We denounce the white nationalism that underpins Trump's candidacy

To the editor: “This is the hard truth of the past eight years: America is leaning at least as much toward white nationalism as it is toward democracy.”

Thank you, Erin Aubry Kaplan, for speaking the truth. Donald Trump’s alliances with white nationalists and David Dukes are what we saw in the first round. Should we expect anything better in a second Trump presidency? His defense on January 6 would suggest that his support for racists is stronger than ever. When Trump said “jobs for blacks” during the debate, I wanted someone to ask him, “What jobs?” Non-white people have never been anything more than mere pawns for Trump.

Lynne Culp, Van Nuys


To the editor: While I agree with much of what Kaplan writes, I think he is mistaken in calling this phenomenon white nationalism. It would be more correct to call it Christian nationalism or white Christian nationalism.

The Project 2025 manifesto follows the teachings and talking points of Christian nationalism. The proposal to change the Department of Health and Human Services into the “Department of Life” has its direct origins in the writings of Christian nationalism and the teachings of the culture war, whose roots lie in Jerry Falwell and the “moral majority.”

I believe this battle to save the soul of our nation is about more than just the race issue. It is about total control through racism, sexism, intolerance, paternalism and, very importantly, a theocracy that finds justification for these positions.

The final step for the proponents of the idea to fully implement their agenda is for Trump to return to the White House. Add to this the horrendous state of the Supreme Court and this would mean the end of our democratic republic. Democrats will have to mobilize a larger number of voters than in any previous election.

Brett Ridpath and Brian Head, Utah


To the editor: Kaplan writes an honest piece about the Democratic Party and why it cannot denounce white nationalism, for fear of tarnishing the heartland of the country. Timothy Egan wrote a fascinating book, “A Fever in the Heartland,” which follows the rise of the Ku Klux Klan in Indiana and other central US states during the 1920s.

The people who joined the Klan were members of the clergy, officials, politicians, judges and more. It was driven by fear. Everyone should read Egan's book and see the parallels to what is happening now, as history is repeating itself.

Muriel Harkins, San Luis Obispo


To the editor: There is no doubt that the most tense presidential campaign in American history constitutes an unprecedented national embarrassment. But how did this year's election come to represent such an existential threat to our democracy?

While numerous explanations have appeared in op-eds since the surreal Biden-Trump debate, Kaplan’s excellent op-ed surely offers the most prescient insight. He cites toxic white nationalism as the shield Trump wields to deter much-needed attention to his glaring unfitness for reelection. Democrats are damned if they do, and damned if they don’t directly attack that shield.

If Democrats dare to criticize Trump's white nationalist facade, they will have to confront democracy's true Achilles' heel: the vote of every poorly informed voter is worth the same as that of every well-informed voter. If only the odds weren't so stacked against Trump.

Devra Mindell, Santa Monica

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