to the lowest common denominator of his base, which is not the entire Republican Party.

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