Why am I not surprised by the divisive rhetoric coming out of the mouth of the current GOP frontrunner?
Well, I’ve seen and read about this type of politician before. Someone who wants to win by any means necessary, and if that means once again whipping up the fears of conservatives, then so be it. While some want to call Donald Trump a Facist along the lines of Mussolini, or even compare him to Germany’s Hitler, America had a number of home grown politicians who’d used this tactic before, and were successful at it.
Dixiecrat George Wallace was one such politician. Like Trump, Wallace started out being a moderate (old school term) on the issue of race. For purposes of this post, a “Dixiecrat” was a southern Democrat during the civil rights era. A “progressive” was someone considered liberal in their political views on race and social issues. A moderate wasn’t a progressive, but someone whose political views were not so far to the left, but not so far to the right either. However, once old moderate George Wallace got his butt handed to him after an election, that’s when he changed his tune and reportedly said this:
“Well boys, no other son-of-a-bitch will ever outnigger me again.”
True to his word, George put his plan into action. Since the man he lost the governor’s race to had been backed by the Klu Klux Klan, George became every black person’s nightmare, and the far right’s savior.
Wallace was a charismatic, fiery speaker. Back in the day, he WAS Donald Trump, in that once the camera’s rolled, he put on quite a show.
“. . . . he would use words when he would be talking to the audience, and he would call Frank Johnson a bald-faced, scalawaggin’, carpetbaggin’, no-good, no-account, integratin’ liar. And the people, when he would first start that phrase, they would start screaming and yelling because they had heard about it before. They had heard it over and over, and they would just scream to the point that they would drown him out completely, beating chairs against the floor, knocking their hats against the knees, and screaming and hollering and clapping, until Wallace would just give them time to saying anything, get completely relaxed”
Sound familiar? How about Trump’s need to label his detractors and anyone he doesn’t like as a “loser” among other choice terms. Those who support Trump are eating this up, probably never realizing that back in the day, segregationists used this same tactic to get elected, under the guise of “telling it like it is.”
Playing upon the racial fears of many in their base, integration and equality (and also race-mixing) and oh, crime, as if the only crime in America came from black people (another myth that continues to this day) Trump has offended women, Hispanics, Muslims, African Americans, and probably members of his base who realize his ego and mouth will not be contained.
From the CNN article (items in bold are my doing):
“According to FBI statistics, of the 2,451 homicides of black people in 2014, 90% were committed by black people, while 8% of the offenders were white.
That sort of racial disparity isn’t uncommon: Of the 3,021 homicides of white people in 2014, 82% were committed by white people, while 15% of the offenders were black. The figures Trump retweeted inaccurately stated that 81% of white homicide victims are killed by blacks.
The Justice Department maintains a Bureau of Justice Statistics, though its figures don’t match those Trump retweeted. The FBI’s uniform crime statistics lag by a year — with 2014 numbers only recently becoming available — and no federal government agency has produced such figures for 2015.”
I should also add that the “source”listed on Trump’s retweet doesn’t even exist. There’s no Crime Statistics Bureau, but then, not having the factsnever stopped Trump before. From his take on Mexico sending over criminals and rapists, to claiming to view thousands of Muslims cheering on 9/11, Donald Trump has proven that he will do anything and say anything outlandish, as long as it will get him what he wants. And right now he wants to be on the news 24/7, and oh, to win his party’s nomination.
Here’s George Wallace in 1963, dramatically posing for the still cameras and TV cameras, in order to block the entrance of the University of Alabama from two black students who’d enrolled at the school, even though he’d already agreed over the phone with President Kennedy that the students could enter (George didn’t want to look “weak” for his constituents, so here’s his reality show moment) :
Read more here:
Both Donald Trump and George Wallace, in his time, appealed to a conservative base of blue collar voters. As in Wallace’s day, some say the majority of Trump’s supporters are also less educated and lower income whites.
“Several pundits have pointed out the parallels between Trump’s run and Wallace’s unsuccessful 1972 candidacy. Both men were widely perceived as potentially dangerous demagogues as they emerged amid a crowded primary field by speaking in politically incorrect terms about “the other.” ”
“Wallace made them feel visible and important; they knew he was their champion, and that he would tell the government in Washington that they didn’t like the way they were being treated.”
But Trump’s supporters aren’t just conservatives. There are a smattering of people of color who support him, and I’m willing to bet, quite of few disgruntled Democrats.
The other politicians vying with Trump for the Republican vote aren’t immune from saying stupid and racially insensitive shit. Jeb Bush summoned up the often mentioned “Free stuff” in a woeful attempt to explain why some African Americans vote Democrat. It’s amazing how someone can speak up so forcefully for Hispanics and turn around and offend another ethnic group with insulting theories. But again, its nothing new.
Ronald Reagan used the “Welfare Queen” story as his fear factor card in order to whip up the conservative base. I’ll get more into that a bit later, and how the Welfare Queen myth continues to be utilized in some form or fashion to this day.
There’s also the infamous Willie Horton ad from 1988. The ad was promoted by the National Security PAC, not the Bush/Quayle campaign:
This is going to be a long post, so I’ll be back periodically to update it.