The Rise of Donald Trump and The Delusional Politics of White Supremacy

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Donald Trump, the 2016 Republican Presumptive nominee and Presidential hopeful, has defied all odds the pundits cast, early on, that he would not stand a chance as a Presidential candidate of any persuasion, much less the Republican Party. 

However, here he stands today as the Republican Party’s front runner and Party nominee, having beaten out all of the Party’s other candidates by huge margins and is running masterfully against his Democratic challenger, Hillary Clinton, the Democratic Presumptive nominee. 

Who would have thought the odds would have favored Donald Trump so strongly, of all people, as a serious 2016 Presidential contender, or in any Presidential election year, for that matter?  But why should we be surprised when we look back over the last sixty years or so?Since 1954 (or even as far back as World War 2), the political affairs in our country have been breeding the likes of Donald Trump.

Racial white supremacy began to crack during World War 2.  Blacks began to perform on the world stage, breaking records and defying racial stereotypes. After black GIs returned home from the war, they were no longer passive about racist Jim Crow practices and second class citizenry at home, in their own country. A movement to challenge a system and culture that historically legalized racist discriminatory practices against blacks began, but not without racist, white supremacy resistance as in the past. 

However, a decade or so later, in 1954, the Supreme Court issued a landmark decision to outlaw racial segregation and Jim Crow practices throughout the land. However, even today, whites are still resisting that decision. 

Then, a decade later, in 1964, the Supreme Court passed legislations which recognized Civil Rights of blacks and other historic groups similarly discriminated against and denied equal opportunities in education, employment, housing, and voting.However, as in the past, racist, white supremacy resistance to the 1964 Civil Rights Movement has been persistent over the last fifty years or so and continues into the present. 

Much of the racial divide and social unrest we are experiencing today are a result of legislative erosions of the Civil Rights gains of 1964.  As the country attempted to become progressive and inclusive in its movement forward, a racist, white supremacy backlash movement rose up again to thwart the country’s progress and to keep it exclusive (favoring whites) and regressive toward racial and economic equality. 

(We can observe, however, in the national treatment of the 2016 Presidential Presumptive nominees that Hillary Clinton, when compared to Donald Trump, attracts more unfounded negative criticisms that should be viewed by the public as frivolous, arbitrary, blown up attacks intended to discredit, mislead, and distract people from focusing on the real issues and differences between her and Trump.  But such is not the case.  It seems that more people are eager to find fault with her—not because she is weaker or inferior to Trump—but because of her gender, suggesting that a large percentage of people are biased toward her and have trouble conceptualizing and accepting a woman President of the United States of America. This indicates a national problem with gender equality, still today, even though white women have benefited, more than any other groups, from the 1964 Civil Rights Act/Movement.)

The recurring racist, white supremacy resistance backlash to racial and gender progress has bred a political culture, since World War 2, that is vicious, calculated, and trumped up, but which is also popular, and becomes more popular day by day. 

Hence, the trumps of popular politics (the five D’s) trumped up Donald Trump, poised now to lead our country back to the time when it was :great" and its citizenship was homogeneous; when its Constitution was enforced according to the Founding Fathers’ intent; when women and nonwhites knew their places; and when the white aristocrats were not threatened by the underling riffraff and malcontents here at home or abroad. 

Hence, Donald Trump personifies a divisive, deceitful, delusional, dirty, and dangerous politics that has slow-walked him onto the 2016 Presidential platform where he boldly pledges to do diligence in the name of regressive politics. 

Regressive politics is not new in our country. As a matter of fact, it is the rule, but is usually nuanced and done in secrecy and not in your face as we have observed on the 2016 political stage.No matter how shocking or entertaining they are, our political observations around Donald Trump must not be taken lightly; for they are exposing a scary state of affairs that requires our deconstruction for a political heads-up to avoid more political calamities ahead.

The first step in deconstructing Trump begins with his political rhetoric. His political rhetoric contains elements of trickery which include all of the five D’s, hidden in divisive, dishonest code language.  Trump deceptively makes his supporters think that he is going to work wonders and perform miracles for them (as stated in the third paragraph above), all by himself, while punishing, banning, excluding, and ostracizing everyone else. 

However, our government, which is supposed to be a democracy, as opposed to anarchy and tyranny, includes a system of checks and balances in the form of three legislative branches: Executive, Legislative, and Judicial—each overseeing the functions of the other to control against tyranny and anarchy which can occur when one branch of government usurps the authority of the others.

No President can do whatever he/she wants without the support of the other two branches of government. There are legislative limitations on what a President can and cannot do, but Trump’s political rhetoric stays clear of that.

The second step in deconstructing Trump focuses on the way he appeals to certain people’s emotions to arouse, deceive, trick, and persuade his listeners to come to his side. Trump has jumped on the political angst and disfranchisement that a lot of working class and poor whites feel.  He exploits their political feelings by articulating what they are thinking.  Hearing Trump say what his supporters think is both revolutionary and satisfying to them, making them think that Trump understands them so well and knows their thoughts and feelings that he must be one of them who has their best interest and back at heart, going forward.

This political approach is also divisive; but, moreover, it is deceitful for the reasons noted in the third step of deconstructing Trump as we show below.

The third step in deconstructing Trump analyzes his mental swag and the way he uses it to connect with targeted audiences to trick or mislead them into believing that he is their “last-ditch” savior, of sorts. Although Trump has little in common with his targeted audiences, he is able to make them believe that they and he are alike because of skin color (and gender). As a privileged white male who has taken advantage of his white maleness to accumulate wealth and opportunities for success, he flaunts white male privileges, while conveying promises of equality for all white males and preying on their increasing racist feelings of malcontent and economic disfranchisement.

Trump politics is deceptive, but also delusional, as well as distrustful, dishonest, and destructive.Trump’s display of white male privileges, braggadocio, and mental swag also mesmerize and delude his audiences into wrongfully thinking that they too can be like Trump with, of course, Trump’s leadership. 

Trump supporters fail to note distinct differences between them and Trump.  The truth is that Trump is an heir to wealth and a member of the elite class. His grassroots supporters are not, as Trump, himself, has frequently reminded us. 

His supporters are poor, working class, often uneducated whites, including a preponderance of white males.  In spite of their historical longevity in our country and their white skin, their economic (and educational) circumstances have not improved much over those of their first ancestors who were outcasts and rejects from their European homelands.  Trump feeds them “pie in the sky” with coded rhetoric, making them believe that Trump and they share a common bond of abandonment, betrayal, loss, and disfranchisement. 

When Trump tells them that traditional politicians, including President Obama, are liars; have sold them out, have taken their country away from them, and have made them weak and cowardly, his use of the personal pronouns “we” and “us” appears to include them. Thus Trump’s grassroots supporters are distracted from seeing and hearing the truth about how disparate they and Trump are.

After all, as starters, the truth is that Trump does not even live on the ground—he lives up in a tower, while many of his grassroots supporters have never seen or been in a tower and certainly have never lived in one. They fail to see and accept the fact that Trump represents an oligarchy (the 1%) that does not include them and that controls our country’s government, power, and wealth.

Moreover, that caste scenario is not changing any time soon and is surely unlikely to change with the election of a President who is one of its own!

Trump’s bullying posture and coded language send loaded messages of anarchy to white malcontents. Because Trump has said and done anything he wanted to—no matter how outrageous—without dire consequences, white males who stand with him believe they too can do and say anything they want to without consequences or concern for anyone else. 

They believe they have to “take their country back” and let’s not leave out “take our race back”; so, in their minds, anything goes, including violence against one another! 

Trump’s bellicose nature promises to dominate his leadership style.  Hillary Clinton has said it best—that Trump does not have the temperament or leadership style to be the Commander-in-Chief of the free world in a very different and dangerous world today (or at any time, for that matter!). But that has not stopped Trump who believes that he must win at all costs and has no qualms about fighting dirty and hitting low to do so.  A political style, such as his, is low-down and dirty, as well as delusional! 

Trump’s egotistical, bullying, self-righteous, predatory persona appears indicative of cognitive and social obtuseness.  The world has changed; we have changed as a people and culture.  People are angry, violent, frustrated, dissatisfied, and nihilistic more than ever before any time most of us can remember. However, these emotions are not neoteric or new. They have always been boiling just beneath the surface for a long time, and are more quickly to erupt today, as we observe in everyday human behavior.

People are more rude, cutthroat, aggressive, hawkish, and unempathetic toward others.  Unfortunately, Trump’s manners and style encourage these behaviors in others. He appears not to be one to use best practices in conflict resolution to defuse anger and frustrations but would instead push them to their tipping points.

The Dallas Police Ambush is just one aftermath of Trumpism. The Trump fallout is dangerous for all of us, but especially for blacks and nonwhite immigrants, who are targeted in incidents of violent social unrest, as we have observed at Trump political rallies across the country and in the two, most recent, fatal, police shootings of two black men (Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, LA, and Philando Castile in St. Paul, MN) and the Dallas, TX, sniper retaliation protest against the police, resulting in five dead and six wounded police officers. 

Decades of economic and racial inequalities have created a powder keg of social unrest, waiting to erupt into violent explosions.  Whites are not the only malcontents, feeling left behind; and the police are not the only ones with guns and/or weapons.

The era we live in today is new; however, it is not devoid of history.  Racialized violence, deeply rooted in historic, systemic economic disparities, is a part of our history and sadly continues to exist today. 

On a historical note, we are reminded in Criminalizing a Race (McIntyre) of the racist, white supremacy context of why the police originated and how they have become a permanent fixture in society.  After freeing the slaves without a legal transitional plan for assisting them and integrating them into mainstream society, to quench white fears and exercise control and authority over blacks, now free to trespass on white spaces, white male vigilante groups were authorized and/or permitted to form posses to fill an urgent need now for public safety. 

Vigilante posses were authorized to police the marauding slaves, to protect white spaces, and to allay whites’ peace of mind over black retributions that could possibly be carried out against them by freed slaves. In the name of public safety and order, the white vigilante posses were permitted to use lawlessness, brute force, and terrorism to keep blacks in line and in subordinate positions to whites. In that regard, relationships between the police and blacks were adversarial from the outset; and, in many instances, they have changed very little over time because racist, white supremacy culture has not changed significantly in many places throughout the country. 

The pattern of change, when it comes to racist, white supremacy practices, is to take one step forward and three backward and repeatedly undo what was accomplished only to start over again. Culture is hard to change because it is passed on orally from generation to generation. Many police officers become policemen because they are attracted to an old police culture, which is out-of-step with changing times. 

Until our criminal laws and regulations clearly recognize distinctions between police cultural aberrations, resulting in police misconduct and legalized abuse of power and authority and culturally acceptable police conduct in line with modern times and social reform best practices that permit punishment of police officers (as for everyone else) who commit blatant murder and use racial double standards in determining which treatment people get, some police will continue to cross the line and get away with it because, as it stands now, there are no clear boundaries stopping them.

Racial profiling, racial stereotyping, and murdering or shooting unarmed persons, or using unnecessary brute force against individuals who present no direct threat or danger to the officer should be a criminal offense and punished as such.  Officers who commit crime under cultural aberrations should be consistently and uniformly prosecuted as a felon. 

Trump’s political rhetoric, white maleness, and braggadocio give carte blanche to angry, malcontent whites and blacks, trigger happy and ready to carry out vigilante attacks against perceived undesirable groups, who may be standing in the way of making regressive politics, in the 21st Century, a legalized reality in the 2016 Presidential election. 

On the other hand, likewise, Trump’s political rhetoric, white maleness, and braggadocio give carte blanche to angry, malcontent whites and blacks, trigger happy and ready to carry out vigilante attacks against perceived undesirable groups, who may be protesting against regressive, status quo politics, as in the case of Micah Johnson and the Police Ambush in Dallas, TX. 

In any case, Trump politics is a double-edged sword that we all can do without.  

Given the violent, nihilistic time and culture today when anger, frustrations, and disfranchisement are at tipping points, what next?  Absolutely, not Donald Trump as our 45th President of the United States of America in 2016—at a time when the American people should be about forward-looking, inclusive politics and not about returning to a regressive, nationalistic, homophobic time and culture, out of step with global realities—necessitating cooperation, harmony, and tolerance for the betterment of humankind and the preservation of all life on planet Earth.

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