An Aside on We Build the Wall and the Arrest of Wannabe Supervillain Steve Bannon

It didn’t take a nukular scientist to smell the grift in We Build the Wall, a private-group attempt to crowd-source funds to build the border wall Trump ran on in 2016 that Mexico was going to pay for because Trump was such a great negotiator. ‘I swear I won’t take a penny’ is the GoFundMe version of ‘Trust me’ (which, if you don’t know, if anyone ever says ‘Trust me’ what they’re really telling you is they aren’t to be trusted). The hundreds of thousands of donors to said obvious grift should have known what it was, just as Trump’s voters ought have known they were being pandered to when Trump ran for office, and that he would have similar luck delivering.

Both grifts, though, have one thing in common, which is that they are pitched to their donors’ and supporters’ racism and xenophobia, and that, for at least some of those donors and supporters, that was the deliverable: the opportunity to be pandered to.

And here’s the thing that comprises my aside, my small insight to add to the cavalcade of noise: there will always be people who pander to racists. The reason’s quite simple. There will always be people to pander to racists because people who can be convinced to believe they are special for the sheer fact of descending from a particular ethnic group — or something even vaguer, like ‘whiteness’ — are the easiest people in the world to separate from their money.

Because you’d have to be a real sucker to believe what racism’s selling. And so long as enough suckers do, we’ll keep seeing grifts like this to take advantage of them.