By Don E. Lang, Jr.
A few years ago I wrote a blog titled Why I’m glad Donald Trump is president. Today, as we head down the home stretch of his first term I’ve had ample time to reflect on the Trump legacy. The following is my take on what propelled him into office and the continued support of his followers regardless of the mountain of evidence proving his incompetence.
Make America Great Again. That was the slogan used by Donald John Trump to rally the troops during his 2016 presidential campaign. MAGA became the mantra for an angry segment of America’s population whose lid boiled over with the election of America’s first black president. That segment would later carry out plans to benefit certain groups in this country. Let’s take a look at three of those groups, the white power structure, white supremacists, and opportunistic black supporters.
White Power Structure
Originally, I started this article using the term “power structure” but who was I kidding. It’s the “white” power structure that would benefit from the election of Trump, that 1 percent that wields global influence and is in league with similar power structures around the world. With the weight of the Oval Office, Supreme Court, and legislative branch behind them they continue to grab, consolidate, and hold power. With the assistance of Trump (whether he was aware or not), they had laws struck down, changed, or created in their favor. Federal government departments created to protect public interest were rendered powerless. They made up rules as they went along, not worrying about breaking any laws. They continue to siphon away money from the middle and working-class while economically suffocating those less fortunate.
You can google “How much wealth does the 1% have in the U.S.?” and return pages of information dissecting the amount of wealth, influence, and control these people have. This continues under Trump as he openly use the presidency to fatten the wallets of him and his friends. As long as he did their bidding they could care less about his shortcomings as a world leader.
You’ll find the 1 percenter in both of this country’s major political parties but it’s primarily those in the GOP whose power continues to grow in unethical ways, often turning a blind eye to this country’s inequities, disdain for minorities, environmental policies, etc. There is a growing strength of the ultra-conservative white power structure within today’s Republican party. This type of conservative has co-opted or is joined by people who make up groups like the Americans for Prosperity, the Christian Coalition of America, and of course, the Tea Party Movement, which gained prominence during the Obama administration, morphing into the MAGA followers of today. Alarming, yet not surprising is that many of these same people associate themselves with white supremacist groups like the Alt-right.
White su·prem·a·cy: the belief, theory, or doctrine that white people are inherently superior to people from all other racial and ethnic groups, especially Black people, and are therefore rightfully the dominant group in any society.
Alt-right: a right-wing, primarily online political movement or grouping based in the U.S. whose members reject mainstream conservative politics and espouse extremist beliefs and policies typically centered on ideas of white nationalism.
This brings us to the ideology Trump allowed into his administration possibly influencing his policy decisions. Two of his advisors, Stephen Miller, senior advisor for policy, and Steve Bannon, former chief strategist for the Trump administration have ties to white nationalist groups.
Joy-Ann Reid of MSNBC’s AM Joy describes their influence:
“Who’s writing the talking points that he was looking down and reading from? He has people like Stephen Miller, claimed as a mentee by Richard Spencer, who is an avowed open white nationalist. He has Steve Bannon, who’s been sort of allowed to … meld into … the normalcy of a governmental employee, but who ran Breitbart.com, which I reread today, the post that’s still on their website, where they self-describe as the home of the alt-right.
“What is the alt-right? It is a dressed-up term for white nationalism. They call themselves white identitarianism. They say that the tribalism that’s sort of inherent in the human spirit ought to be also applied to white people.
“That is who is in his government. Sebastian Gorka, who wore the medal of Vitézi Rend, a Nazi organization, being paid by the taxpayer, in the government of Donald Trump. The former Publius Decius blogger Michael Anton in the government.
“He is surrounded by these people. It isn’t both sides. He’s in the White House — they’re in the White House with him.”
Their influence flowed through the president to an eager base using dog-whistle politics signaling it was ok to commit terrorist acts against non-whites, Jews, and anyone else they felt were threats to their way of life. One could imagine the plan for continued dominance went like this; Those in power who were part of, or sympathetic to white supremacists sketched the plan. Sympathizers in branches of government blessed the plan which signaled the foot soldiers to execute the plan. Often authorities or law enforcement were part of those collaborators carrying out that plan. To no one’s surprise, hate crimes rose during the Trump administration.
It’s unfortunate that most of those foot soldiers do not realize the plan being executed includes their demise as well. They are so absorbed with the belief of white superiority that they too will end up suffering. Hate sure is a hypnotic drug!
Coming out of the 2016 presidential election I started hearing rumblings that many black people may have voted for Trump. I refused to believe it at the time but it became evident that he had his share of black supporters.
I break down that support into three categories, conservatives, disgruntled voters, and opportunists.
Conservatives. Before I delve into this subject let me say that I typically have no problem with black conservatives. I understand many of their views, some of which as an independent voter I share. The first 100 years that blacks were able to vote they flocked to the party of Lincoln for obvious reasons. After passage of the Civil Rights Act in 1964, many blacks switched to the Democratic Party. However, there were a number of black people who remained with the Republican party. Members include former Secretary of State Colin Powell, former RNC Chair Michael Steel, JC Watts, Armstrong Williams, and Condoleezza Rice. I should note that some chose not to vote for Trump or denounced him during the campaign. Some continue to do so to this day.
Disgruntled voter. This group consisted of mostly democrats or independents dissatisfied with the status quo, including the 2016 Democratic nominee, Hilary Clinton. Though hard to determine it appears more than what was originally believed may have turned out for Trump. Many of those voters simply chose to sit out the election altogether.
Opportunists. Opportunists relish the spotlight brought by allegiance to Trump regardless of his stance on issues the black community considers important. Most believe they create the most dismay within those communities. They include Candace Owens, Omarosa Manigault Newman, Pastor Darrell Scott, Don King, and sisters Ineitha Hardaway and Hernethia Hardaway Richardson, known as Diamond and Silk.
All of this could explain the “Black Effect” that may have helped propel Trump to victory in 2016.
White power, white supremacy, and black opportunists. Obviously, these weren’t the only factors in Trump becoming president and maintaining a certain level of popularity. Add Russian interference, Democrats struggling to energize their base, the influence of right-wing media and you have the perfect storm for the shit show witnessed today.
The question for all of us is what’s to be done about it? The world is watching.