At long last, the presidential race between Trump and Hillary has devolved to its to its lowest common denominator: mutual accusations of racism, paranoia, neonazism, conspiracy theories, and of course the Ku Klux Klan.
Earlier today, a video released by Hillary Clinton’s campaign suggested that Donald Trump is the candidate of racists, white supremacists and neo-Nazis. “The reason a lot of Klan members like Donald Trump is because a lot of what he believes, we believe in,” a robed man identified as the Imperial Wizard of the Rebel Brigade Knights of the Ku Klux Klan says at the top of the video, followed by images of a Confederate flag fluttering in the wind, Trump waving after a speech, and a man performing a Hitler salute at what appears to be a Trump rally.
The video’s release comes on the same day that Clinton is scheduled to deliver a speech on the so-called “alt-right” political movement, which according to Politico, "has formed much of Trump’s base from the beginning of his campaign" even if the Trump base would likely beg to differ.
In the video, an unidentified voice labels the alt-right as “the sort of dressed-up-in-suits version of the neo-Nazi and white supremacist movements.”
The clip attacks newly hired Trump campaign CEO Steve Bannon over his previous job running Breitbart News, widely considered to be the most prominent alt-right media outlet. An unnamed member of a CNN panel attacks Bannon as “a campaign chair that ran a website that has become a field day for the alt-right, which is racist and all sorts of other ‘ists.’” Trump's campaign quickly issued a statement in response to the video from Mark Burns, a pastor with close ties to the campaign who spoke at the Republican National Convention last month in Cleveland. Burns said the video represented a "disgusting new low" for Clinton and her campaign.
"Hillary Clinton and her campaign went to a disgusting new low today as they released a video tying the Trump Campaign with horrific racial images," Burns said in the statement emailed out by the Trump campaign. "This type of rhetoric and repulsive advertising is revolting and completely beyond the pale. I call on Hillary Clinton to disavow this video and her campaign for this sickening act that has no place in our world."
The video runs just over a minute and 10 seconds and wraps with a black and white image of the White House as audio from a Trump rally of attendees chanting the real estate mogul’s name plays. The Clinton campaign video closes with a warning that “If Trump wins, they could be running the country.”
So, aware of what Hillary's rally topic today would be, Trump ripped Hillary Clinton for playing the race card on Thursday, calling her a bully seeking to distract voters from her own controversies by accusing others of racism.
“She lies, she smears, she paints decent Americans as racists,” Trump said at a rally in New Hampshire on Thursday. “She bullies voters, who only want a better future, and tries to intimidate them out of voting for change.” He said, Clinton's accusations of racism were "the oldest play in the Democratic playbook."
"Now, I've not seen what Hillary is going to say, but I've heard about it. And, in a sense, I don’t want to dignify her statements by dwelling on them too much, but a response is required for the sake of all decent voters that she is trying to smear. When Democratic policies fail, they are left with only this one tired argument. 'You're racist, you're racist, you're racist,' they keep saying it, 'you're racist.' It's a tired, disgusting argument, and it's so totally predictable. They're failing so badly. It’s the last refuge of the discredited Democrat politician. They keep going back to the same well, but you know what? The people are becoming very smart. They've heard it too many times before. The well is dry."
The GOP presidential nominee said it is clear Clinton is simply changing the subject from questions about donors to her family’s foundation paying for access to the Clintons.
“Now, as all of these revelations have been discovered this week, Hillary Clinton has been hiding,” Trump said. “But she’s emerging not to take responsibly for her unethical and criminal conduct, but instead to make one of the most brazen attempts at distraction in the history of politics.
“The news reports are that Hillary Clinton is going to try to accuse this campaign, and all of you and the millions of decent Americans at record levels...and going to accuse decent Americans who support this campaign, of being racists,” he continued. “It’s the oldest play in the Democratic playbook.
“When Democratic policies fail, they are left with only this one tired argument. It’s a tired, disgusting argument and it’s so totally predictable and they’re failing so badly."
The, moments ago, Hillary responded with her own attack, saying "Trump launched his own campaign with another racist lie, that Mexican immigrants are rapists and murderers. Trump has continued pushing discredited conspiracy theories with racist undertones" adding that "Trump has built his campaign on prejudice and paranoia. He’s taking hate groups mainstream."
Hillary Clinton: "Donald Trump has built his campaign on prejudice & paranoia. He’s taking hate groups mainstream." pic.twitter.com/c5KBM5rlJ6— POLITICO (@politico) August 25, 2016
Her onslaught continued: "Trump is someone who retweets white supremacists online" and "famously posted an anti-Semitic image", then proceeding to equate accusations of her ill health with paranoia: "His latest paranoid fever dream is about my health. All I can say is, Donald, dream on."
"Someone detached from reality should never be in charge of making decisions that are as real as they come"
Her punchline: "it seems Donald Trumps' real message is "Make America Hate Again", a recurring bullet point in her attack arsenal.
With that the mudslinging campaign may have reached its pinnacle. What happens next is anyone's guess, however some have suggested that now that he has succeeded in dragging Hillary into a debate sporting a "low" level of his choosing - something Hillary has so far refused to do - Trump effectively controls the narrative, even if it is one that is not even worthy of kindergarten.
And while we doubt many Americans still remains "on the fence" about their choice of presidential candidate, we doubt their mind will be made up by this unapologetic pandering to the basest of emotions by both campaigns.