A dog whistle has a high frequency not discernible by humans. But the dogs can hear it clearly.
Robert E. Goodin, an Australian political theorist believes there’s a serious problem when politicians use dog whistles as an alternative to speaking honestly. It undermines democracy, because the dog whistle is intended to let some voters hear one message while others hear an entirely different message. But that is precisely what politicians like Trump want.
The 2016 Donald Trump campaign is using a dog whistle. Instead of a high frequency, he uses a high pitch. He speaks of rising crime rates, terrorists crossing our borders, the threat to law enforcement officers, and tells Americans to be very afraid of a White House he doesn’t occupy.
His high-pitched voice fills the political atmosphere with coded messages. And like a dog whistle, only the “dogs” can hear them. One of those dogs is David Duke, the former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. He can hear the secret messages.
Animated like your pet dog when she hears that whistle, Duke was elated at Donald Trump’s acceptance speech in Cleveland. “I’m overjoyed to see Donald Trump and most Americans embrace most of the issues I’ve championed for years,” said the KKK leader as he announced that he wanted to be a part of the Trump revolution. Duke is running for the United States Senate.
David Duke knows exactly what the code words “America First” convey. “I was the first major candidate in modern times to promote the term and policy of ‘America First,” said the openly racist Duke.
U.S. Representative Steve King (R-Iowa) hears the whistle. No more does he hold back his racist views. “Go back,” he said to a nationwide television audience, “Go back through history and figure out where are these contributions that have been made by these other categories of people that you are talking about? Where did any other subgroup of people contribute more to civilization?”
The most damaging code words to be hidden in the high pitch of the right’s dog whistle are “family values” and “Christian nation.” Those words cover much of the sinful nature of the right wing. They are intentionally and inherently deceptive words.
Designed to trick those who actually care about families and those who live out Christian values, the dogs hear the hidden message. The person huffing on the dog whistle wants them and their co-conspirators to hear something else, namely an anti-gay, anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant, anti-woman, anti-poor, and anti-tolerance message.
When Donald Trump says it’s time to end political correctness, he’s telling folks like David Duke that racism is back in vogue. Trump doubles down by mixing the dog-whistle messages with downright lies. Remember when he made the claim that no one else could verify that he actually saw New York City Muslims celebrating the day the Twin Towers fell? He told the outrageous lie that, “I have seen, you know, moments of silence called for, for this horrible human being who shot the policeman (sic),” referring to the Dallas police shooter.
Donald Trump says he’ll be the “law and order” president. He knows, like Richard Nixon before him knew, those reassuring words are designed to say one thing to whites and another to people of color.
Trump’s Cleveland speech signals a turn. He’s worn out the dog whistle, finding a constituency so pleased to hear the coded messages that he no longer has to speak in code.
A Rolling Stone article by Lincoln Blades titled “Trump Won by Turning Bigoted Dog Whistles Into Megaphones” says it best. “Trump has no real policy platform. His stances are either vague and evasive, or long-winded and inaccurate, on everything from domestic drug use to foreign policy.”
So Trump's supporters clearly aren't behind him because the nuances of his policy positions outweighed those of the other candidates. They're behind him because he forcefully says the prejudicial shit they believe. He eradicated the dog whistle and replaced it with a large, bigoted megaphone.”