Billionaire reality TV star and presidential candidate Donald Trump dominated the GOP's Nevada caucuses on Tuesday, capturing nearly 46 percent of the vote and winning all of the state's Republican delegates.
When I found out Trump -- a proud xenophobe and boorish demagogue who's the candidate of choice for America's white supremacists -- had picked up his third straight win (on the heels of New Hampshire and South Carolina), I got on Twitter to try and articulate how much fear I was feeling, for myself and for my country.
Then the backlash began. Hundreds of people have tweeted at me in the past 12 hours with messages that echo various notes Trump has struck on the campaign trail -- his contempt for black people and their concerns, his casual misogyny, his anything-but-compassionate language regarding mental illness and his genuinely frightening readiness to suggest that maybe it's OK to meet words with physical violence.
Do I know that all of these people actually support Donald Trump? Of course not. There's no shortage of people on social media who'll take any opportunity to attack a politically outspoken black woman, or anyone else, really. Maybe none of the people who directed insults and hate speech my way actually plan to vote for Trump. Maybe none of them are even registered to vote.
At the same time, it's pointless to pretend that racism and nativism and hatred of women aren't real things. They exist, and they animate more Americans than a lot of us would like to think about.
I'll let some of the comments speak for themselves.
Warning: Many of the following tweets contain language that is racist, sexist, ableist or just generally awful.
Reclaiming "our country" was a fairly common theme.
And no Twitter trolling is complete without slurs and other racial put-downs.
"Go back to Africa" was a crowd favorite.
Since I'm a woman, my body obviously became a topic of discussion, because that totally has something to do with what I said.
I also learned that disagreeing with Trump's hostile, hateful rhetoric means I am mentally unstable.
Scariest of all, a few people hinted at actual acts of violence.
It's been argued many times that Trump has been able to surge because he's tapping into the fears of some (not all) white voters and some (not all) male voters -- voters who sense, correctly, that their invisible, unearned privileges are finally coming under interrogation. As the U.S. continues its trajectory toward being a majority-minority country, the kind of people for whom this is a terrifying prospect are taking more and more conservative positions on race-related and race-neutral policies.
It's not just white people who are voting for Trump. And there are surely a lot of white Trump supporters who don't share his disdain for foreigners, Muslims, women, black people, Latinos, Asians, people with disabilities or prisoners of war. But there are also plenty of people who like Trump because he refuses to be politically correct -- which is to say, he's happy to bully entire groups of people simply because of what they look like, where they're from or who they are. And even if every one of the trolls in my Twitter mentions is fake, the ugliness they're expressing is real -- and the Republican presidential front-runner seems pretty much OK with that.
Editor's note: Donald Trump is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist, birther and bully who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims -- 1.6 billion members of an entire religion -- from entering the U.S.
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