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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 OmarBiden on refugee cap: 'We couldn't do two things at once' McCarthy: GOP not the party of 'nativist dog whistles' White House reverses course on refugee cap after Democratic eruption MORE (D-Minn.), a new member of the House Foreign Affairs committee, is speaking to Elliott Abrams, President TrumpDonald TrumpDC goes to the dogs — Major and Champ, that is Biden on refugee cap: 'We couldn't do two things at once' Taylor Greene defends 'America First' effort, pushes back on critics 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-CortezBiden on refugee cap: 'We couldn't do two things at once' A proposal to tackle congressional inside trading: Invest in the US Biden angers Democrats by keeping Trump-era refugee cap 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 Manigault NewmanJudge denies Omarosa Manigault Newman request to depose Trump, John Kelly in lawsuit Tanden seeks to defuse GOP tensions over tweets Juan Williams: The GOP's problem with women of color MORE.

Rep. Frederica WilsonFrederica Patricia WilsonCongressional Black Caucus members post selfie celebrating first WH visit in four years Rep. Frederica Wilson shares her famous hat collection with Netflix Florida Rep. Alcee Hastings dies at 84 MORE (D-Fla.)? Trump demeaned her as “wacky” and said she was “killing” the Democratic Party.

Former Utah Republican Congresswoman Mia LoveLudmya (Mia) LoveVoters elected a record number of Black women to Congress this year — none were Republican Democrats lead in diversity in new Congress despite GOP gains McAdams concedes to Owens in competitive Utah district 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 WatersMaxine Waters cuts off Jim Jordan, Fauci sparring at hearing: 'Shut your mouth' Big bank CEOS to testify before Congress in May Maxine Waters: 'Hard to believe' officer meant to use Taser on Daunte Wright 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 HarrisDC goes to the dogs — Major and Champ, that is Florida nurse arrested, accused of threatening to kill Harris Oddsmakers say Harris, not Biden, most likely to win 2024 nomination, election 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 BeutlerRepublicans who backed Trump impeachment see fundraising boost Lawmakers urge Capitol Police release IG report on riot House Republicans who backed Trump impeachment warn Democrats on Iowa election challenge 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 TlaibMcCarthy: GOP not the party of 'nativist dog whistles' Pro-Trump lawmakers form caucus promoting 'Anglo-Saxon political traditions' Omar: 'Shameful' Biden reneging on refugee promise 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.