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...

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.”

Riaz Haq said...

NPR Reporter Asma Khalid's Notebook : What It Was Like As A #Muslim To Cover The Election. #Trump #Islamophobia @NPR

Sometime in early 2016 between a Trump rally in New Hampshire, where a burly man shouted something at me about being Muslim, and a series of particularly vitriolic tweets that included some combination of "raghead," "terrorist," "bitch" and "jihadi," I went into my editor's office and wept.

I cried for the first (but not the last) time this campaign season.

Through tears, I told her that if I had known my sheer existence — just the idea of being Muslim — would be a debatable issue in the 2016 election, I would never have signed up to do this job.

To friends and family, I looked like a masochist. But I was too invested to quit.

I was hired by NPR to cover the intersection of demographics and politics. My job required crisscrossing the country to talk to all kinds of voters. I attended rallies and town halls for nearly every candidate on both sides of the aisle, and I met people in their homes, churches and diners.

I am also visibly, identifiably Muslim. I wear a headscarf. So I stand out. And during this campaign, that Muslim identity became the first (and sometimes only) thing people saw, for good or for bad.

"Don't be a martyr"

Sometimes I met voters who questioned the 3-D nature of my life, people who viscerally hated the idea of me.

One night an old journalist friend called me and said, "Look, don't be a martyr."

It was a strange comment to me, since the harassment seemed more like a nuisance than a legitimate threat. And I knew if I was ever legitimately concerned, I had two options: I could ask for a producer to travel with me, or I wouldn't wear a headscarf. (And a couple of times I didn't.) Without a hijab, I'm incognito, light-skinned enough that I can pass as some sort of generic ethnic curiosity.

For many journalists, the 2016 campaign was the story of a lifetime. And it was indeed the story of a lifetime for me, too, but a story with real-life repercussions.

And I hung on, because the story of Donald Trump's America is not some foreign story of a faraway place; it's my homeland.

Hoosier roots

I'm from Indiana. We grew up in a mostly Democratic county. But my town was predominantly white and fairly conservative, a place where the Ten Commandments are engraved in marble outside the old County Courthouse.

I loved our childhood — summers playing basketball, winters sledding. We weren't outsiders — I sold Girl Scout cookies, was captain of the tennis team.

We were part of the club — or so we thought.

Riaz Haq said...

George W Bush:

“Bigotry in any form is blasphemy against the American creed......Too often, we judge other groups by their worst examples while judging ourselves by our best intentions..... Bigotry seems emboldened. Our politics seem more vulnerable to conspiracy theories and outright fabrication."

Our identity as a nation – unlike many other nations – is not determined by geography or ethnicity, by soil or blood. Being an American involves the embrace of high ideals and civic responsibility. We become the heirs of Thomas Jefferson by accepting the ideal of human dignity found in the Declaration of Independence. We become the heirs of James Madison by understanding the genius and values of the U.S. Constitution. We become the heirs of Martin Luther King, Jr., by recognizing one another not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.

This means that people of every race, religion, and ethnicity can be fully and equally American. It means that bigotry or white supremacy in any form is blasphemy against the American creed. (Applause.)
And it means that the very identity of our nation depends on the passing of civic ideals to the next generation.

We need a renewed emphasis on civic learning in schools. And our young people need positive role models. Bullying and prejudice in our public life sets a national tone, provides permission for cruelty and bigotry, and compromises the moral education of children. The only way to pass along civic values is to first live up to them.

Finally, the Call to Action calls on the major institutions of our democracy, public and private, to consciously and urgently attend to the problem of declining trust.

For example, our democracy needs a media that is transparent, accurate and fair. Our democracy needs religious institutions that demonstrate integrity and champion civil discourse. Our democracy needs institutions of higher learning that are examples of truth and free expression.

In short, it is time for American institutions to step up and provide cultural and moral leadership for this nation.

Riaz Haq said...

#AlabamaSenateRace results highlight deep #racial divisions in #Trump's #America.

White Men 23% for Doug Jones 74% for Roy Moore

White Women 32% for Jones 65% for Moore

Black Men 92% for Jones 7% for Moore

Black Women 97% for Jones 3% for Moore

Riaz Haq said...

Opinion | Ukraine news coverage exposes racist biases in Western media - The Washington Post

By H.A. Hellyer
February 28, 2022 at 12:42 p.m. EST

H.A. Hellyer, a Carnegie Endowment for International Peace scholar, is a senior fellow at the Royal United Services Institute and Cambridge University.

“This double standard is so evident in how we as Westerners engage in intl relations…we dehumanize non-White populations, diminishing their importance, and that leads to one thing: the degrading of their right to live in dignity.”


“This isn’t a place, with all due respect, like Iraq or Afghanistan, that has seen conflict raging for decades,” Charlie D’Agata, a CBS correspondent in Kyiv, told his colleagues back in the studio. “You know, this is a relatively civilized, relatively European — I have to choose those words carefully, too — city where you wouldn’t expect that or hope that it’s going to happen.”

Putin’s criminal invasion of Ukraine has generated an inspiring wave of solidarity around the world, but for many — especially non-White observers — it has been impossible to tune out the racist biases in Western media and politics.

D’Agata’s comments generated a swift backlash — and he was quick to apologize — but he was hardly the only one. A commentator on a French news program said, “We’re not talking about Syrians fleeing bombs of the Syrian regime backed by Putin; we’re talking about Europeans leaving in cars that look like ours to save their lives.” On the BBC, a former deputy prosecutor general of Ukraine declared, “It’s very emotional for me because I see European people with blue eyes and blond hair ... being killed every day.” Even an Al Jazeera anchor said, “These are not obviously refugees trying to get away from areas in the Middle East,” while an ITV News reporter said, “Now the unthinkable has happened to them, and this is not a developing, Third World nation; this is Europe.”

British pundit Daniel Hannan joined the chorus in the Telegraph. “They seem so like us. That is what makes it so shocking. War is no longer something visited upon impoverished and remote populations. It can happen to anyone,” he wrote.

The implication for anyone reading or watching — particularly anyone with ties to a nation that has also seen foreign intervention, conflict, sanctions and mass migration — is clear: It’s much worse when White Europeans suffer than when it’s Arabs or other non-White people. Yemenis, Iraqis, Nigerians, Libyans, Afghans, Palestinians, Syrians, Hondurans — well, they are used to it.

The insults went beyond media coverage. A French politician said Ukrainian refugees represent “high-quality immigration.” The Bulgarian prime minister said Ukrainian refugees are “intelligent, they are educated. ... This is not the refugee wave we have been used to, people we were not sure about their identity, people with unclear pasts, who could have been even terrorists.”

It’s as if, in our anger and horror at the scenes of Russia’s aggression, we are incapable of recognizing a simple fact: We’ve seen this before.

A Vanity Fair special correspondent denied precisely that in a tweet: “This is arguably the first war we’ve seen (actually seen in real-time) take place in the age of social media, and all of these heart-wrenching images make Russia look utterly terrible.”

The tweet was erased — like the experiences of many who have documented the horrors of war in recent decades on social media and beyond.

Putin’s military also intervened ferociously in Syria, backing a murderous regime. That war unleashed a level of mass death, suffering, destruction and displacement not yet seen in Ukraine — but the West’s response was far less empathetic. The same can be said of the U.S. invasions and military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq; the catastrophic Saudi-led war in Yemen; the Israeli occupation of the Palestinians.

Riaz Haq said...

#Trump calls for scrapping of the #US #Constitution as a means to reinstall himself into the presidency. Trump also called for a do-over of the #presidential race that he lost in a landslide to President Joe #Biden. #Democracy #America

Former President Donald Trump on Saturday morning raged on his anti-Twitter app Truth Social about non-existent "fraud and deception" in the November 8th midterm elections – and he proposed scrapping the United States Constitution as a means to reinstall himself into the presidency. Trump also called for a do-over of the race that he lost in a landslide to President Joe Biden.

"So, with the revelation of MASSIVE & WIDESPREAD FRAUD & DECEPTION in working closely with Big Tech Companies, the DNC, & the Democrat Party, do you throw the Presidential Election Results of 2020 OUT and declare the RIGHTFUL WINNER, or do you have a NEW ELECTION? A Massive Fraud of this type and magnitude allows for the termination of all rules, regulations, and articles, even those found in the Constitution," Trump "truthed."

There is no evidence of widespread voter fraud in either the 2020 or 2022 elections, let alone that which was pervasive enough to affect the results.

"Our great 'Founders' did not want, and would not condone, False & Fraudulent Elections!" Trump added. The authors of the Constitution – many of whom were traffickers of enslaved human beings – only wanted white male landowners to vote.