This year’s presidential sweepstakes in the form of the top two contenders continues to be one of the most disgraceful in recent memory—or anyone alive. We usually equate denial of freedom of speech and freedom of assembly to totalitarian and fascist dictatorships, but these are acts that are habitual features of Donald Trump rallies. The Nazi Brown Shirts and Italian fascist Black Shirts were nothing more than civilian thugs allowed to act out their violent aggression on those who were the target of state-sponsored hate; note how Trump not only incites violence among his supporters and justifies it when it occurs, but personally revels in it like some kind of a psychopath.
There is a saying that goes something like this: Those who forget the past are bound to repeat it. And if law enforcement looks the other way at these deliberate acts of hate—and is even complicit in it (at a recent North Carolina event, a black man who was punched in the face by a Trump supporter was the one wrestled to ground and arrested), how can it be interpreted as anything other than white people been given a free pass to act out their racist “frustrations” without fear of legal penalty?
And another example of how race hate has expanded beyond its “rational” discrimination boundaries is how—and this was perfectly predictable—illegal immigrant hate drifted into what it really was about all the time: a generalized hate against all Hispanics, allegedly “out to destroy America” in the words of another hate-monger, Pat Buchanan.
In the past, a “populist” race-hate monger like Trump would have been marginalized by the population as a whole (especially one that remembered the horrors of Nazi Germany and how it was allowed to happen), and drummed out before he even got started, but the Republicans have only themselves to blame for the way they deliberately played on the racial paranoia of their “base” against a black president for eight years. Barack Obama had campaigned on the promise that he would try to work with Republicans, but instead they almost immediately began their own campaign of deliberate smear and obstruction, playing especially on the extremist fanaticism of those who styled themselves as the “Tea Party.” These people never went away; they never do, but only re-emerge with the same “message” of xenophobia, nativism and racial “privilege” under a different guise, this time under Trump’s sinister “Make America Great” banner—a seemingly “whites only” place. Can it truly be a “surprise” that Republican leadership cannot now control the monster they created?
Is Hillary Clinton going change any of this? Her past history supporting policies that hurt minorities and her “pragmatic” dogma of do-nothing says “no,” but if you are a minority you can believe her self-serving rhetoric if you wish at your own peril. If Trump is the demagogue of hate, then Clinton is the demagogue of self-serving megalomania, with no “cause” but her own “significance”; any and all will either bend to her “entitlement,” or suffer everlasting hell-flames (or so says her radical feminist supporters). Comparisons to Trump somehow allows someone like Clinton, an utterly diabolical and habitual liar and deceiver with no sense of ethics whatever, to appear to be a “moderate” alternative.
Bernie Sanders continues to be the only candidate who offers an alternative to hate and hypocrisy, one that aims to lift all boats in this country. The “alternative” to that is Trump delivering the worst impulses in people (in both men and women) and Clinton engaging in a patronizing con-job on the objects of that hate for so long as their votes are useful to her.