Juan Williams: Racial shifts spark fury in Trump and his base

Juan Williams: Racial shifts spark fury in Trump and his base
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Here is one of those unforgettable moments in Congress.

Rep. Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarTrump to speak to GOP Jewish group amid anti-Semitism spat with Dems Dems seek to stifle primary challenges to incumbents Trump on 2020 Dems skipping AIPAC: 'I think they're anti-Jewish' MORE (D-Minn.), a new member of the House Foreign Affairs committee, is speaking to Elliott Abrams, President TrumpDonald John TrumpMueller report findings could be a 'good day' for Trump, Dem senator says Trump officials heading to China for trade talks next week Showdown looms over Mueller report MORE’s special envoy to Venezuela:

“Mr. Abrams, in 1991 you pleaded guilty to two counts of withholding information from Congress regarding the Iran-Contra affair…I fail to understand why members of this committee or the American people should find any testimony that you give today to be truthful.”

“If I could respond to that —” Abrams interjected.

“It wasn’t a question,” Omar shot back, cutting off the witness.

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The sight of a young Muslim congresswoman, wearing a hijab, holding a powerful 71-year-old white Republican accountable signals the dawn of a new day in American politics.

The heavily white, older male party of Trump is fighting to hold back what they see coming over the horizon.

Many people — including me — have been targets of President Trump’s Twitter tirades, but women of color provoke a special kind of Trump ire.

Trump last month dismissed Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezOvernight Energy: Interior reverses decision at heart of Zinke criminal probe | Dem divisions deepen over approach to climate change | GM to add 400 workers to build electric cars 'Washington Monthly' editor says diversity on Capitol Hill starts with interns Why is my party prioritizing an extreme environmental agenda? MORE (D-N.Y.) with a wave of the hand and a “who cares,” after she told CBS’s “60 Minutes” she has “no question” that Trump makes use of the “historic dog whistles of white supremacy.”

Trump has been even more dismissive of other women of color.

A “lowlife” and a “dog.” That’s Trump talking about his former White House aide, Omarosa Manigault NewmanOmarosa Onee Manigault NewmanBlack journalists' group places CNN on 'special monitoring list' Juan Williams: Racial shifts spark fury in Trump and his base Omarosa: There's a ‘big red line’ for Trump in Cohen's testimony MORE.

Rep. Frederica WilsonFrederica Patricia WilsonJuan Williams: Racial shifts spark fury in Trump and his base Dem behind impeachment push to boycott State of the Union Democrats seek to take on Trump at State of the Union MORE (D-Fla.)? Trump demeaned her as “wacky” and said she was “killing” the Democratic Party.

Former Utah Republican Congresswoman Mia LoveLudmya (Mia) LoveThe 31 Trump districts that will determine the next House majority Juan Williams: Racial shifts spark fury in Trump and his base Trump suggests Heller lost reelection bid because he was 'hostile' during 2016 presidential campaign MORE? Right after her failed reelection bid, Trump said she “gave me no love and she lost. Too bad. Sorry about that, Mia.”

House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine WatersMaxine Moore WatersMan who threatened to kill Obama, Maxine Waters faces up to 20 years in prison Dems concerned impeachment will make Trump 'appear like a victim,' says pollster Trump calls Biden 'low I.Q. individual' after verbal slip MORE (D-Calif.) has in the past been described by Trump as “an extraordinarily low IQ person”

Imagine the bitter attacks if Trump faces a strong woman of color, such as Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisKamala Harris to pitch using federal funds to give teachers pay raises Dem senator: 'Appropriate' for Barr, Mueller to testify publicly about Russia probe Here's what the Dem candidates for president said about the Mueller report MORE (D-Calif.), in the 2020 election.  

The Democrats’ success in the midterms set off these unsettling changes in American politics for Trump and his base.

The new House majority includes a record number of freshman Democratic congresswomen. 

In fact, 43 women of color are now serving in the House. Only one non-white congresswoman is a Republican — Rep. Jaime Herrera BeutlerJaime Lynn Herrera BeutlerThe 25 Republicans who defied Trump on emergency declaration 13 House Republicans who bucked Trump on emergency declaration House votes to overturn Trump's emergency declaration MORE, who was reelected in Washington state.

The record number includes 22 black women, 11 Latinas, six Asian-Pacific Islanders and the first two Native American women in Congress. It also brought to Congress the first two Muslim women: Omar and Rep. Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibRashida Tlaib celebrates Purim gift from progressive Jewish activist group House Dems unveil measure to reject anti-Israel boycotts Dems concerned impeachment will make Trump 'appear like a victim,' says pollster MORE (D-Mich.).

Last month, Tlaib told an excited crowd of liberal activists: “We’re gonna impeach the motherf****r” – referring to Trump.

In that moment, she joined Ocasio-Cortez as a target of right-wing hate.

The New York Times reported last week that Republicans have “amped up” their efforts to demonize these young Democratic women.

The Times’ Sheryl Gay Stolberg wrote that Omar is being targeted for anti-Semitic language she used to criticize Israel’s treatment of Palestinians. Ocasio-Cortez is under attack as an extreme leftist for her focus on income inequality in her Green New Deal proposals.

“Democrats,” Stolberg reported, “see an insidious effort to use women and minorities, especially women of color, as the new symbols of the radical ‘other.’ And they are calling out Republicans as hypocrites, noting that Mr. Trump and other Republicans trafficked in anti-Semitic tropes and racist dog whistles long before anyone noticed Ms. Omar’s Twitter feed.”

The most frequent charge against the newcomers from Trump’s conservative talk radio fans is that these women of color are dividing the country with “identity politics.” 

That drew a response from Stacey Abrams, the first black woman nominated by a major party to run for governor. She lost her 2018 race in Georgia.

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Writing in Foreign Affairs, Abrams pleaded guilty to having “intentionally and vigorously highlighted communities of color and other marginalized groups, not to the exclusion of others but as a recognition of their specific policy needs.”

She argued that an earlier essay, by conservative political scientist Francis Fukuyama, did not consider that “marginalized groups [are] finally overcoming centuries-long efforts,” to deny them access to the ballot box and keep them out of white, male-dominated politics.

Abrams concluded that new “noisy voices represent the strongest tool to manage the growing pains of multicultural coexistence. By embracing identity and its prickly, uncomfortable contours, Americans will become more likely to grow as one.”

Abrams did not mention Trump. But he regularly uses white identity politics to stir up his base.

It can be seen in his attack on Mexicans as rapists and his denigration of “shithole countries.” And who can forget Trump’s false and repeated insinuation that President Obama was not born in the United States? That racist conspiracy theory was the springboard for Trump’s presidential run. 

What we see in Trump’s fear of women of color is resistance to the rapidly rising sun of racial change in our politics.

Juan Williams is an author, and a political analyst for Fox News Channel.