One dominant theme of American politics, often its’ most dominant theme is racism. This is particularly true as it applies to those Americans we call “Black“, an appellation which itself reflects a bigoted pseudo-science Eugenics. The history of our America, rising to its’ position of economic and military world dominance, owes much of its’ success to the cruel enslavement of African people and its’ genocidal destruction of Native Americans. This is a fact so obvious and true that I won’t reprise the arguments for its’ truth that I made in more than 100 posts I’ve written and made available at this Link. For the dominant White European culture in America, it has been hard for many to acknowledge the truth that their country was created through the work, upon the backs and with the genocide of those we viciously abused to sustain our White Privilege. The 2016 Election, that gave us a despicable con man as President was primarily due to the racism so few Americans are willing to openly acknowledge. While many pretend that Trump’s nomination and election were due to other less sensitive factors, like the economic insecurity of White Blue Collar workers, the election was won because of the candidates’ racism conflated with his religious bigotry.
Although the Trump candidacy was presented as an anomaly by much of the main stream media and Republican stalwarts, the truth was that Trump was the inevitable result of a conscious decision of the Republican Party to capture the Southern States from the electoral hold of the Democratic Party. The Republican Party, Party of the “Great Emancipator” Abraham Lincoln, far from being the “principled purveyor of Conservative philosophy” has become since Richard Nixon’s election, the party of racism and its’ doppelganger xenophobia. The emphasis must be put on racism though, because the Nixon “Southern Strategy” that won the South for the Republicans for five decades up to now, was covertly, yet overtly racist.
Now “Ronald Reagan, The Gipper believed that conservatism was a three-legged stool, consisting of religious conservatives, national security conservatives, and economic/libertarian conservatives. For Reagan, each one of these legs was integral.” Here.
What Reagan’s “conservative belief” was really, according to one of his speech-writer’s, “putting lipstick on a pig” (using a “Palin-ism”), to disguise the truth that the Republican Party is the party of racism. The base of the Republican Party are the inheritors of the old southern racist traditions, hidden under a plethora of code words used to dissimulate, a patina of conservative “respectability,” to add philosophical pseudo-gravitas and a deconstruction of Christian mythos presenting Jesus as a capitalist entrepreneur. Ronnie Reagan presented himself as a devout Christian, while never bothering to go to church and was idolized by evangelicals for seeming to speak their language. Reagan was devoutly militaristic, yet had spent World War II comfortably making military propaganda shorts, while fellow Hollywood stars served in harm’s way. Reagan was a one-time union President who sold out many of his members by becoming an FBI informant rooting out communists. Reagan, was an intellectually shallow man, whose core “philosophical” beliefs were expressed in “the speech” known as “A Time for Choosing”, which he probably crafted with the help of GE(General Electric)’s public relations department.
“On October 27, a week before the  election, the Goldwater campaign ran a national telecast of an address called “A Time for Choosing” that Reagan made on Goldwater’s behalf. If the pundits had been blessed with a crystal ball, they would have ignored Goldwater’s defeat and studied every syllable of that speech, every camera angle, every facial expression. For The Speech is one of those uncanny cultural artifacts that contains within it not just words, gestures, and ideas, but a future.
Reagan had been delivering The Speech, in various versions, for years—for General Electric. The company had hired him to do an unusual double job: to host its weekly TV show, General Electric Theater, and to tour the country making motivational speeches to its 250,000 employees. GE was no ordinary company. It carefully cultivated its image as a bastion of free enterprise and as a loyal corporate community. It saw its mission as selling not only lightbulbs and appliances but an entire way of life—one for which Reagan himself became an advertisement. GE fitted out his Pacific Palisades home with the latest electric gadgets— and also fitted Reagan out as a spokesman for its free market, anti-union, anti-Communist, anti-welfare creed. Reagan spread GE’s conservative gospel to the company’s employees, and also to community groups, Rotary Clubs, and schools across the country.
It was a perfect job for Reagan. Although he had been a union leader in Hollywood, from 1947 heading the Screen Actors Guild through the most fraught years of the cold war, he was by temperament and belief a company man. His bitter fight with unionists who he was convinced were Communists, trying to take over Hollywood on orders from Moscow, had led him to fear for his life and to work as an FBI informer. So Reagan tirelessly crisscrossed the country for GE, polishing his speech, convincing workers that they were part of a big, happy family, honing anti-government punch lines that would appeal to business leaders.” See here.
Perhaps the most telling nuance about where the Reagan team was coming from was in the fact that directly after his nomination at the Republican Convention for the Presidency in 1980, his campaign’s opening speech was given in Philadelphia, Mississippi where 16 years before “was the scene of the murders of activists James Chaney, a 21-year-old black man from Meridian, Mississippi; Andrew Goodman, a 20-year-old Jewish anthropology student from New York; and Michael Schwerner, a 24-year-old Jewish CORE organizer and former social worker, also from New York. Their deaths demonstrated the risks that activists took to secure the constitutional rights of African Americans, but many more blacks than whites had been killed in the struggle.
Ku Klux Klan members (including Cecil Ray Price, the deputy sheriff of Neshoba County) released the three young men from jail, took them to an isolated spot, and killed them. They buried them in an earthen dam. It was some time after they disappeared before the bodies were discovered, as a result of an FBI investigation and national media attention. The national outrage over their deaths helped procure support for Congressional passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The murders and related conspiracy gave rise to the “Mississippi Burning” trial, United States v. Price.
The opening lines of Reagan’s speech that day were: “I believe in states’ rights … I believe we have distorted the balance of our government today by giving powers that were never intended to be given in the Constitution to that federal establishment.” Given the history of Philadelphia, Mississippi, given that this town was a backwater except for its infamy in those three murders, could there be any clearer statement of the racism and bigotry behind Ronald Reagan and the Republican Party that now embraces him as their guiding Saint?
So returning to the present, Trump ran a campaign with no specifics other than the demonization of Latino’s, support for the police via the murders of Black people and the promise of reprisals against Muslims both in the U.S. and overseas. This was the key to Trump’s success and that key had little to do with his Conservative ideological fervor, nor with his embrace of religious principles. Trump even received more evangelical votes in Indiana then did Ted Cruz, demonstrating that religious bigotry and Christian bigotry are inter-related.
What of those doyens of Republicanism who are currently eschewing Trump, by labeling him with the “not conservative” tagline? Their angst seem to me to be “Crocodile Tears”. Surely they don’t hate Trump because of bigotry, because if that were true, how can they explain the bigotry of the party they’ve supported all these years since Nixon. What these conveyors of conservative civility are really upset about is that Trump blows the cover off of the covert racism that has held their party together all these years and is the source of their strength in their “Red” States.
While Bill Clinton was hated and anathematized by Republicans, their leaders in Congress nevertheless worked with him behind the scenes to pass legislation. That most of that legislation represented Clinton’s forsaking Democratic Party principles, I’ve dealt with elsewhere. However, Republicans in Congress did work with Bill Clinton, yet they steadfastly refused to do so with Barack Obama. Anyone who believed that Barack Obama is politically much different from Bill Clinton hasn’t been paying attention. Purportedly the opposition to Obama was because Obama was alternately a dictator, a Nazi, a Communist, Muslim, or a native born Kenyan. The truth, which is so obvious is that Barack Obama is a Black man and as such from the Republican perspective, unfit to be President. While the nonsense of the “Birther” movement raged, the leadership of the GOP was loath to come to the defense of our President. When the “Tea Party” took the reins from the “birthers”, there was also a strange, strained silence from the Republican Establishment, as that faction played out the same vitriol against our Black President.
Now as the man who wrested the leadership of the “Birther” movement away from its founders, has achieved the Presidency, the bigoted hatred of our country’s first Black President moved clearly out of the shadows. It gave lie to the racist, bigoted Republican code words of the last 50 years and places the Republican’s squarely in the overt racist camp. A spate of recent articles about how racism was the key factor in Trump’s election was touched off by political science Professor Thomas Wood at the Washington Post in writing this piece: Racism motivated Trump voters more than authoritarianism, who concluded that “Racial attitudes made a bigger difference in electing Trump than authoritarianism.”
An article by Amanda Marcotte in Slate: New election analysis: Yes, it really was blatant racism that gave us President Donald Trump extensively quotes:
“Sean McElwee, a policy analyst for Demos and frequent contributor to Salon, published a statistical analysis last week, based on data collected by the American National Election Studies that clearly demonstrates that racism, rather than economic insecurity, was the primary factor that helped push Trump over the top. This is just the latest in a growing body of research demonstrating that Trump’s racist appeals were what moved his voters. “Economic anxiety” may exist to some degree, but it was not what drove so many white people to vote for Trump in November.”
The Washington Monthly, a centrist news-site’s piece The Strange Role of Racism in the 2016 Election concludes:
“The election was lost because low income/rural white voters who voted for Obama decided to vote for Trump. Ironically, racism played a big role in the flip even though almost everyone expected the opposite to happen (that without a black candidate, the Democrats would do better with the racists).”
The battle to be faced by those of us who are determined to RESIST Donald Trump and his Republican Party, will not be about economics per se, but about the racism that still permeates this country after so many struggles to eradicate it. Once again we are again fighting for the “soul of OUR nation”. I wish I was more optimistic about how it will all turn out, but nevertheless I am committed to the struggle. Let us be perfectly clear though, the keystone of this struggle is about the racism of Trump and of his Republican Party.