I wasn’t sure how I felt about the suddenly-popular term “alt-right” at first, but now I flat-out reject it. Given that the Republican Party made a conscious decision to recruit racists and bigots into their fold way back in 1964 because they were tired of losing, how “alt” can the Trump version of “right” be? I mean, even Republicans I tend to not think of as overtly racist, like Mitt Romney and John McCain, still too often adopted the usual racially-charged dog whistles. Hell; when he was campaigning to end welfare, even Saint Reagan loved to conjure up images of fat Black women with ten kids screwing the system by buying an orange and using the change to buy vodka. I mean, how many stereotypes can you fit into one image, anyway, right?
While white supremacists and racial extremists haven’t always embraced the Republican Party fully because the RNC occasionally drew the line at overt white nationalism, when the odious lifelong Klan member David Duke ran for office, he ran as a Republican, and he became their nominee a couple of times. And before you even go there, yes, I know; at one time, white nationalism and white supremacy was exclusively Democratic Party activity, but that was before 1964, when they were essentially thrown out of that Party and embraced as the base of the GOP. Every Dixiecrat eventually became a Republican or at least started habitually voting Republican by the early 1970s.
In other words, while the GOP seems to be trying to pretend that Donald Trump is an outlier and some are embracing the “alt-right” label as an absolution of their party of some level of responsibility, the fact of the matter is, Republicans have depended upon the votes of what we are now calling “alt-right” for about 50 years. Not only that, but look at the behavior the GOP has tolerated or completely ignored so far this year. Trump calling anyone a “bigot” is wholly ironic, but calling Hillary that? And have you noticed that, except for a few offhand comments from a stray Republican or two, almost no one in charge of the GOP is calling Trump out on any of his racist behavior. What racist behavior, you ask? Consider the following racist or bigoted things that Trump has either said or done himself or instigated during his campaign and keep in mind that all of these have been tolerated or ignored by Reince Priebus and pretty much the entire Republican Party.
- At several Trump rallies, his supporters have screamed bigoted things at Latino protesters, yelling things like “Clean my hotel, bitch” and “The Mexicans are the hairs of assholes.” They have also spat on Latino protesters. (Source)
- Black attendees at Trump rallies have often reported feeling threatened and it’s no wonder given that even Black college students have been thrown out of Trump rallies for the crime of being Black (source) and Trump himself has often asked that Black people be forcibly removed from his rallies, not by secret service, but by white supremacists. (Source)
- The problem got so bad for a while, many were concerned that there might be violence at some of his rallies. Of course, their fears were founded and actually justified when Trump supporters actually beat the hell out of a Black Lives Matter protester in, of all places, Birmingham, Alabama. The protester was simply chanting “Black lives matter” when about a half dozen Trump supporters demanded that the man leave and then tackled him and beat him up when he didn’t follow orders. One man punched him in the face, while a brave Trumpian woman kicked him while he lay on the ground. (Source) When Trump was asked about it the next day, he responded, “Maybe should have been roughed up,” he mused. “It was absolutely disgusting what he was doing.” Again, there was virtually no significant response from the Republican Party.
- That attack came about a month after someone protesting his stance on immigration at a Miami rally, which at the time was essentially to build a wall and kick “them” all out, was kicked and knocked to the ground by protesters very violently. (Source) That time, Trump suggested that his followers “get ‘em out, but don’t hurt ‘em.” Around the same time, at a rally in Virginia, immigration supporters were told by Trump supporters, “Go back where you came from,” assuming that they couldn’t possibly be from here. They also screamed racial epithets and cursed at them before they spat on them. (Source)
- Then, there was the rally in St. Louis in which Trump supporter practically started a riot. It started with Trumpies referring to a 16-year-old protester as a “bitch” and a “whore.” Imagine if that was your daughter. (Source) Many others chimed in with anti-Muslim slurs. The event culminated in a protester named Anthony Cage being sucker-punched and having to be taken by ambulance to a local hospital. All the while, Trump was egging on the worst of his supporters, saying things like “Get him out of here, he’s all mouth” and “Get a job. Go home to mommy.” At one point, Trump lamented, “Part of the problem and part of the reason it takes so long [to kick protesters out] is, nobody wants to hurt each other anymore. There used to be consequences. There are none anymore.”
Again, not only did all of these attacks come after Trump promised not to condone violence and racism at his rallies, but the Republican Party largely said nothing about any of this. In fact, when it was becoming clear he could win, they did nothing to try to stop it. And it’s not like they didn’t know about Trump’s racism going in. Everyone knew it, but while he was toiling in the purgatory that is reality television, it was convenient to ignore his racist tendencies. He has had far too much success at shaking the reality of his racism. Maybe it was his interplay with Omarosa and Arsenio Hall on “The Apprentice,” but the reality is, Trump began his career as a racist.
While I know it’s easy to point to someone’s racist parents and blame them, Trump has been out from under the influence of his father for decades; his racism is all on him. Hell; most of my relatives were moderately racist – by that, I mean, they didn’t join groups and burn crosses, but I did hear the n-word a lot growing up – but I have spent my entire adult life attempting to make up for them. That’s what adults do, in reality.
No, his personal racist mission started in 1973, when Trump was 26. In other words, old enough to be better than his father and to care about the plights of others. That was the year when the Department of Justice – the NIXON Department of Justice, no less – followed through on a discrimination complaint against Trump’s family rental business. Their investigation found that not only were lease applicants screened by race. One rental agent said Trump’s father had told him but that Fred Trump demanded that agents not rent to Black people. He even ordered them to reduce the number of Blacks in the buildings. The doormen in the buildings were also instructed to send potential Black applicants away. (Source)
Whereas Trump could have quit his father’s company and gone out on his own, or he could have defied his father’s wishes and worked with the DOJ or even the New York City housing authorities to bring the company into compliance with the law, young Donnie instead chose to go to war with the government. He retained notorious lawyer Roy Cohn and he went after the government’s lawyers with personal attacks, referring to them as “storm troopers” and “the Gestapo.” He also used the press to complain about “reverse discrimination” and complained that the DOJ was trying to “force” landlords to “rent to welfare recipients.” In other words, regardless of his political party at the time (and he has changed parties like most people change underwear), Trump was already skilled at the art of Republican dog-whistle politics, where “welfare recipient” meant “Black.” Such use was to become Republican orthodoxy by the time Saint Reagan began to invoke images of “welfare queens” and “strapping young bucks using welfare to buy t-bone steaks” in his rhetoric.
In other words, If you think the white supremacists whom we are now supposed to refer to as “alt-right” are a new crop of Trump fans, think again. They were royally pissed when Trump brought a massive counter-suit in the fair housing case and the judge dismissed the effort as a “waste of paper.” And they became even more incensed when the Trump organization was “forced” (the right wing’s favorite word for anything they are required to do by law) to acquiesce and agree to fix the problems.
Therefore, when Trump refers to Mexicans as “rapists” and he questions the “fairness” of a Latino judge with an impeccable record, or he promises to ban Muslims from entering the country and he dismisses Black Lives Matter as an organization bordering on criminal, you need to understand his pedigree. It includes support from the most racist elements in our society and his absolute willingness to embrace their tactics to further his career. And make no mistake; his run for president has nothing to do with becoming president and serving the American people. It’s all about his career and how it can financially benefit him.
Alt-right my ass.