Back then it wasn't called Trumpism. In fact, the accused president was still in school when what we now recognize as Trumpism was born. And like so much of the Republican Party today, that ideology had Ronald Reagan as theirs dad. Even though Barry Goldwater In 1964, he became the first Republican presidential candidate to fight civil rights. In Reagan's successful bid for California governor against Liberal incumbent Pat Brown in 1966, Republican breed bait appeared in its modern form.
If you haven't seen it yet, I highly recommend checking it out The Reagans, a new four-part documentary about Showtime from director Matt Tyrnauer. Prof. Ian Haney López – whose outstanding and important job I have quoted Before – appears to talk about Reagan's dog whistling during the race. Tyrnauer explained why he did the series.
"The Republican Party has consistently used Reagan for its moral authority, but I think there are many aspects of the Reagan presidency that are overlooked and cannot be used as the basis for a moral argument for Republicanism," says Tyrnauer esquire. The "tremendous amount of dog whistling racism that came from Reagan's own lips," he says, "was under-reported in time and was practically struck from the popular imagination."
(…) “One reason I did the series was so that people could understand the history of this kind of political manipulation and that they don't have to have a face that's as gonzo or bizarre or orange as Donald Trump's . Says Tyrnauer. “It could actually come in a more posh form. And in fact it did. "
For the purposes of this piece, let me refer you to that second episode, which primarily focuses on how Reagan repeatedly used racial rhetoric to exploit white Californians' fear and resentment of African Americans starting in that 1966 campaign. By doing speech When Reagan started his campaign, he made it very clear what kind of politics he would practice. Speaking of crime, he said, "Our city streets are jungle trails after dark" and twice quoted his support for "law and order". There are clear echoes in Trump's "law and order" rhetoric today.
The point of this kind of Dog whistling policyOf course, a plausible denial should be guaranteed if the person who employs them is accused of racism. “I didn't say anything about black people. I'm not a racist!” Reagan could say – and according to his son Ron Reagan Jr. in the above documentary, he did. As López specified to esquireSuch racial rhetoric “includes appeals intended to spark racist fears and a rejection of the person doing such a thing.” As blatant racism became increasingly unacceptable – at least in public – such clever depictions of bigotry became more and more important.
That denial for Reagan disappeared, albeit posthumously, with the recent release of tapes from the Nixon White House. In 1971 the gipper was recorded make a bald racist statement during a telephone conversation with the then president. The supposedly color-blind Reagan spoke of Tanzanian diplomats who danced a solemn dance after a vote at the United Nations: “To see these monkeys from these African countries, damn it. They are still uncomfortable wearing shoes. "
In addition to public and private rhetoric, there were also Reagan's racists political positions. Before becoming governor of California in 1966, he denounced the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. He also opposed a California law passed in 1963, the Rumford Fair Housing Act, which searched End discrimination in home sales and rentals. On many occasions, he stated his stance on residential property discrimination laws as follows: "If a person wishes to discriminate against Negroes in selling or renting their property, it is their right to do so." As for concern about the right of all Americans to equal treatment in business concerns, Reagan showed none.
The Rumford Fair Housing Act was repealed a year later by a referendum, Proposition 14. The state's Supreme Court subsequently ruled the referendum unconstitutional – just six months before the 1966 gubernatorial elections. The battle for the Rumford Act and Reagan's opposition to it was over central to competition. The gipper sentenced it specifically as an attempt to "give a section of our population a right at the expense of the fundamental rights of all our citizens". In other words, Reagan showed that a Republican can run his way to victory. Let's call it Trump Beta.
All of this happened years before Richard Nixon's 1968 campaign and the famous “Strategy of the South” which addressed white fears of racial integration. Reagan had the blueprint set, and he did it in Nixon's home state, winning a governor race that Tricky Dick himself lost in 1962 when he was moderate against the same Pat Brown Reagan beat. Don't think Nixon didn't notice.
A items by doing Guardian details how Nixon Trump gave the blueprint to pursue racial bait when both men dealt with law and order. We all know what that phrase meant, and so does Nixon. As his chief of staff H. R. Haldemann wrote In his diary on the strategy of the south: “(Nixon) emphasized that one has to face the fact that the whole problem is really the blacks. The key is to develop a system that will recognize this without appearing to be. "
In terms of Trump's prediction, Nixon made more than just racing bait. His White House was the first Republican house to embark on the kind of scorching, sweeping attack on the media that Trump has made his trademark. Although Nixon and his people did not use the term "false news" or referred to the media as an "enemy of the people", there were strong parallels with these Trumpian tropes. For example, there was that in 1969 by Vice President Spiro Agnew denunciation the network news of a speech his boss gave on the Vietnam War. It was more subtle than Trump's constant whine "unfair" about the media, but the feelings were exactly the same.
In 1976, Reagan made his second bid for the White House (a challenge for Nixon in 1968 went nowhere, though it won over conservatives). This time it went far beyond the south and far beyond the issue of integration – which was divisible enough across the country, including northern cities like Boston.
Smilin’Ronnie used racially encoded language that mirrored his "jungle" comments from California. Reagan over and over again sentenced a "welfare queen" that he described once called "a woman in Chicago (who) has 80 names, 30 addresses, 12 Social Security cards, and collects veteran benefits for four non-existent deceased husbands." He went on: “And she collects social security on her cards. She has Medicaid, gets food stamps, and collects welfare under each of her names. Her tax-free cash income alone is over $ 150,000. “He never stated the race of women" in Chicago ", but Reagan's audience got the message. It is worth noting that the story he was telling had small base in fact another parallel to Trump.
There were also the apocrypha story Reagan told Southern white audience about a "kicking young buck" who has bought "a T-bone steak" with his food stamps ("buck" is more of an old-fashioned racist bow, like proven as David Duke used it in 1975). Reagan said He understood why it would be frustrating to see this while "you waited in line to buy hamburgers". This was further than even Goldwater and Nixon in terms of Publicity At least rhetoric.
In 1980 Reagan ran again and this time he went all the way. En route, he gave a speech in Neshoba County, Mississippi, where three civil rights volunteers — James Cheney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schewerner — were present in 1964 murdered because they registered black voters. What did Reagan say there? He declared: "I believe in the rights of states." As Bob Herbert written down by doing New York Timeswas the meaning of the statement "unmistakable". Decades back, after Goldwater in 1964, to Strom Thurmond, who ran for openly pro-segregationist president in 1948 as a "Democrat of the Rights of the States" platformIt was crystal clear what the “rights of states” referred to. Reagan's saying those words in Neshoba County only made the dog whistle come through so much louder.
Ronald Reagan with Lee Atwater in the Oval Office
Fast forward to 1988 and to George H.W. Bush. He was the "kinder, gentler" Republican who ran the despicable "Willie Horton" ad. Horton was an African American who had committed a variety of violent crimes while on vacation from prison in Massachusetts while Bush's opponent Michael Dukakis was governor. The Bush team, like previous dog whistling racists, knew exactly what they were doing. Campaign Manager Lee Atwater said The aim of the advertisement was to make Horton “Dukaki's running mate” in the eyes of the voters. Michael Nelson, a historian who wrote about the Bush presidency, specified "In a way, the Willie Horton ad is the 1.0 version of Trump's relentless tweets and comments on African Americans."
Atwater may not be as big a name as Reagan or Bush, but he was at the center of Republican racial bait in the 1980s and acted behind the scenes. In a famous, but at the time anonymous year, 1981, he also summarized the development of dog whistling tactics over time interview (The source was revealed in 1999, eight years after his death).
Are you not quoting me? They begin in 1954 with the words: "N **** r, n **** r, n **** r." Until 1968 you can't say "n **** r" – it hurts you, it fails. So you say things like, uh, forced bus rides, state rights and all those things, and you get so abstract. Now you're talking about tax cuts, and all of these things you are talking about are totally economic things, and a by-product of that is that blacks get hurt worse than whites … "We want to cut that" is a lot more abstract than even busing- Thing, um, and damn much more abstract than "N **** r, n **** r".
Trump has also strengthened Republicans' stance on feminism and women's rights (including abortion rights) and traditional gender roles dating back to 1980 when the party – after Reagan's nomination –came out against the gender equality change that she had previously supported for four decades. But beyond political positions lurks an attitude about what men and women should be and represent: toxic masculinity. Its acolytes love it have fun the supposed femininity of the Democrats as if it were a bad thing.
In terms of science – as best seen with respect to climate change – Republicans rejected objectively verifiable facts long before Trump. Back in 2011, one of them – former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman – waswarned that his party became "the anti-science party". That hasn't always been the case, and Trump isn't the first Republican to deny the accuracy of the scientific consensus. It's just a short step from climate denialism to Trump gripe about injecting bleach and to take Hydroxychloroquine Used to Cure COVID-19 as well Pouring out "I disagree" with the message from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention About Masks, which claims that face coverings "also cause problems". This particular element of Trumpism is killing Americans right now.
On January 5, the Georgians will vote in two runoff elections in the Senate. This will end campaigns that used Republican breed bait as usual. the agenda. These competitions are incredibly important, most directly because they determine which party holds the majority in the Senate. We don't want Joe Biden to be that first Democratic President for over a century (since Grover Cleveland in 1885) to enter the White House without his party having a majority in either house of Congress.
But it's not just about the Senate majority, important as that is. Democratic victories in one or, dare we dream, both races in Georgia would be a much stronger argument for anyone challenging Trumpism in the Republican Party in the future. The Republican losses will open the space further to argue that doing so is damaging the party in the election – especially in more diverse areas.
But who could lead such a challenge? We've seen some Republicans against Trump and everything he stands for, and I'm not just talking about the Lincoln Project. Mitt Romney became the first To elect a Senator in History to convict and remove from office a president of his own party. That's not nothing. He is spoken to others Opportunities also, if too often as a lonely voice.
In her honor, Rep. Liz Cheney from Wyoming. If John McCain were still alive, I think he would be making an important contribution – he kept doing it More as an opportunity including while He was the party's title leader. After publicly supporting Joe Biden, could former Governor John Kasich continue to influence Republican voters, at least in Ohio? One can hope. Given that Trump and his 126 Allies Fellow traitors among Congress Republicans have now been unsuccessful approved With the overthrow of democracy, the anti-Trumpists must step up their game, and they must do it quickly.
I don't think the severity of events with the GOP has already materialized for most people, but every political scientist on my timeline speaks that way. https://t.co/kc9H0UFiJZ
– Christopher Ingraham (@_cingraham) December 11, 2020
If these and other voices are to be successful in the fight against Trumpism within the Republican Party or, alternatively, to found a new Conservative party to replace it, they must overcome an extremism that – especially when it comes to racial bait – is and has become practiced by figures Republicans have long adored.
"Racial demagogy is a monster with which the Republican Party wins elections but which it cannot control itself." explained the aforementioned Prof. López. “And so, generation after generation, Republican officials are losing to the more extreme racial demagogue. Donald Trump looks very different from Ronald Reagan. But on another level, Donald Trump is an episode of Reagan. "
The not-so-big old party has tried to ride the tiger of right-wing racist and cultural faux populism – Trumpism is only its current incarnation – for the accused president's entire adult life. That's what López says above. With Trump, the Tiger finally took control, and so far most of the Republican leadership and base have followed like terrified lap dogs.
When Trump leaves office, everyone faces an election. When he says goodbye to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, so does a possible excuse, no matter how lame, to appease him while he still has power. It will be time – in fact, it is long gone – to begin the final battle for the soul of the Republican Party.
However, this fight is about much more than just Donald Trump. There is Indications He is seriously considering running another run in 2024, though apparently the third wife of Melania would rather the family onlyBe the bestDown in Mar-a-Lago and Be done with politics (even if their potential neighbors hate this plan). Either way, this fight revolves around whether Republicans want to continue to be the Trumpist Party they have been for more than half a century.
Like me written Before that, the Democrats should want the anti-Trumpist forces to win this fight, even if we believe that a Trumpist GOP will fare worse at the ballot box. Regardless of the outcome of the battle, Republicans are likely to win the White House again one day, and if they do we don't want another Trumpist to be high on the list – because our country may not survive the next version of its rhetoric .
These feelings are not about a fetish for bipartisanism or longing for the supposedly halcyon days when senators drank together across the aisle while ignoring segregation or some nostalgic fallacy like that. Put simply, Americans would live in a much better, safer, healthier, and more stable country if the Republican Party defeated Trumpism, and our government would have two parties that are about politics but not truth, reality, free media and injustice disagree on racial bait, racist politics, and white male supremacy in general.
While we cannot take part in this struggle, we definitely have a deep interest, not as democrats but as patriots who love our country, who believe in democracy, facts and science, along with the self-evident truth that we all have are the same created.
We'll need all hands on deck to win the Georgia Senate runoff on January 5th, and you can volunteer from anywhere. Click here to view the Georgia volunteer activities that are best for you.
Ian Reifowitz is the author of The Tribalization of Politics: How Rush Limbaugh's racial rhetoric about the Obama presidency paved the way for Trump (Foreword by Markos Moulitsas)