New data from the FBI verifies that hate crimes have surged in the wake of Trump's election — but voters are now mobilized to punish Republicans for supporting racism and bigotry.
For the first time in a decade, hate crimes are up in two consecutive years in America. This rise coincides with the campaign and now presidency of Donald Trump, who has embraced bigotry like no other modern political figure.
But voters are already showing signs of resisting turning the clock back on hatred, and Republicans are suffering for their deal with the devil.
Newly released FBI crime statistics show an increase of nearly 5 percent in 2016, documenting 6,121 hate crime incidents – up from 5,850 in 2015.
58 percent of those hate crimes were motivated by racial bias, and more than half of the targets were black. Notably, groups singled out by Trump during his campaign experienced increased targeting.
Hate crimes against Latinos were up 15 percent, after Trump accused Mexicans of being rapists and pushed for an unworkable border wall. Hate crimes against Arabs were up 38 percent, as Trump has pushed for a ban on immigration against Muslims and countries with large Muslim populations.
The period right before Trump’s election saw an even stronger increased intensity in hate crimes. While the swing from 2015 to 2016 was in the single-digits for most of the year, the period between October and December of 2016 saw a 25.9 percent increase in hate-motivated attacks.
This major problem has resurfaced in the country right as the Republican Party, dying to grab power, has completely taken up the mantle of racism and hatred.
But fortunately, there are now tangible signs that Americans have had enough and are ready to fight back against the bile in a serious way.
In the Virginia gubernatorial election, Republican candidate Ed Gillespie embraced Trump’s pro-hatred stance, running ads scapegoating Latino immigrants for gang crime, while also praising monuments to pro-slavery Confederates.
But Gillespie was crushed by 9 percent by his Democratic rival, Ralph Northam. Northam’s victory was accompanied by Democratic candidates winning up and down the ticket, threatening the Republican grip on Virginia’s state government.
BlackPAC, which works to mobilize black voters, took polls in Virginia of minority voters after the racist riot that killed a woman in Charlottesville, Virginia. Trump’s response to the riot was to call the white supremacists “very fine people.”
BlackPAC found that a majority of those surveyed felt they were “under attack” from the Trump-backed racist movement, and wanted to send a message against racial hatred with their votes in Virginia.
Using that information, they designed a voter outreach program that activated anti-racist Virginia voters. The result? Turnout jumped to 57.4 percent in Charlottesville, the highest in a nonpresidential election there since 2000.
Bruce Smith, a black 62-year-0ld Navy veteran, told the Associated Press, “[Gillespie] was basically talking like Trump. So when I heard that, I realized, this guy right here is a supporter of Trump’s nasty ways and bigoted ways.” Smith voted for Democrats in the election.
The embrace of racism has backfired on Republicans in Virginia. Americans have seen hate crimes increase around them, and they are fighting back at the ballot box.
And the tide of pushing back has only just begun.