The Democratic party and the elite media are making the mistake of casting Trump and his supporters as deplorables again. Calling a racist a racist is a waste of time. Racists do not know they are racists. Whether Trump is actually racist or merely playing to the racism of his followers is impossible to determine. When he promoted the birther controversy was it because he believed in it or because he benefitted from employing it? In addition, Trump is the victim-in-chief and since his base all feel like victims, they immediately rush to his defense when we attack him. We are better off going after the ideas and policies Trump promotes. We are better off attacking Trump for being un-American.
In addition, the Democratic candidates and the party as a whole need to wake up to the fact that most Americans are justifiably worried about immigration. Rather than reacting to Trump's race-baiting and fear-mongering, Democrats need to attack Trump for the mess he has made of immigration and to propose how they can better manage the problems. That means starting with a plan to help refugees stay and thrive in their countries of origin, enforcing border security, and treating asylum seekers humanely.
Trump's tweets attacking the Squad and Elijah Cummings went beyond racism. In fact, calling Trump out as a racist triggered his supporters. Trump went after The Squad because they conveniently are comprised of a Puerto Rican American, an African-American, and two Muslim Americans. That's why the "go back to where you came from" line appeals to his supporters. And so, his approval rating went up. Of course, there is racism involved but the main point is xenophobia (and its flipside, white nationalism. Latinas and Muslims are not a different race and referring to them as people of color muddies the waters.
Trump's attacks on the Squad are also sexist. But in these attacks isn't Trump just bringing back Sarah Palin's notion of the real Americans? Only Trump supporters are "real" Americans. AOC and friends, as a result of their media success, represent the Democratic Party in Trump world with their embrace of diversity, and "socialist" ideology. So, when Trump supporters are asked what they think of his attack they immediately switch to the socialism of AOC. Even the Wall Street Journal claims the ideas of the left-wing Dems are worse than Trump's tweets.
A more effective response to Trump's tweet is to out Trump's stance as Un-American and as an attack on elected officials who are American citizens. In attacking the Squad, Trump is once again fomenting division and tribalism. Is this the country we want to live in? For this reason alone, Trump is unfit to be President. Trump's disavowing the chant to "send her back" at his rally is not surprising. It is merely a way to distance himself from a controversy he created while letting the idea germinate. That chant will continue at rallies until the election.
So far, none of the Democratic candidates has shown that they understand that the way to run against Trump is to seize control of the narrative rather than reacting to his idiotic tweets. That does not mean proposing ideas that will never happen like free college and forgiving debts or Medicare for all. None of those proposals will become bills. Instead, Democratic candidates need to embrace low cost public education, refinancing student debt and universal healthcare with a public option. If the Democrats can win the white house and the Senate, then they can set their sights a little higher and develop and pass a Green New Deal.