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US Politics

To defeat the racist in the White House, the Democrats must win over Middle America

I have never shrunk from calling out Donald Trump here as mad, bad, and dangerous. And so it will come as no surprise if I take the opportunity this week to reflect on the true meaning of his explicitly racist rhetoric including his clear incitement to a rally of his supporters to echo his racism by their “Send her back” chanting. 

His loathsome capacity to distort the truth subsequently led him to attempt a ham-fisted row-back, a denial of involvement in and disassociation from their racist chanting.

But the camera does not lie.  As the “Send her back” chant rose in intensity, a satisfied smirk spread across his face.  He was as happy as the proverbial ‘pig in you know what’.  

One of the most extraordinary features of our satellite world is the opportunity to channel-hop between the crazy offerings of money-making TV evangelists from the Deep South.  Over the last five years I have noticed a growing tendency by these fraudulent parasites to mix fundamentalist Christianity with political support not merely for the State of Israel but for the hard-line Zionist expansionists who hold so much sway there.

It really is strange that Trumpism combines white American nationalism with extreme pro-Israel rhetoric to the point where the four congresswomen that Trump has decided to make his political quarry now face the charge not merely of hating America and everything that is good about America but hating Israel as well.

Trump is attempting to reverse the old KKK trope of identifying Negros and Jews as a common threat to White America.  Now the threat comes from Latinos, Central Americans, Muslims and East Coast Liberals.  

The good ole boys now think that to be pro-American you have to be pro-Zionist and anti-Palestinian.  

What, you might ask, are the Saudis, the Emiratis, and the Egyptians to make of this recasting of American patriotism?  

The answer of course is that the Saudis are only valued for their money.  Trump openly boasted that the House of Saud would not last three weeks without American support.  Those highly disrespectful remarks were uttered in the context of Trump negotiating a US$ 300 billion  armaments deals with the Saudis.  

Some of us have noticed that the UAE is quietly slipping out of its engagement with the Saudi war campaign in the Yemen.  This leaves Saudi Arabia as the only major player in the war against the Houthis.  The Saudis are now looking for logistical help to make up for the Emiratis who have turned on their heels.  The Saudis will, of course, continue to receive military assistance in the forms of bombs, bombers and missiles from the UK and the US. 

All of this, of course, is in the context of Trump’s evil absolution for Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, the man who very obviously planned the barbaric murder of Jamal Khasshoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbu

We haven’t heard yet what is happening to the defendants in the Saudi show trial arising out of that affair.  A botched murder at the instance of an embarrassed government would cause heads to roll in any society – at least metaphorically.  In Riyadh the heads will roll literally as well as metaphorically as the Crown Prince silences those who could ever testify to his personal involvement.  

Khasshoggi’s son was ritually humiliated when the Crown Prince publicly tendered his condolences to him and had them meekly accepted by the orphan he had created. 

That kind of savage abuse of power coupled with cruelty is what one might expect of a mediaeval despot from the Tudor era.  But we thought until recently that our western values of liberalism, democracy and the rule of law would keep us safe from such evil absolutism.  

Fools us! The message “Send her home”, echoing Roger Stone’s obnoxious change against Hilary Clinton “lock her up”, is the harbinger of vile and nasty rabble-raising by Trump.  It is the spirit of the lynch mob and it has to be called out for what it is.  

No surprises then that the pathetic brace of candidates currently seeking to outdo each other in obsequiousness to the United States in their pursuit of the Tory Party leadership could not bring themselves to condemn outright Trump’s words and actions as racist.  

Theresa May has the advantage of being de-mob happy and has, at least, made strong criticisms of President Trump’s recent behaviour. And so did Simon Coveney, to his credit.

Trump’s political thuggery on the domestic scene and his warmongering internationally makes the red carpet rolled out by her Majesty’s Government at Windsor not merely a rich red but a blood red in colour.  

Some commentators and some leading American democrats realise full well that Trump’s racist rhetoric is a cynical ploy to polarise American opinion in a manner which renders the Democrats appear un-American, dangerous and unelectable.  

Those people know that the blue tide which brought so many minority and socially diverse members into the House of Representatives carried with it a floating sea-mine that Trump hopes to explode during the next 15 months.  

Trump hopes to portray the Republicans as the only part which is genuinely all American and, at the same time, to portray the Democrats as anti-American 

The four congresswomen picked on by Trump may be brave, outspoken and often insightful about the injustices, economic and social, in today’s America.

But the problem is that brave, diverse and intelligent as they may be as critics of Trump’s America, they cannot safely be seen as the face, or indeed among the prominent faces of the Democrat Party.  Like it or not, American politics are highly impressionistic.  American political prejudices are hungry to be fed and easy to satisfy.

That is why the Democrats must, no matter what, select a team for the Presidential elections and for the swing state Senate elections next year that is manifestly mainstream, normal, and appealing to the ordinary Joes and Josephines of Middle America.

As someone who took great joy in the election of Barack Obama, I regret to say that the Democrats, in the forthcoming election, would lose a White House race if their candidate was a second Obama, even one just as skilled and meritorious as Obama was.  

No, the Democrats have to lean over backwards now to find someone who can not merely unite all shades of the Democrats themselves in the battle to oust Trump.  They must find a candidate who will unite Middle America in the same campaign.  Even if that candidate is less exciting and less novel than some of the very worthy team of would-be candidates now seeking the Democrats’ nomination, that is the price that must be paid if Trump is to be defeated.   

In this matter, and in a supreme struggle for the very soul of America, perceived unity of purpose must come ahead of diversity.

Photo credit: Leopaltik1242 - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

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