Monday, May 9, 2016

Has GOP's Dog-whistle Politics Produced Donald Trump?

Is today's Republican Party still the party of Abraham Lincoln, the celebrated American president who fought the American civil war to end slavery in 1860s? How could the rank-and-file members of this party vote overwhelmingly for a racist xenophobic demagogue like Donald Trump?

Nixon's Southern Strategy:

Republican Party stopped being the party of Lincoln when it deployed its "southern strategy" after the Democrats pushed through civil rights legislation, including voting rights act, under Democrat President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1960s.

President Richard Nixon's political advisor Kevin Phillips, analyzing 1948-1968 voting trends, saw the angry Southern white voters as ripe for Republican picking. Phillips helped the Republican party shift its national base to the South by appealing to whites' disaffection with liberal democratic racial and welfare policies.

President Nixon used this "Southern strategy" by promoting affirmative action in employment, a "wedge" issue that later Republicans would exploit to split the Democratic coalition of white working class and black voters.  This strategy soon produced the racial party alignments that still exist today.

Dog-whistle Politics:

Conservative Party candidate Zac Goldsmith's unsuccessful campaign for the mayor of London has been attacked by his critics as a "dog-whistle campaign" aimed at defeating Sadiq Khan, his British Pakistan Muslim opponent, the Labor candidate.

Republican election campaigns, particularly those waged in southern and mid-western states of the United States, have also been described as "dog-whistle" campaigns for the use of code words to appeal to white American voters.

A Wikipedia definition of Dog-whistle politics goes as follows: It is political messaging employing coded language that appears to mean one thing to the general population but has an additional, different or more specific resonance for a targeted subgroup. The phrase is often used as a pejorative because of the inherently deceptive nature of the practice and because the dog-whistle messages are frequently distasteful to the general populace. The analogy is to a dog whistle, whose high-frequency whistle is heard by dogs but inaudible to humans.

Trump Phenomenon:

What distinguishes Donald Trump's campaign from those of other Republicans? The key difference is that Trump has switched from the use of coded language to overt declarations of xenophobia.

For example, he has openly called Mexicans "criminals" and "rapists" who are "bringing drugs" to America.

Trump has encouraged his supporters to use violence against protesters, including African-American protesters who have been beaten and bloodied in Trump rallies.

Before declaring his candidacy for president, Trump led the "birther" movement to question President Obama's birth certificate in an attempt to de-legitimize the first African-American president of the United States.

Trump has attacked Muslims and called for a ban on entry of all Muslims to the United States.

Trump's overt use of racism, xenophobia and Islamophobia has drawn support for him from well-known American racists including members of the Ku Klux Klan and prominent Muslim-haters.

Conservative Republicans:

Conservative Republican leaders like Paul Ryan respond to Trump's overtly racist rhetoric by claiming "it's not who we are". Given the Republican Party's extensive use of "Southern strategy", this claim by Ryan sounds hollow.

William F. Buckley, credited with the development of modern Republican Conservatism, did not hide his racism when he called white Americans as "the advanced race".

In a 1957 National Review editorial titled “Why the South Must Prevail", Buckley wrote that the Southern white community was “entitled to take such measures as are necessary to prevail, politically and culturally, in areas in which it does not predominate numerically?”

So Ryan's and his fellow Republicans argument that Republican Conservatism does not condone racism is just flat wrong.

American Demographic Changes:

What Trump and his fellow racists in the Republican Party do  not realize is that today's America is very different from 1960s America in terms of demographics. Whites now account for a little less than 70% of the US electorate. And, even though the majority of white voters still vote Republican, this majority is not enough to win presidential elections.

Here's why Trump's win in November 2016 is unlikely: John McCain and  Mitt Romney, the last two Republican candidates since 2008, won the majority of white votes but failed to win the general election. Each of them got 60% of the 70% white votes that add up to 42% of the overall electorate. In addition, each of them got only 6% of Black votes and about 26% of the Asian and Hispanic votes that prevented them from gaining the overall majority needed to win. Trump's campaign rhetoric has managed to anger all minority groups, particularly Mexicans and Muslims. He will get even fewer minority votes than McCain and Romney polled in the last two general elections.


Is Trump's campaign going to fail in the United States just like Goldsmith's Trump-like campaign has failed in London? Goldsmith's tactics of fear and division have backfired with a landslide win for Mayor Sadiq Khan in London. It's clearly a triumph of hope over fear, unity over division. Will Americans take their cue from Londoners to deal a historic defeat to Donald Trump on Tuesday, November 8, 2016? Let all Americans of good-will come together to make it happen.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Sadiq Khan Hails Triumph of Hope Over Fear

Trump Phenomenon in America

Is Trump Getting Foreign Policy Advice From Husain Haqqani?

Trump's Muslim Ban

What Can Pakistani-Americans Do to Stop Trump?

Silicon Valley Opposes Islamophobia


Riaz Haq said...

Divine intervention? #Indian #Hindus ask gods to help #Trump

Donald Trump may find it tough to get Republican leaders behind his campaign, but he's got some faraway fans trying to get the gods on his side.

Around a dozen members of a right-wing Indian Hindu group lit a ritual fire and chanted mantras Wednesday asking the Hindu gods to help Trump win the U.S. presidential election.

While Trump has dominated the Republican primary race to decide the party's candidate for the November election, his calls for temporarily banning Muslims from America and cracking down on extremist groups abroad have earned him some fans in India.

"The whole world is screaming against Islamic terrorism, and even India is not safe from it," said Vishnu Gupta, founder of the Hindu Sena nationalist group. "Only Donald Trump can save humanity."

Members of the group gathered on a blanket spread out in a New Delhi protest park along with a collection of statues depicting gods including Shiva and Hanuman — as well as photos of a smiling Trump.

Above them hung a banner declaring support for Trump "because he is hope for humanity against Islamic terror."

The group chanted Sanskrit prayers asking the gods to favor Trump in the election, and threw offerings such as seeds, grass and ghee — or clarified butter — into a small ritual fire.

Anonymous said...

What's wrong in it? Never seen you writing an article where Muslims mullahs praying for US or Israels destructions which is much more common.

Riaz Haq said...

On Facebook, #Trump's longtime butler calls for #Obama to be killed. #Bigotry #Racism … via @motherjones

Anthony Senecal, who worked as Donald Trump's butler for 17 years before being named the in-house historian at the tycoon's Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, has repeatedly published posts on his Facebook page that express profound hatred for President Barack Obama and declare he should be killed.

On Wednesday, Senecal put up a post that read:

To all my friends on FB, just a short note to you on our pus headed "president" !!!! This character who I refer to as zero (0) should have been taken out by our military and shot as an enemy agent in his first term !!!!! Instead he still remains in office doing every thing he can to gut the America we all know and love !!!!! Now comes Donald J Trump to put an end to the corruption in government !!!! The so called elite, who are nothing but common dog turds from your front lawn are shaking in their boots because there is a new Sheriff coming to town, and the end to their corruption of the American people (YOU) is at hand !!!! I cannot believe that a common murder is even allowed to run (killery clinton) OR that a commie like bernie is a also allowed to also run !!!! Come on America put your big boy pants on---this election you have a choice---GET YOUR ASS OUT AND VOTE !!!! Thank you !!!!

Though Senecal's Facebook page is public, this message could only be read by his Facebook friends. In an interview with Mother Jones, Senecal confirms that those were his words: "I wrote that. I believe that."


Asked why he has posted messages calling for Obama to be killed, Senecal says, "I cannot stand the bastard." He continues: "I don't believe he's an American citizen. I think he's a fraudulent piece of crap that was brought in by the Democrats." Trump's historian is a birther. Senecal notes that he has been suspended in the past on Facebook for publishing material that violated the service's guidelines.

Riaz Haq said...

#Muslims and #Mexicans join hands, break bread in Orange County, to defeat #Trump

The event had the look of feel-good cultural diplomacy. Rida Hamida, a Muslim of Syrian descent, led about 30 Latinos on a tour of Anaheim’s Little Arabia.

They cracked jokes, sipped Arabic coffee from tiny cups, asked about hookah bars, and broke bread – or sangak – over their cultural similarities and differences.

But the gathering organized by Hamida in late spring had a more practical purpose: It was an effort by local Muslims to make inroads with another, much larger group that often finds itself in the political crosshairs.

As Donald Trump has risen to become the presumptive Republican candidate for president, Muslims and Mexicans have been a constant subject of his speeches as he talks about barring refugees and immigrants from Muslim countries and building a wall along the Mexico border.

At a San Diego rally last month, Trump accused U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel, who is presiding over a class-action lawsuit filed against his real estate investing program, Trump University, of being biased because he’s of “Mexican” heritage. Curiel was born in Indiana. Shortly after, Trump suggested a Muslim judge would probably also be biased toward him.

“These are dark days for our community,” Hamida said. “Trump is rising while we’re being demonized. Muslims are told they can't enter the country. Latinos are accused of being criminals. But if we come together for a movement, we can stay strong.”

In Orange County, immigrants who trace their roots to the Middle East and other predominantly Muslim countries number about 25,000, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. But Latinos make up more than 1 million of the county’s roughly 3 million residents.

And over the years, Latinos have built up a much wider network than Muslims, Asian Americans and other minority groups – not including the black community – for flexing political muscle.

“We are natural allies. Our numbers are going to matter together,” says Ada Briceno, interim director of Orange County Communities Organized for Responsible Development (OCCORD). “More than ever, it's necessary to join forces because this kind of election rhetoric is disgusting.”

Jose Moreno, a longtime Anaheim resident who heads Los Amigos, a countywide alliance focusing on politics and civil rights, said the Latino community in Orange County knows “what it means to be targeted with hate,” particularly in the past, when it was much smaller. But even though most Latinos in the country were born in the U.S., “we’re still treated like newcomers.”

In past years, Latino activists reached out to Arab Americans after suing the city of Anaheim to allow district-based elections, in which council members must live in the area they represent. Officials promised to put a measure on the ballot allowing both communities to collaborate, drawing district maps, and promoting Little Arabia. It passed last year.

Moreno, Hamida and other Muslims and Latino residents showed up at an Anaheim council meeting in May where leaders debated a resolution to condemn Trump’s rhetoric.

Lou DeSipio, a political science professor at UC Irvine specializing in ethnic politics, said different ethnic and racial groups have long banded together at times when they feel discriminated against by the government, society or both.

In the 1920s, Polish, Italian, Greek and Eastern European Jewish immigrants made alliances, he said.

And Latinos, Asian Americans and Native Americans joined blacks in the 1960s in the run up to the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act and the Fair Housing Act of 1968.

“This is something that goes back decades for people who feel excluded or who realize that shared interests can create something more meaningful,” DeSipio said. “Would they have been as successful working individually? Probably not.”

Riaz Haq said...

Global 1%, #Asia Middle Class Gained Most from #Globalization, not Middle Class in #America, #Europe. #Trump #Bexit

It is by now well-known that the period from the mid-1980s to today has been the period of the greatest reshuffle of personal incomes since the Industrial Revolution. It’s also the first time that global inequality has declined in the past two hundred years. The “winners” were the middle and upper classes of the relatively poor Asian countries and the global top 1%. The (relative) “losers” were the people in the lower and middle parts of rich countries’ income distributions, according to detailed household surveys data from more than 100 countries between 1988 and 2008, put together and analyzed by Christoph Lakner and myself, as well as my book Global Inequality: A New Approach for the Age of Globalization, which includes updated information to 2011.

The chart above, the Global Incidence Curve, shows the world’s population along the horizontal axis, ranked from the poorest to the richest percentile; real income gains between 1988 and 2008 (adjusted for countries’ price levels) are shown on the vertical axis.

The expansion of incomes around the median of the global income distribution was so overwhelming that it ensured global inequality’s decline — despite the real income growth of the top 1% and rising national inequalities in many countries. Real incomes more than doubled between 1988 and 2011 (though the extension to 2011 is not shown in this chart), a shift that involved large swaths of people (almost a third of the world population, most of them from Asia). And although our data for the past are quite tentative and in some cases not much better than guesses, it is still the first time since 1820 that global inequality is deemed to have gone down, from approximately 69 Gini points to around 64. (On the Gini scale, 100 would be complete inequality while 0 would be complete equality).


The intuition behind this result is easy to grasp. In most countries, and especially in the big ones like China, India, the United States, and Russia, national inequalities have risen. So if people are more focused on national inequality, their concerns about what is happening at home will dominate the “objective” reduction of inequality across the globe.

This may be politically a more meaningful way to look at global inequality, and it leads to a somber conclusion. Even if globalization were to be associated with an absolute real income improvement for all, or almost all, and reduced global inequality, if it is also associated with rising national inequalities, the unhappiness stemming from the latter may dominate. Globalization may be “felt” to produce a more unequal world, even if it objectively does not. Then the very facts that are globally hopeful and reassuring may have domestic consequences that are the very opposite.

Riaz Haq said...

The One Demographic That Is Hurting #HillaryClinton: White Men Without College Degrees Overwhlemingly Favor #Trump

In six polls conducted this month, Mr. Trump leads among white registered voters without a degree by a margin of 58 percent to 30 percent. This has been true, to varying degrees, for the entire year. It’s a significant improvement over Mr. Romney in 2012, who led in pre-election polls by a 55-to-37 margin among this group.

In some new polls that are showing Mr. Trump with an overall lead, he has even larger leads among white working-class voters. A Monday CNN poll, for instance, had him ahead by three percentage points nationwide with a 66-to-29 edge among this group. The last live interview poll to show Mr. Trump ahead before the convention, an ABC/Washington Post poll, showed Mr. Trump with a 65-to-29 lead among the group. Conversely, Mrs. Clinton leads when she holds down her losses among these voters.

The notion that Mr. Trump could remain competitive through gains among one group may counter expectations. The prevailing story line of recent elections held that Democrats overcame weakness among white working-class voters with sweeping demographic shifts to a more diverse electorate. This framework implied that white working-class voters had been reduced to just a fraction of the electorate, and that the Republicans had little room for gains among them.

But white working-class voters represented about 44 percent of 2012 voters, and President Obama was not especially weak among them. Across the North, he ran even with, or ahead of, John Kerry in 2004 and Al Gore in 2000 with that group. In raw numbers, there were more white-working class voters who supported Mr. Obama than nonwhite voters or college-educated white voters.

Mr. Trump has adopted a message all but perfectly devised to attract these voters. He has a populist message on trade and immigration. He has abandoned key elements of the Republican agenda that hurt the party among white working-class Democrats, like support for cutting the social safety net.

Mr. Trump may also be benefiting from gender. Analysts have tended to treat the “gender gap” as if it always helps Democrats; Democrats are usually said to have an advantage among women, not a disadvantage among men. In truth, there’s no way to distinguish between the two. Mrs. Clinton’s big drop-off among less-educated white men at least raises the possibility that she faces a significant gender penalty among this group.

It is also possible that less-educated white men are reacting to rapid changes in cultural and economic status, completely independent of Mrs. Clinton’s gender. No liberal arts college class on “power, privilege and hierarchy” will tell you that white working-class men have become a disadvantaged group.

But many white working-class men do not feel privileged — not in a society where power and status are often vested in well-educated elites along the coasts. From their standpoint, the Democratic Party might look like an identity politics patronage system — affirmative action, immigration, “political correctness,” gender or whatever else.

Regardless of the exact sources of Mr. Trump’s strength, his narrow but deep appeal has the potential to shake up the electoral map. The extent that Democrats are dependent on white working-class voters varies considerably by state. So, too, does the extent to which Republicans depend on college-educated white voters.

Riaz Haq said...

Half-#Indian man escorted out of #Trump rally CNN Politics

A man who identified himself as half-Indian was escorted out of a Donald Trump rally on Thursday out of concern that he was a protester, but the man insisted he was a Trump supporter and said he feels that he was racially profiled.

Jake Anantha, an 18-year-old from Charlotte, was approached by a member of Trump's security team and then ushered out by police. He was told that he resembled another man who had previously disrupted Trump rallies.
"I told him I've never been to another rally in my life," Anantha said. "I'm a huge Trump supporter. I would never protest against Trump."
Anantha later tweeted that he would be voting for Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson in November.
"I will definitely be voting Johnson on November 8th," he wrote Friday.

Riaz Haq said...

Berkeley Rep casts a vote with Sinclair Lewis' ‘It Can’t Happen Here’ featuring Trump-like main character Buzz Windrip:

“We’ve got to change our system!” “Smash the crooked labor leaders!” “Make America a proud, rich land again!” They sound like the rants of a certain current Republican nominee. But they’re actually the ravings of Sen. Berzelius “Buzz” Windrip, the villainous presidential candidate in Sinclair Lewis’ 1935 novel “It Can’t Happen Here.”
The tale’s uncanny similarities to the current election, with demagogue Windrip pandering to the electorate’s basest instincts, inspired Berkeley Rep to adapt the novel into a new play that opens the company’s season on Friday, Sept. 30.
After their originally scheduled play dropped out, Artistic Director Tony Taccone and Associate Director Lisa Peterson decided to mount a political work in parallel with the election. “It was February,” Taccone recalls in a sunny room at Berkeley Rep’s offices. “Trump was gaining enough traction that you were like, ‘Oh, that’s curious.’ The book started to get referenced in articles about him.”
“I Googled ‘it can’t happen here,’ thinking, is that a thing?” says Peterson, who also directs the production. “Then we read that it had a theatrical history.” They had unwittingly dusted off an 80-year-old exemplar of political performance.

Lewis is better known for the novels “Main Street,” “Elmer Gantry” and “Babbitt,” as well as a 1930 Nobel Prize in Literature and a 1926 Pulitzer Prize that Lewis declined for “Arrowsmith.”
But “It Can’t Happen Here,” a cautionary tale about the rise of fascism through the American democratic process, was a best-seller in an era when Mussolini led Italy and Hitler was consolidating power in Germany. The complacent American populace is represented by protagonist Doremus Jessup, a Vermont newspaperman who realizes too late that it can, indeed, happen here.
Capitalizing on the book’s popularity, the Federal Theatre Project, an endeavor of the Works Progress Administration, commissioned Lewis and screenwriter John C. Moffitt to adapt it for the stage. And in a stroke of ambition not seen before or since, it premiered in 22 theaters, across 18 states, on Oct. 27, 1936.
Each locale interpreted the script in its own way, including a San Francisco version peppered with air-raid sound effects, Yiddish adaptations in New York and Los Angeles, an African American version in Seattle, and a Spanish translation in Tampa, Fla. (Lewis himself did a turn as Jessup in a Massachusetts summer-stock run in 1938.) Along with providing theater professionals with several months of desperately needed work, the productions entertained more than 500,000 people nationwide and doubled as antifascist propaganda.
But, Taccone says, “It was a terrible play. It was super-melodramatic and didn’t really tie to the book.” Many critics savaged it for those same reasons, but John Hobart praised the San Francisco production, presented at the Columbia Theater (now the ACT’s Geary Theater), in his review for The Chronicle. Describing it as a “taut drama” and “probably the most ‘important’ production the Federalites have yet put on,” he also made the wide-eyed observation that Windrip “combines the chief characteristics of Hitler, Mussolini and Stalin with some of the less admirable qualities particular to the third-rate American politician.”
Nonetheless, Taccone and Peterson decided to go back to the source. “The novel’s got a very witty voice, and Lewis’ understanding of American politics was fantastic,” he says, and he and screenwriter Bennett S. Cohen wrote a new script with today’s social climate in mind. “The messenger was different back then,” he explains. “The world had not encountered Hitler yet, but now we are so aware. We talked a lot about how this (story) can still be impactful.”