US Reaps Fear and Hatred GOP Sowed

The puzzle for the Democrats is how to alleviate the fear of white Americans of being replaced or displaced from the seat of power

The United States of America is reaping the results of the GOP’s Political/Election Strategy of “fear and exclusion” that the party of Abraham Lincoln has fostered and utilized, with much incremental success I might add, over the last 50 years or so. The origins of the GOP strategy of fear may go as far back as Post-Civil War Reconstruction. Perhaps even as far back as the establishment of the American Republic by the founding fathers, who had much debate over what the electoral status of “slaves” and others (mostly American Indians) would be under the Constitution of the new Republic.

The recent deaths in Charlottesville, Virginia were not caused by the controversy over whether a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee should be removed. The cause(s) of the riot in Virginia have their roots in the white supremacy beliefs of European colonizers of the new world and the belief, reinforced by the teachings of the church, that Europeans had the rights inherent in their superior culture and religion, to subdue by conquest or kill indigenous populations. This doctrine of requiring those colonized or conquered to convert or die, or be enslaved, or assimilate into the superior white culture is still very strong in present day America. (It still influences much of U.S. Indian policy, that is based on an unspoken goal of the disappearance of Native Americans into the so-called mainstream.) But I digress.

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The Civil Rights Movement of the late 1950s and 1960s did drive many southern Democrats away from a party that had supported segregation and so-called Jim Crow laws enforcing segregation and the separation of the races. Racial discrimination and segregation, while mostly not codified in the North, was very strong and was present in everyday life. That it was codified in the South, of course, exposed such laws to attack as unconstitutional and un-American, and its effect in the south was much more extreme in its institutionalization into southern life. Both the official and non-official enforcement of segregation and racial purity, was suppressive and violent.

It was the intimidation and violence used to enforce Jim Crow Laws, as well as the obvious corrupting influence it had on law and order, particularly court processes, that didn’t fit with Americas new influence as the saviors of freedom and democracy after World War II. America had just fought a World War to rid the world of the National Socialist Worker’s Party (NAZI) murderous reign of terror, which was premised on the belief that Germanic people were the superior human species and thus entitled to rule the world and subjugate, enslave or annihilate inferior humans. And, at the same time, America had fought the war against Japanese Imperialism and expansion by military subjugation of its neighbors, which may have also been based on the belief in the Superiority of the Japanese Warrior and adherence to the Bushido Code.

The Civil Rights Movement may have been only the tipping point for the exodus of dixiecrats from the Democratic Party to the GOP. While much of politics, has been, and is, based on messages of fear of rule by the other guys, the origins of racial fear as a political strategy to influence elections, can be traced back to the 1960s, but refined as a political strategy in the 1970s, It really blossomed in the 1980s as strategists in the GOP began to refine the message and come up with coded message(s) that enhanced fears of a racial displacement from political power of the white American population coincidental to the shift in population to people of color (African Americans, Mexican Americans, Native Americans, Asians and Middle Eastern) and to immigrants who remained loyal to their cultural ties, including religion, language and community practices and customs.

It is this fear of replacement or displacement by other races, couched in terms of patriotism, American values and Christian values as the exclusive province of the GOP, that provided the opportunity for the GOP to portray itself as the only political party that could save America from a transition away from American culture/white culture/American values/Christian values and thus keep White Americans in the position of power and privilege heretofore enjoyed.

Unfortunately, or fortunately some might say, the political strategy, because it appealed to the basest instinct of self-preservation, was highjacked by far-right conservative elements of the GOP who understood and embraced its appeal to their beliefs of racial superiority and the superiority of American/Christian/patriotism they believe only exists in white American culture.

The political strategists in the Republican party, which had much benefited from the use of this fear as a strategy to control the federal government and state governments, thought they could control the far-right element, which did not necessarily adhere to core GOP values, but were useful as part of the GOP base. They obviously lost control. Trump was there waiting to harness it.

Be reminded, Donald Trump was a Democrat and supported the Democratic party and was a contributor to many of the Democratic elite, some of whom he counts as friends (Clintons, Kerry, Schumer, Reid, etc.). He contributed to both parties, but has for decades recognized that his best chances, as he fantasized about a run at national politics, was the GOP and its strategy and subliminal message of fear for white voters of being displaced or replaced by others. He merely took the rhetoric of fear up a notch, and in sometimes plainer language, appealed to the fears of white Americans, and reinforced the subliminal message of white superiority and white nationalism in “making America Great Again.”

Did Trump’s rhetoric contribute to a political climate that encouraged the most base of the far right base, white supremacists and white nationalists, to begin beating, maiming and killing the others? Most certainly, it did. That is affirmed by some of those in the so-called alt-right, either individually or as a group. There have been many such activities since the Trump campaign and his inauguration.

Trump, looking ahead to 2020, took days to condemn the alt-right groups for inciting violence and death. But he didn’t say a word about the white nationalist movement. That is because it is present in his White House on a daily basis and because he must depend on the far right for re-election. They are useful in reinforcing the basic message of fear of a non-white takeover of power in the United States. They are also useful in that their high visibility in the GOP ranks is intimidating members of the GOP who have benefited from the use of this fear as a political strategy and are afraid of losing the election success they have realized from it. He uses it to put fear into such people as Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan as well as long-time republican centrists, such as John McCain.

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Don’t forget that the other part of the GOP strategy is to use this message of fear to inspire state GOP parties to assist in disenfranchisement of huge segments of Democratic voters. Trump embraced this GOP strategy when he empaneled what really amounts to a GOP federally funded political action committee, to “study” voter fraud. What it is really doing is studying voter suppression and determining a strategy targeted at populations which traditionally vote Democratic. A large part of this strategy is the disenfranchisement of non-white voters by redrawing voting district lines to exclude or mitigate their influence on both state and federal elections.

The puzzle for the Democrats is how to alleviate the fear of white Americans of being replaced or displaced from the seat of power in the United States. Condemning anyone with this fear as racist or supremacist is good politics but does not amount to a strategy. Recognizing that the appeal of white nationalism is based on self-preservation is a good start, and portraying it as un-American and un-patriotic and lacking in Christian ideals, would be a step towards a Democratic political strategy that could nullify this GOP created Frankenstein monster and identify the Democrats as the champions of the Constitutional Republic.

Harold Monteau is a Chippewa Cree Native American Sovereignty Advocate and Tribal/Indian Economic Development Consultant writing from New Mexico and can be reached at hamlaw@live.com or on Facebook.

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US Reaps Fear and Hatred GOP Sowed

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