MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
Donald Trump asserted in his acceptance speech for the Republican nomination that only he can "fix" the violence and terrorism that he says is threatening individuals in the United States. His campaign has largely been based on inciting fear of "the other" among white Americans. Now that he has lit that fire among his supporters and unleashed a hideous bonfire of hate, he is positioning himself as the authoritarian (just call it fascist) solution to the frenzied fear that he has created among his supporters.
In his remarks in Cleveland (see transcript here) Trumped promised:
I have a message for all of you: The crime and violence that today afflicts our nation will soon, and I mean very soon, come to an end. Beginning on January 20th, 2017, safety will be restored.
The Guardian US observed, as have other news sites and journalists, that Trump is bringing back the Nixonian "law and order" code wording for keeping the nation white through hyper-aggressive policing:
In his warnings of “crime and violence” and his solemn pledge that “I am the law and order candidate," Trump sounded notes eerily similar to Richard Nixon’s campaign rhetoric in 1968.
Then, in the aftermath of consecutive summers of widespread riots across the US, Nixon ran as the candidate of “law and order...."
Amid a backdrop of terrorist attacks and police shootings, the celebrity billionaire seized on the theme of law and order as a potential rallying cry for a party bruised by internal feuds and a chaotic convention....
“Americans watching this address tonight have seen the recent images of violence in our streets and the chaos in our communities. Many have witnessed this violence personally, some have even been its victims,” he said.
The “police shootings” Trump alluded to were not indiscriminate killing of Black people by police, but rather the shooting of police. This allusion adds to the racist tinge of his campaign and bolsters his incessant claims that the violence in the United States is caused by "those others," meaning people of color and Muslims. Trump sprinkled the threat of terrorism throughout his speech to bolster the incendiary image of a nation under siege.
As BuzzFlash recalled yesterday, we heard a guest on the Thom Hartmann program assert that Trump was following Nixon's playbook of employing FIBS, the exploitation of fear, ignorance, bigotry and sneering. In doing so, Trump gave a nomination speech that presented himself as the sole person able to reduce the bigotry that he has whipped into a frenzy. Indeed, in his speech he stated, "Nobody knows the system better than me, which is why I alone can fix it." Ah, the words of a true caudillo. Franco, Mussolini and Pinochet couldn't have said it more accurately to characterize the "strongman" political leader.
On July 20, journalist and author Eric Alterman wrote:
What is on display at the RNC in Cleveland is the Republican id. We always suspected it would look something like this. But even though it reared its ugly head on occasion on Fox News or in Congress -- on the lips of some right-wing preacher or billionaire hedge-fund manager.....
Well thanks to Donald Trump and his followers, the jig is up. Melania Trump’s plagiarism of Michelle Obama was just about the least offensive thing one heard from the podium on Monday night. The rest was a near orgy of hatred, racism, sexism and ethnocentrism. Rudy Giuliani has always presented himself as an avatar of “law and order.” This has been a conservative mantra for half a century. We always suspected it was code for the suppression of African-Americans and now we know. Ditto all this talk of “Judeo-Christian” values. It’s a code for Islamophobia and oppression.
"Law and order" were the key code words for Nixon's Southern strategy that finalized the conversion of the deep South from voting Democratic in presidential elections to voting Republican. The words sent the message that Nixon would seek to keep people of color “in their place.” Now, in Trump’s mouth, the same words signal a similar orientation toward both people of color and Muslims.
An Illinois Trump delegate, according to Raw Story, "was sent home to Illinois after using an offensive racial slur in a Facebook post suggesting police should shoot black protesters." Lori Gayne, the delegate, had used a racial slur when writing on Facebook about law enforcement officers "guarding" a GOP gathering on the patio roof of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with high-powered rifles: “Our brave snipers just waiting for some N------ to try something. Love them [the police]."
Gayne may have been told to return to Illinois, but she candidly embodied the "id" of the GOP convention and party that stayed behind. Trump has been masterful at exploiting this visceral racism and intolerance into a festering, hateful following. Last night, he told them that he is the only person who can protect them from the fears that he has so mercilessly exploited. He is their strongman, their unilateral leader, their authoritarian great white hope.
Not to be reposted without permission of Truthout.