In this one little clip is everything that I cannot stand about the way the topic of race – specifically, racism against black citizens – is being discussed in this election season. It’s obvious that the a certain breed of Republican feels absolutely no compunction about making pronouncements about racism and racial issues. They are even proud and eager to do so, in order to demonstrate how “non-PC” they are. Trump’s a major player in this movement, because of his cynical embrace of the birther issue. Trump is the perfect example of the publicly permissible GOP racism. It’s based on his natural inclinations, but it’s ultimately deployed as a marketing tool. It feels good, and makes him money – what’s not to like, as Trump would put it?
Trump is racist in the way that many white Republicans are racist. They believe that most black people are lazy welfare cheats, who do drugs, live in the projects, and have a lot of kids out of wedlock. They’re violent, rather stupid, and “lower the quality of our schools.” They can’t govern themselves; just look at Detroit and DC. As far as the Republicans are concerned, these are the *facts.* All you have to do is look around to see the proof!
This virulent set of beliefs has been around since the invention of American chattel slavery at least. I don’t need to recite the history of American racism here, or the many permutations it has taken.This election season is going to be one of the most emotionally draining ever, because there will simply be so much more of it on display. But Jack says this is actually a good thing, because finally it will be out in the open. Rather than purely coded language and policy positions that do not directly state their reasoning, we’ll have outright NeoConfederates happy to defend their beliefs in blunt language. I thought that the behaviors common in my childhood – the time of ax handles and barring the schoolhouse doors – were permanently gone with Lester Maddox and George Wallace. But it looks like I was wrong. If the GOP is eager to do away with Social Security and the entire 20th Century, they include civil rights legislation in their dustbin.
Of course, these Republicans will also tell you that they are not the racists – the “Libs” are. The libs, you see, notice things like the GOP attitude towards blacks and Hispanics, and actually point to race as the cause for the GOP’s treatment of these groups. “The libs are always playing the race card! We don’t treat these groups the way we do because of their race – we treat them that way because of the truth.”
These Republicans always prove their openness by pointing to the “outliers” among black people they’ve trumpeted. These exceptions demonstrate GOP non-racism. Alan West, Herman Cain, Randal Pinkett – these are the “good ones,” who are clean-cut and Conservative. All they have to prove their open-mindedness are the few anomalies, which become anecdotal proof, such as the one Trump employs. The entire black middle and working class doesn’t exist in this field of reference.
There will be a strong push for the Republican GOP candidate to have a black running mate, such as Cain or West. In the GOP’s eyes, this is a strategy that will “make the libs’ heads explode! How can the GOP, which is supposed to be so racist, actually have a black VP candidate? They won’t know which black man to vote for!” Herman Cain may have originally come to public notice because he was opposed to Democratic policies – specifically, Clinton’s health care proposal – but he stayed in public notice because he was the anecdotal proof. Cain may even believe some of the positions he argues. But he’s made a lot of money as a Right Wing radio personality because he was cynical enough to knowingly exploit his condition as the anomaly.
In the long run, none of it really matters for the Republicans’ political chances, either in 2012 or thereafter. The majority of Americans can see the truth about GOP racial attitudes, because they are on display and put into action everyday. The demographics of this country, as demonstrated in the last census, shows that the GOP will be a rump party by 2020, if not before. The only hope they have is to employ voter caging and other voter barriers to keep all “those people” from voting.
If the Dems want to really kick the GOP to the curb, they should be doing tons of outreach to voting groups the GOP disdains. Economic populism really speaks to all of us. After all, the GOP strategists employ popular racism as a tactic to further their real strategy: picking the pockets of every taxpayer in the nation, and turning all the commons into privately-held, for-profit assets.
It’s the modern Enclosure Movement. But that’s another post.