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View from the Hill

Supporters shout "white power" at Donald Trump rally in Alabama

In what may come as a surprise to few, Donald Trump supporters shouted "white power" from the audience at an Alabama rally on Aug. 21.

Trump is currently leading in the Republican primary election, having built up his platform on a firm anti-immigration foundation — a foundation which has attracted many southern white conservatives.

But John Davis, a political analyst, said the outburst wasn't uncommon for rallies of this sort.
“I really don’t think you can control who attends your rallies and who shouts offensive things at rallies,” Davis said.

It's not so much what was shouted at the rally, as whether or not this kind of racial behavior was typical for the Trump campaign, said Ferrel Guillory, professor at UNC School of Media and Journalism.

He said Trump's run through the South will be a trial run to see whether his tactics appeal to the southern Republicans.

Though Trump cannot control who appears at his rallies, the combination of his staunch platform as well as his tendency to use offensive, politically incorrect terminology unsurprisingly attracts the kind of supporters who would yell “white power” at a political rally, said Davis. 

Rally attendees may have just been taking out a leaf of Trump's book, since he often uses offensive terms such as "bimbo" or "loser."

While some may question whether this association with such negative speech will impact Trump's campaign, Davis thinks this is unlikely.

“He has no chance of winning in the first place,” said Davis. He compared Trump's effectiveness as president to that of a dog that caught a car after chasing it — namely, he wouldn't know what to do with it once he got it. 

Trump's success in the campaign so far has been due to not only his previous success in the business world, but also by presenting himself as something the American people think they want to see.

Davis said the American people are becoming more and more dissatisfied with government. The concentration on political correctness and being inoffensive to everyone is keeping politicians from achieving anything. 

“Politics today looks like petty children sitting in partisan corners refusing to compromise," he said. 

The frustration with ineffective governance has opened up a political hole that Trump is filling, one that says what people are thinking without worrying about whether the voters will take offense to it. How long Trump can continue riding on this platform, though, is questionable. 

Davis said Trump's race to the presidency is more of a reaction to what people are feeling, rather than an actual race towards the White House. 

“He is symptomatic of something much more profound; the greatest problems of today," he said.

While this could be beneficial for the American people, as it allows an outlet through which they can siphon their political anger, Trump is also becoming a catalyst for a lot of explosive ideas.

Shouts of “white power” at the rally — though surprising — were not totally unexpected, said Guillory.

Trump cannot continue to use degrading language towards his opponents and general members of the populace without expecting his supporters to use such derogatory terms also.

“The idea that I firmly believe in is that trump is a political fool and political fools embolden fools,” said Davis.

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