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“The Morning After Donald Trump”: The Slogan “Make America Great Again” Didn’t Spring From Untilled Soil

Donald Trump will almost certainly be the Republican presidential nominee, and I am afraid.

Not of him. Not really. Trump is neither the first nor the last lying sociopath to walk the Earth — if America’s multitudinous anti-Trump forces do what we need to do between now and November, he won’t see the Oval Office. I will admit that I’m not unconcerned (I suddenly find that I intend to canvass just as hard for candidate Clinton, about whom I’m not particularly thrilled, as I once did for candidate Obama, about whom I was), but I’m not afraid of him. Not really.

Neither am I afraid (not really) of the campaign’s ugliness, though I know it will only get worse. The 2016 campaign is and remains appalling — but the campaign will end.

I’m afraid of the morning after. I’m afraid of what happens when Trump loses.

Trump is not (by any means or measure) the only misogynistic, bigoted xenophobe in the 21st century Republican Party, and in the process of winnowing its primary field, the GOP has given increasingly clamorous voice to a profoundly embittered, violently enraged, and often well-armed minority, in the process normalizing it.

Bitterness, rage, and violence have always been part of the American story, but since roughly the moon landing they’ve been at least nominally verboten in American politics. The dog whistles and code words with which we’re familiar came into common usage because Americans realized that it wasn’t always socially expedient to state their hate outright.

The head of the American Freedom Party (“arguably the most important white nationalist group in the country,” according to the Southern Poverty Law Center) and erstwhile Trump delegate William Johnson (who has said “the skinheads thought I was too extreme to run the organization”) recently clarified our new political reality for Mother Jones: “[Trump] is allowing us to talk about things we’ve not been able to talk about. So even if he is not elected, he has achieved great things.”

Indeed. For the first time in the decades since the assassinations of JFK, RFK, and MLK, we find that it is once again hip — or, at the very least, socially acceptable — to be awful. Supporters of the AFP told Mother Jones that Trump’s “honest discourse” has allowed them to feel “emancipated.”

We’ve seen in recent years how violent words once emancipated can lead to violent consequences — we’ve seen mosques attacked, women’s health care providers murdered, African Americans slaughtered with their Bibles open before them.

Many angry voters have legitimate grievances, and I certainly don’t believe the vast majority of Republicans seek violence — but they don’t have to. Chaos doesn’t require tens of millions of angry Americans. It only requires a few Americans who believe tens of millions support them. Those who commit politically motivated violence invariably believe they’re acting on behalf of people who are too afraid to do so.

Humans become more bold, not less, when they believe they’re not alone, and they’re particularly prone to bold violence when they find themselves backed into a corner. Trump’s supporters and fellow travelers have felt themselves to be backed into a corner for eight long years — as Trump’s former butler has made abundantly clear in a series of Facebook posts, one of which declares that Barack Obama “should have been taken out by our military and shot as an enemy agent.” The slogan “Make America Great Again” didn’t spring from untilled soil.

So what happens when the Great White Hope of angry, embittered, racist, misogynistic, homophobic, xenophobic America flames out?

I don’t know, and that’s why I’m afraid. I think about the rage and resentment that are everywhere fanned, named, and given a place of pride in today’s GOP, and though I fervently hope Hillary Clinton is elected, I wonder where that rage and resentment will go if and when she is. I know my fear is a win for those who benefit from it, but I can’t do anything about that now. Here it is, rooted in my belly, climbing through my veins.

In truth I’ve felt something like it since the day President Obama announced his candidacy — though that fear has never been quite so amorphous, being laser-focused on a single life. I expect it will live in my belly until Barack Hussein Obama achieves a natural end to his days, or I achieve my own.

Many years ago, when I lived in a different country, I watched a minority of my fellow citizens demonize the leader for whom I’d voted. I watched as they and the opposition party wrapped him in Nazi imagery, I watched as they prayed publicly for his death. I wanted to believe it would come to nothing, that the peace he sought would be greater than their loathing of it, but then I watched as he was buried. It didn’t take all of Israel’s extremists to assassinate Yitzhak Rabin — it only took one.

The 2016 presidential campaign is ugly and appalling, but it will end. Then — if we’re lucky — America will find out what happens when the angry and the aggrieved are told to go home.

 

By: Emily L. Hauser, The Week, May 13, 2016

May 15, 2016 Posted by | Domestic Violence, Donald Trump, GOP, White Nationalists | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“An Extremely Troubling Development”: Trump Picks White Nationalist Leader As Delegate

Mother Jones reported today that William Johnson, chairman of the white nationalist American Freedom Party, is now an official delegate for Donald Trump in California’s upcoming Republican Primary. In order to become a delegate, Johnson had to apply to the Trump campaign with a signed pledge to support Trump at the Republican National Convention. Johnson will vote for Trump in Cleveland, should he be elected by California voters.

The American Freedom Party represents the interests, its website says, of “European Americans” and “White Americans.”

Johnson was behind the widely-reported white supremacist robocalls supporting Donald Trump that flooded Wisconsin phone lines before the Republican primary there. Johnson orchestrated the calls as a publicity stunt, saying in an interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel at the time, “I want people to hear, to feel comfortable with, the term ‘white nationalist,’”

In an interview with Mother Jones today, Johnson echoed that sentiment: “I just hope to show how I can be mainstream and have these views,” he said.

The Trump campaign surely knows who Johnson is: In February, Trump said he would return a donation Johnson had given the campaign in October, in response to a question from a town hall attendee in New Hampshire. Johnson has been widely written about as a public face of white nationalist Trump support.

Mother Jones also reports that Johnson included all of his pro-Trump, pro-nationalist political activity in his application to become a Trump delegate.

In 1985, Johnson authored the Pace Amendment, which would have abolished the 14th and 15th amendments to the Constitution and restricted citizenship to “non-Hispanic white[s] of the European race.” Non-whites of child-bearing age would be financially incentivized to leave the country, Johnson wrote at the time.

In 2010, Johnson said in an interview with the nationalist The Political Cesspool radio show that “The initial basis of our own upstart organization is the racial nationalist movement. It has been in disarray for the last 20 years so there’s not as large a base for us to draw on.”

The Trump campaign’s selection of Johnson as a delegate in the California primary is an extremely troubling development. Trump has widely received the support of the white nationalist community, but this is by far the most explicit endorsement — and this is an endorsement, until the Trump campaign says otherwise — of the racist and nativist ideology.

 

By: Matt Shuham, The National Memo, May 10, 2016

May 11, 2016 Posted by | Donald Trump, Republican National Convention, White Nationalists | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Walking In David Duke’s Shadow”: Trump Treads A Well-Worn Path Of Bigotry

It’s happened before. The Republican establishment, recognizing the danger that the bigoted, demagogic candidate posed to the party, roundly opposed his election. On Election Day, however, the candidate captured a majority of the white vote. It was no fluke, as his odious views were well known. He had even once held elected office. A column I wrote almost 25 years ago refreshed my memory.

The candidate was David Duke, an ex-Klansman, neo-Nazi and former member of the Louisiana House of Representatives who ran for governor of Louisiana in 1991 and lost by a landslide to Democrat Edwin Edwards, thanks to a phenomenal black turnout.

Then, as now with Donald Trump’s campaign, Duke wooed economically discontented and politically alienated white voters by playing to their fears and resentments. Duke’s supporters believed back then that the quality of their lives — financial situation, job security, personal safety — was no better than when President George H.W. Bush took office in 1989, maybe even worse. As a result, they were frustrated, insecure, angry and ready to blame someone. So they gravitated to Duke, a man they believed would vanquish their foes.

The remarkable thing about the “Dukies,” as some of his supporters described themselves, is that they hardly resembled the caricature that might have been drawn of people who openly sympathized with a racist and anti-Semite.

I was in the midst of a large gathering of Dukies on election eve 1991 in a packed, smoke-filled American Legion Hall in the nearly all-white Metairie, La., House district that Duke had represented. I was also among Duke’s crowd the next day at his election night rally in Baton Rouge.

They resembled the enthusiastic white women and men who attend Trump’s rallies. Duke’s supporters were in their 20s, 30s and 40s, along with many senior citizens, more of them wearing jackets and ties and dresses than cowboy boots and jeans.

As with those in today’s Trump crowds, Dukies’ attention and emotions were riveted on their candidate and against the devils he excoriated: criminals who rape, rob and steal; politicians who only want more government and taxes; the liberal news media that try to tell them what to think.

A few of Duke’s 1991 themes echo today.

Said Duke, “Our environment is being threatened by massive immigration.” Sound familiar?

Duke on his trade policy and what he would say to the Japanese: “If you no buy our rice, we no buy your cars.” Is this where Trump gets it?

Duke on values and religious freedom: “I believe that Christianity is the underpinning of this country. . . . And if we lose its underpinning, I think we’re going to lose the foundations of America.”

A similar message is being delivered by at least one top Trump supporter.

Warming up the crowd this week before Trump’s appearance in Hickory, N.C., Pastor Mark Burns said: “Bernie Sanders . . . doesn’t believe in God. How in the world are we going to let Bernie — I mean, really? Listen, Bernie gotta get saved. He gotta meet Jesus. He gotta have a coming-to-Jesus meeting.”

Donald Trump, the outrageous, is no original. David Duke first trod this path.

But Trump is taking his campaign to places Duke never dreamed of.

Duke thought he knew what was bugging white America. White nationalism was his answer.

Trump knows what the United States needs. His answer: Donald Trump.

Trump’s aim seems not to be just the Republican presidential nomination. He clearly wants to be an American ruler, above political party, Washington politics and the demands of democratic compromise. Popularity and admiration will bind him to his followers. He’s so sure of his followers — “many, many millions of people,” as he puts it — that he predicts riots if his path to capturing the nomination is blocked by the GOP establishment.

Trump feeds off a zealotry born out of his promise to reawaken America and restore the country’s greatness. He promises to make his followers strong, instill them with pride, give them hope and make American power dominant in the world.

That kind of thing, too, we have seen before.

From der Spiegel: “There was the impact of the expanded Führer cult on Hitler himself. . . . He became, so it was said, more dismissive than earlier of the slightest criticism, more convinced of his own infallibility. His speeches started to develop a more pronounced messianic tone. He saw himself . . . as chosen by Providence. When, following the successful Rhineland coup, he remarked, in one of his ‘election’ speeches: ‘I follow the path assigned to me by Providence with the instinctive sureness of a sleepwalker,’ it was more than a piece of campaign rhetoric. Hitler truly believed it. He increasingly felt infallible.”

It has happened before.

 

By: Colbert I. King, Opinion Writer, The Washington Post, March 18, 2016

March 20, 2016 Posted by | David Duke, Donald Trump, Establishment Republicans, White Nationalists | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

“The Ugliest Campaign Ever”: We’re Headed For Most Divisive, Scorched Earth General Election In Modern History

“Don’t vote for a Cuban” seems like a pretty straightforward campaign motto for Donald Trump at this point. True, it’s not his campaign that is making these robocalls. Instead, it is a Super PAC associated with the American Freedom Party, a white nationalist organization that loves them some Donald.

Their message is admirably concise.

“The white race is dying out in America and Europe because we are afraid to be called ‘racist,’” the call said. “I am afraid to be called racist. Donald Trump is not a racist, but Donald Trump is not afraid. Don’t vote for a Cuban. Vote for Donald Trump.”

It’s curious that they don’t want to be called racist. Sounds like they’re afraid to be called racist.

Anyway, these robocalls have been detected in Minnesota and Vermont, and then there is this:

David Duke, a white nationalist and former Klu Klux Klan grand wizard, told his audience Wednesday that voting for anyone besides Donald Trump “is really treason to your heritage.”

“Voting for these people, voting against Donald Trump at this point is really treason to your heritage,” Duke said on the David Duke Radio Program

…“And I am telling you that it is your job now to get active. Get off your duff. Get off your rear end that’s getting fatter and fatter for many of you everyday on your chairs. When this show’s over, go out, call the Republican Party, but call Donald Trump’s headquarters, volunteer,” he said. “They’re screaming for volunteers. Go in there, you’re gonna meet people who are going to have the same kind of mindset that you have.”

That’s kind of vague, but you can see a closer tie between the robocalls and David Duke here:

In December, Duke told POLITICO that Trump’s candidacy allowed Americans to be more open about their racial animus.

“He’s made it ok to talk about these incredible concerns of European Americans today, because I think European Americans know they are the only group that can’t defend their own essential interests and their point of view,” Duke said. “He’s meant a lot for the human rights of European Americans.”

It’s a good thing that RNC Chairman Reince Priebus has a plan to keep Trump on a leash. Maybe that will work (I doubt it), but a better question might be to ask what the RNC plans to do if the lawsuit over Trump University doesn’t go well.

…the upcoming civil trial could be a much bigger burden on Trump’s time. If it takes place in May, that would put it in the middle of the final phase of the GOP primary schedule: Nebraska and West Virginia vote on May 10, Oregon on May 17, and Washington state on May 24. Then on June 7, the biggest prize of all: the California primary (with 172 delegates at stake). New Jersey, Montana, New Mexico and South Dakota vote the same day.

Trump could easily have the nomination wrapped up before these late primaries and caucuses. (We’ve written about the Trump University scam here, here, and here).

Yeah, it’s going to be a scorched earth campaign for sure.

The unintended consequences of both parties nominating their most unpopular or polarizing figures means we are headed for the most divisive and scorched earth style general election in modern history. When you start with negatives at 50% or above, it means the only way to win is to become the lesser of two evils.

I don’t see Trump becoming more popular. But Reince Priebus has a plan, so I guess things will go swimmingly.

In reality, Priebus won’t be able to control any of this, but he will be able to assist in making Hillary the greater evil. And, considering how difficult that task will be to achieve, we’re all gonna need hazmat suits.

 

By: Martin Longman, Political Animal Blog, The Washington Monthly, February 25, 2016

February 26, 2016 Posted by | Donald Trump, Reince Priebus, White Nationalists | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

“We Need Smart, Well-Educated White People”: White Power Party Swears Loyalty To ‘President’ Trump

If you live in Iowa and own a phone, you might get a call this week that sounds something like this: “I urge you to vote for Donald Trump because he is the one candidate who points out that we should accept immigrants who are good for America. We don’t need Muslims. We need smart, well-educated white people who will assimilate to our culture. Vote Trump.”

This jarring message is just one part of a robocall recorded on behalf of Donald Trump by The American National Super PAC, created by none other than the leader of The American Freedom Party, a prominent white nationalist organization.

In the last month, the political party— which once tried to revoke the citizenship of every non-white inhabitant of the United States—has evolved from supporting Trump’s candidacy to formally endorsing him for president. That endorsement made American Freedom Party history since they had never before endorsed a candidate outside of their own ranks. But the group that represents “the political interests of White Americans” was willing to make an exception for the Republican frontrunner.

“We do have our own candidate, but Bob Whitaker, our candidate, has told us that it is alright to endorse Donald Trump,” the American Freedom Party’s leader William Daniel Johnson explained in an interview with The Daily Beast.

He first tried to register the group with the FEC as the American National Trump Super PAC in November of last year, but was prohibited from naming it this because the PAC is not a committee authorized by Trump’s campaign. A spokesman for Trump did not respond for a request for comment for this article. Johnson subsequently submitted an amended statement of organization to the FEC on January 6, changing the name to the American National Super PAC just three days before the calls began in Iowa. He also created TheDailyTrump.org, complete with a logo depicting the candidate’s swooping golden locks, devoted exclusively to stories about Trump.

But Iowans have the pleasure of hearing not only Johnson’s voice on the opposite end of the telephone but also Filipino-American Reverend Ronald Tan and Jared Taylor, a spokesman for the Council of Conservative Citizens, which among other things, was cited as the group which inspired Charleston church shooter Dylann Roof.

“I think really it has to do with a nagging sense that white Americans have that their country is really slipping through their fingers,” Taylor said when asked why he got involved. “People realize that the United States is changing and it’s changing in a way that they find disagreeable. And it has enormously to do with a change in demographics. It’s becoming a third-world country.”

Taylor, who surmises that most white Americans want a white-only nation, has sung the praises of Trump in the past writing in his own publication the American Renaissance that “this could be the last chance whites have to vote for a president who could actually do something useful for them and for their country.”

He has also concluded in past writing that “Blacks and whites are different. When blacks are left entirely to their own devices, Western civilization—any kind of civilization—disappears.” His organization is the modern iteration of the White Citizens Council which fought against desegregation in southern schools in the 1950s and 60s. It has referred to African-Americans as a “retrograde species of humanity” and opposes “efforts to mix the races of mankind.”

Taylor said he recorded his part of the robocall upon Johnson’s request and he would consider joining Trump’s campaign if asked to do so.

“It’s marvelously refreshing to find a fella who shoots from the hip,” Taylor said describing his fandom. “Can you imagine Jeb Bush saying something that would actually surprise you?”

Seeing as the PAC is very new, Johnson doesn’t have a long-term strategy with it as of yet. He’s put in $9,000 of his own money and is willing to put in more depending on how well this round of robocalls performs in getting Trump an Iowa caucus win.

“I think it’s a foregone conclusion that Trump will be the nominee and the president,” Johnson confidently said. “I think he will probably not win Iowa unless my efforts are successful.”

While these calls might ring as unwanted and riddled with problematic language to Iowa voters, the Federal Election Commission’s hands are really tied when it comes to dealing with the content of robocalls. According to deputy press officer Christian Hilland, the only time that the FEC is made aware of the existence of robocalls is when a PAC spends $10,000 or more and has to file an independent expenditure report.

“That would be beyond the scope of our regulations,” Hilland said when asked if the FEC would police any unsavory content in political robocalls. “You’d probably have to look at something like the DOJ.”

The Department of Justice did not respond to a request for comment about whether it had been made aware of the content of these calls.

Geoff Greenwood, communications director for the Iowa Attorney General, told The Daily Beast that “there’s no screening process” when it comes to the distribution of political robocalls in the state. According to Federal Communications Commission standards, the calls are qualified as protected free speech if they go to a landline. If a cell phone receives the calls, the user has to have given express permission to receives calls at that number. A representative for the FCC told The Daily Beast that details of any complaints could only be obtained through the Freedom of Information Act.

But at least one expert said that the content of the calls could stoke hatred among listeners.

“These robocalls are too brief to engage in a complicated critique of their use of hate,” Dr. Michael S. Waltman, a professor at the University of North Carolina who specializes in hate speech told The Daily Beast. “But they do manipulate the hatred of potential listeners. Jared Taylor’s comments directly state that Muslims are not good for America and that they are not good for America because they are Muslims (he even suggests that Muslims are not well-educated when he claims that we should only admit well educated people to the country).”

There are no legal limits if Johnson wants to expand these calls to New Hampshire, which is something he’s considering, unless someone files a complaint with the FCC. Which means, there could be a lot more of Johnson and his friends throughout the month as the first primary nears.

Those friends include Reverend Ronald Tan, who immigrated to the United States in the 1980s and now supports Trump’s immigration policies.

“I have nothing against building the wall,” Tan told The Daily Beast. “There’s a lot of danger right now with an open-ended policy. I really want to safeguard the process in terms of more stringent background checks. It’s very difficult given the kind of world that we live in right now where terrorism and radical Islam has permeated even social media.”

Tan, who said that he gets invited to churches “all the time,” has no specific place of ministry and rather practices it “through a radio program” at the moment. That show called “For God and Country” and co-hosted by Johnson, is set to air on an Iowa radio station from January 12-January 22, in order to provide voters with “Christian and Nationalist reasons to support Donald Trump,” according to a press release from the American Freedom Party.

For now this ragtag group of white Nationalists can only hope that they are playing a part in what they view as a historical moment in American politics.

“If you were born in the United States and suddenly find that you are living in an outpost of Guatemala or Haiti or Nicaragua or Vietnam, you’re going to be angry,” Taylor said describing the changing demographics of the country. In Trump, voters “see a man who says ‘hold on, let’s look over some of these people who are coming. Maybe some of them are rapists. Maybe some of them are murderers. Maybe some of these Muslims really are undesirables. Simply having said that is a huge earthquake in American politics.”

 

By: Gideon Resnick, The Daily Beast, January 11, 2015

 

January 12, 2016 Posted by | American Freedom Party, Donald Trump, White Nationalists | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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