Before, Trump Was a Wealthy Blowhard Buffoon With the Taste of Liberace. Now He's an Enabler of Racism. Prescient BF Commentary From 2011.
Steve Jonas has been a regular columnist for BuzzFlash since its earliest days. In this 2011 column he presciently predicts that Trump will use racism in a future bid for the presidency. Jonas was, of course, right. Now we are confronted with the possibility that racism will be normalized by the ADD of the mass media to focus attention on egregious Trump demagoguery.
Originally Posted in April, 2011
STEVE JONAS FOR BUZZFLASH
Not so long ago in a land not at all far away part of it was ruled by a tiny oligarchy of very wealthy large landowners. They made their wealth in part off the backs of unpaid farm laborers for whom they provided nothing more than minimal food and shelter, in part by trading in those laborers as property, and in part off the backs of another group of (much smaller) landowners/small farmers, who were generally poor, although definitely better off than the aforementioned unpaid laborers. Actually, the two groups had much in common. They worked hard, got nothing (in the case of the first) and precious little (in the case of the second) for their labors. They were both dominated and exploited by the oligarchy. One would have thought, in fact, that the two groups of laborers might actually join forces and struggle to improve their respective states in life.
But, of course, this did not happen in the slave holding South (or the other non-Southern slaveholding states before the Civil War either). For in the South in particular, the ruling oligarchy had very carefully, over a period of two centuries since slaves were first brought to North America in 1620, nurtured the false doctrine of white supremacy. Among other things the doctrine held that (even though there had been interbreeding between European settlers and African slaves from the earliest days), white people were inherently superior to Black people.
Whatever could be said about the status and living standards of the poor whites in the South, the oligarchy could and did always buy them off with the notion that whatever else was going on in their lives, they were somehow "superior" to Blacks. For the Civil War the oligarchy managed this ideological trick so well that about 250,000 poor whites went to their deaths trying to perpetuate the institution of slavery on the territory (and Territories) of the then-Untied States. And then after the end of the War, during reconstruction when some efforts were made by both poor whites and newly freedmen to form alliances, the oligarchy very quickly remobilized the doctrine, backed up by the Ku Klux Klan and other terror organizations to make sure that the poor whites either continued to be bewitched by it or were themselves terrorized in submission. Of course, the doctrine of white supremacy and its power over the white people of the U.S. has never gone away. In fact, its presence and wide-spread influence on the thinking of United States folk of all kinds to this very day is a major indicator of how the South actually won the first Civil War. As others have said, the Southern oligarchy lost the war but over time has won the peace.
And so we come to the present time. Instead of the Slave Power oligarchy ruling one section of the country and controlling much of its politics nationally until the first firing of the guns of South Carolina at Fort Sumter, we now have the Corporate Power oligarchy ruling the whole country and controlling virtually all of its politics. And many "white" folks actually support the Corporate oligarchy even though, like the Southern oligarchy of old, its politics are contrary to the best interests of most of those "white" folk. And indeed, they do it with same old doctrine: "whatever else is going on in your life, you are inherently superior to “that Black person” over there just because you are white and he or she is Black. And oh by-the-way, the doctrine now extends to brown people, to immigrants, to Muslims, to homosexuals, and to what-have-you.
Race is the Trump card for the right, for the corporate power, and increasingly for the Religious right as well --- see the current performance of Franklin Graham in regards to President Obama. Whatever other cards anyone may lay on the table in front of the GOP rank-and-file (and for all the GOP itself as well as many media types would have us believe that they are different --- they ain't) to attempt to show them that the corporate oligarchy is just as much their enemy as it is the enemy of anybody who is not one of them or one of their direct servants in the politico-legal-media-what's-left-of-US-industry sectors, the oligarchy plays their Trump card, and almost always wins the game. Which brings us (I know that you were waiting for this one) to Donald Trump.
Trump, a former Health Care Single-Payer supporter, a former pro-choicer, a former supporter of other liberal causes, may or may not be actually running for the GOP nomination for President. There are certainly plenty of observers who think that that is not the case if only because he would have to reveal a good deal about his personal finances. And since those are apparently quite murky if not quirky in the sense of his relationship to his variable real estate and gambling casino holdings and he banks with which he deals, he just might not want to do that. But be that as it may, for now he seems to be actively running.
And what is he using as his own Trump Card? Why the classic one of white supremacy/racism. For what else does the so-called "birther issue" stand for? Yes, the State of Hawaii has produced he certificate that certifies that a birth certificate exists in their files (and now the President has produced the original copy). Yes there are the contemporaneous birth announcements. But the right knows better than to confuse any of adherents with facts. They keep on pretending that there is something there when of course there isn't. They are not the first to use the big lie technique. Brought to its highest peak of proficiency by Hitler and Goebbels, it proclaimed that the bigger lie one told, if one told it over and over again, with conviction, that the people you wanted to reach would come to believe it, and their support for you would be increased.
Trump knows full well what the facts are. But how better to distinguish himself from the rest of the undistinguished GOP field than to openly playing the race card, using the dog whistle of birtherism resting on the foundation of the Doctrine of White Supremacy that has been in place in this country since long before the Civil War. It happens that Trump himself appears to be backing away from birtherism, but he planted the seed and it is sprouting very well, so well in fact that about 75% of GOP voters either believe that Obama is not a US citizen or have doubts about the fact. The attack is on Obama's legitimacy as a person, and we all know what that means, don't we.
And now comes the Trump attack on Obama's credentials for and in higher education. As Trump said: "I have friends who have smart sons with great marks, great boards, great everything and they can't get into Harvard. We don't know a thing about this guy. There are a lot of questions that are unanswered about our president." Must have been affirmative action, “donchaknow”? How else could he have gotten into Columbia College and Harvard Law School? He must have made President of the Harvard Law Review and Magna cum Laude by affirmative action too. And we know what that all means. And then comes Franklin Graham, attaching himself to Trump's coattails on the racist birther issue as well as attacking Obama as not a "real" Christian (in Graham's terms of course), in a further attempt to delegitimize.
Yes, indeed. Race is the Trump card for the right, for Trump himself just as it was for the slave holding oligarchy and is for the corporate oligarchy.
STEVE JONAS FOR BUZZFLASH