This is the first
of a two-part series on the GOP and racism. It’s an excerpt from his latest
book Why the GOP Became a White Supremacist Party (Middle Passage Press)
after former President Donald Trump announced that he was a candidate for the
2016 GOP presidential nomination in July 2016, he boasted in a campaign speech
that he was the “law and order candidate.” At the time, Trump was locked in a
dual with Democratic presidential foe Hillary Clinton for the handful of swing
states that would decide the White House.
himself in the law-and-order mantle as a blatant, naked, and cynical ploy to
appeal to his base of less educated, lower-income white rural, and blue-collar
single-handed effort to revive the slogan ‘law and order’ is the key to
creating the perception of a new crisis of crime and violence;” observed NPR writer Geoff Nunberg,
“it weaves together assaults by those he calls radical Islamic terrorists,
inner-city thugs, and illegals. The racial overtones of the phrase are even
harder to deny now than they were in the Nixon years when white radicals and
students were part of the mix.”
for him as it worked for Nixon in the presidential election a half-century
earlier. Nixon made the slogan “law and order” and “crime in the streets” his
signature themes. He was brutal and direct in one speech
when he flatly said that the “solution to the
crime problem is not the quadrupling of funds for any governmental war on
poverty but more convictions.”
It was cold,
calculating, and cynical. But it resuscitated the career of the man many viewed
as a hopelessly failed, flawed, has-been politician. It turned him into the
front-runner for the White House in 1968. Nixon played hard on the urban riots,
antiwar mass marches and riots, and campus takeovers that tore the country in
the late 1960s to paint a horrific picture of an America in anarchy.
the thought that poverty, racial discrimination, and social inequities were the
root causes of crime, violence, and ghetto unrest. His answer was a get tough
and crack down on crime.
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