Lazy Saturday Reads: The Politics of Rage

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Good Afternoon!!

This isn’t going to be a very coherent post; I’m just going to throw out some thoughts about the rage-filled campaign we are watching.

The rage candidate on the Democratic side will soon be irrelevant. He appears to be running out of money, based on this article in Politico: Sanders downsizes his campaign. Following a series of disappointing finishes, the Vermont senator tightens his belt.

After months of spending an unparalleled amount on campaign operations across the country and regularly outspending Hillary Clinton on ad expenditures, Bernie Sanders is tightening his belt.

The campaign slashed the payroll Wednesday by axing hundreds of workers — primarily on the field organizing team — scaling the staff down to its smallest size in months. It downsized its campaign jet, even as the Burlington, Vermont-based candidate spends increasing amounts of time hopping from coast to coast. Top aides no longer travel everywhere with the candidate, choosing instead to stick to Washington and Vermont. Even Sanders’ wife, Jane, hasn’t been traveling with him, opting to play the main surrogate role from home. On Thursday, the campaign cut its ad spending in Indiana, the next battleground state on the calendar.

The set of moves follows a series of disappointing primary finishes that have increasingly narrowed Sanders’ path to the Democratic nomination and raised questions about how long he’ll remain in the race. The campaign continues to insist that it will push forward at least to the end of the primary season, armed with a new set of imperatives that include winning over a trove of delegates from California and on shaping the party’s platform — rather than on kneecapping Clinton….

Cash has never been an issue for a senator who could boast of a fundraising haul of more than $182 million through March, thanks to his online cash juggernaut. (The next public binary options brokers that trade bitcoin report is not slated to land until late May.) But by the end of the last reporting period, Sanders had also spent about $166 million, making him the candidate who both raised and spent the most — leaving him far behind Hillary Clinton in terms of actual cash on hand: $17 million vs. $29 million at the beginning of April. Tap here to read more

Sanders’ communications director Michael Briggs claims the downsizing has nothing to do with donations falling off; and we won’t know for sure how much they are raising until the next reporting date in late May. But does anyone really believe the campaign would be making these drastic cuts if the money were still flooding in?

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Bernie knows it’s over. Even though many in the media are still trying to make this a race, Sanders is not going to be the Democratic nominee.

It’s a different story on the Republican side. Donald Trump is almost surely going to be the nominee of the Republican Party unless the leadership somehow pulls off a coup and installs Paul Ryan. I really don’t see how that can happen at this point.

The next challenge for Hillary and her supporters is going to be dealing with racist, sexist, nativist candidate who can command vast amounts of free media. Even worse, although Trump is obviously running a campaign so obviously based on racism that his followers include neo-Nazis and KKK members, most members of the mainstream media has so far failed to point that out.

A few journalists have demonstrated alarm about Trump’s racism. Several writers have compared him to George Wallace. Andrew Kaczinsky and Nathan McDermott did so at Buzzfeed in January: George Wallace’s Family, Former Staff: Donald Trump Is Doing What He Did.

Segregationist presidential candidate George Wallace’s daughter and two of his former top aides said in interviews this week that candidate Donald Trump is squarely in Wallace’s racist, populist tradition.

“There are a great deal of similarities as it relates to their style and political strategies,” said Wallace’s daughter, Peggy Wallace Kennedy. “The two of them, they have adopted the notion that fear and hate are the two greatest motivators of voters. Those voters that feel alienated from the government. Those voters tend to make decisions based on an emotional level rather than intellectual.”

“They both understood, my father and Donald Trump, that low-information voters, they tend to feed off of the threats to their livelihood and safety without really considering what that threat really is, or even if it’s real,” she continued. “So daddy and Trump have this magnificent personality, a brave put-ons that the average American wants in a leader.

“He’s very similar to George Wallace in a lot of ways,” said Wallace’s 1968 campaign executive director Tom Turnipseed. “Both of them use a lot of the same kind of scare tactics and fear.”

“He appeals to the fear,” continued Turnipseed, who describes himself as a “reformed racist” (he became a civil rights lawyer and, at one point, sued the Ku Klux Klan). “That’s why he pushed the Mexican thing, and now he’s throwing the Chinese in there too. He uses that same kind of thing, that fear thing that Wallace did…. As far as the tactics they use, the scare thing, is a lot alike to be honest with you. The way they use the scare thing. In Trump’s thing it’s the Mexicans, the wetbacks that we used to call them, the Chinese too a little bit. Back in Wallace’s time it was African-American people.”

Alabama Gov. George C. Wallace at a Goldwater rally in 1964.

Alabama Gov. George C. Wallace at a Goldwater rally in 1964.

Wallace’s daughter, who endorsed Barack Obama in 2008, noted some differences between her father and Donald Trump.

“I think my father had more self-restraint and respect for the institutions of government than Trump does,” she said. “I think my father understood the limitation of the executive branch of government, where I don’t think Trump does. And I think Daddy, even though he used coded language to use racial themes, he never attacked a culture based on their religion and race. He used coded language to suggest the racial themes. But he never specifically attacked a group of people based on their religion and their race. And I think Daddy had a respect for the process and the candidates. A great respect for the process and especially the process. He would have never leveled vicious attacks on the other candidates, especially those have been so personal. Daddy never would have done that.”

Wow. That’s scary. And I honestly think that when Wallace ran for president, there was more pushback from the media on his racism than there is today on Donald Trump’s.

Just look at the people who have endorsed Trump. Back in February, David Duke endorsed Trump and urged his fellow KKK members to support him; and Trump refused to repudiate Duke’s endorsement. As Trump campaigns in Indiana, he has received two more horrifying endorsements. From Bustle:

At his Indiana rally Wednesday night, Trump proudly announced endorsements from two “tough guys” — Mike Tyson and Bobby Knight. Indulge me now in a brief walk down memory lane.

Mike Tyson was convicted of rape in 1992 and originally sentenced to 10 years in prison (he served three). He is currently still registered as a Tier II sex offender. Also, Trump — with whom Tyson is the best of chums, or at least of significant financial interest — tried pretty hard to keep him from serving any prison time. At the time of the conviction, Trump proposed that Tyson should continue to be allowed to box — specifically, in a predicted-to-be-lucrative match against Evander Holyfield — and give the proceeds to the woman he was convicted of raping, Desiree Washington. Trump said at a press conference in 1992:

Instead, you let him [Tyson] go out, he would have made between $15 million and $30 million in his next fight: tremendous amount of money, tremendous amount of good (it) can be doing … Millions and millions of dollars could pour in to help people that were truly hurt, that won’t have anything and that will live penniless without it. And I think a lot people, a lot of people, can be helped if this is properly handled.

I assume you’re all cringing now. Trump’s campaign spokesperson declined to comment on the Mother Jones report on this incident, and Tyson’s rep told the publication he was “too busy” to speak about it.

Meanwhile, in addition to his penchant for throwing chairs, Bobby Knight is a former basketball coach who once told NBC news correspondent Connie Chung that, “I think if rape is inevitable, relax and enjoy it.”

Bobby Knight

Trump has also inspired angry and violent behavior both among his followers and protesters both inside and outside his rallies. The latest such incidents were in California over the past two days. From the LA Times: Protests rage outside Trump rally in Orange County; 17 arrested, police car smashed.

Hundreds of demonstrators filled the street outside the Orange County amphitheater where Donald Trump held a rally Thursday night, stomping on cars, hurling rocks at motorists and forcefully declaring their opposition to the Republican presidential candidate.

Traffic came to a halt as a boisterous crowd walked in the roadway, some waving American and Mexican flags. Protesters smashed a window on at least one police cruiser, punctured the tires of a police sport utility vehicle, and at one point tried to flip a police car.

One Costa Mesa police officer was struck in the head by a rock thrown by a protestor, authorities said. The officer wasn’t injured because he was protected from by his riot helmet.

About five police cars were damaged in total, police said, adding that some will require thousands of dollars’ worth of repairs.

“Dump the Trump,” one sign read. Another protester scrawled anti-Trump messages on Costa Mesa police cars.

Costa Mesa police car wrecked by anti-Trump protesters

Costa Mesa police car wrecked by anti-Trump protesters

Apparently the philosophy of passive resistance taught by Ghandi and further developed by Martin Luther King has been thrown by the wayside. From The Guardian: Donald Trump forced from his motorcade amid chaotic protests at California convention.

Protesters in California forced Donald Trump to leave his motorcade and walk along a highway on Friday, amid chaotic demonstrations in which activists torched an American flag and set fire to a piñata of the Republican frontrunner.

Hundreds of protesters repeatedly tried to storm the hotel where Trump was due to address the California Republican convention in Burlingame, near San Francisco International Airport.

Some protesters managed to get inside the Hyatt Regency by booking rooms in advance. When inside they unfurled two large Stop Hate banners from the upper floors that could be seen from outside, where protesters hurled eggs, clashed with baton-wielding police, and blocked roads.

With the hotel entrance blocked, the billionaire was forced to exit his vehicle and, guided by secret service agents, cross a freeway on foot and squeeze through a barrier in the fence to access the hotel.

Read more at the link.

So these are signs of what is to come. As we move closer to the end of the primaries and on to the party conventions, we can expect to witness more violence and rage over politics. Yesterday, Dakinikat wrote about the parallels with 1968–a violent and rage-filled presidential year. I have a lot of faith in Hillary Clinton’s ability to deal with the chaos to come, but it will be very difficult for her and for the country.

What are your thoughts on the politics of rage in 2016? What other stories are you following?

 


44 Comments on “Lazy Saturday Reads: The Politics of Rage”

  1. Sweet Sue says:

    File this under “Be careful what you wish for.”
    My husband and I were happy that Cleveland was chosen to host a national political convention, even if it was the Republican one, thinking it would be good for and shine a positive light on our city.
    Signed
    Girded Loins.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Ugh. I feel for you. It’s probably going to be a nightmare.

      • Sweet Sue says:

        Thanks.

      • joanelle says:

        The Republicans have stamped their feet and refused, for the last eight years, to participate in governing as they were elected to do, much like typical 6-12 year-olds do.

        So now we have a chance to vote for the only adult that has been in this race and they can have a ‘time out’ on their little chairs in the corners for the next eight years while they watch, listen and learn until they can figure out how adults behave.

    • ANonOMouse says:

      The GOP deserves everything they get with Donald Trump, but I’m sorry for the citizens of Cleveland that you have to endure this.

    • NW Luna says:

      The only light from these Republicans is from radioactive hate. I don’t see how moderate Republicans are going to pull the party away from the bully wing which is now now in the majority. It’s picked up too much speed.

      Of course, with Trump as the Republican nominee, Hillary will easily pull off a win in November. We’ll have to endure through a hideous campaign attack from the party of hate. Hillary may well sweep in more Democrats to Congress.

      The Repubs will have to face up to losing yet another Presidential race, and an upset to their Congressional numbers. Wonder how the Republican Party will react to those circumstances. Realize they’ve gone too far? Self-destruct as some have thought? Split into two parties, one of the foamy-mouthed bullies and the other of moderate Repubs?

      • joanelle says:

        NW Luna said: “Hillary will easily pull off a win in November.” I pray that your are prescient and that is what will happen – I’m still holding my breath and will until Hill is in place! This whole race has been a debacle – we live in scary times.

        • NW Luna says:

          dak posted a nice article last thread on Hills winning over Trump. If nothing else, worries about foreign policy will make the moderate Republicans vote for Hillary.

          We do live in scary times.

  2. janicen says:

    A rapist, disgraced coach, and an oligarch walk into a bar…

    “Relax and enjoy it” was not uncommon advice in the ’60s and ’70s. It triggers an incredible amount of rage whenever I hear or read it. It was part of the conditioning so many of us were exposed to in our very young and formative years and I’m so grateful for the discussions and writings of feminists that helped me peel back all of those horrible layers. I remember an older cousin saying he wanted to rape me when I was eleven years old. Jesus, that one phrase brought on an onslaught of bad memories. I wish only bad, bad things for Knight, Tyson, and Trump. A pox on all three of them.

    • ANonOMouse says:

      Ditto!!!

    • NW Luna says:

      I remember trying to explain to a relative why someone saying they wanted to rape you was not a compliment. There was a useful analogy being used in women’s groups: “Rape is like being run over by a truck and then tortured, except that afterwards they ask you how you liked it.”

      Makes me want to have Knight tortured and then tell him: “You should have relaxed.” And Trump, too. And of course Tyson.

  3. ANonOMouse says:

    I don’t believe it’s going to be like 1968, but I know a lot of Berners have said out loud that they hope it will be. I can’t imagine anyone who remembers that time hoping for it to be resurrected. And I believe we had much more going on in the country than contentious presidential primaries and elections in 68. We also had the Vietnam War carnage that was being played out on our TV screens every night. We had the Women’s Rights Protests trying to win Equality (we’re still waiting). We had the Vietnam War and the Protests to Stop the War and end the Draft that were happening right alongside major Civil rights protests. We also had the assassination of Martin Luther King in April 1968 and Robert Kennedy in June 1968.

    When people say that this country has never seen worse times and our country is going to hell in a hand basket, I know immediately that they either weren’t alive in the 1950’s & 1960’s or they simply weren’t old enough to remember it. Looking back I don’t think the 70’s or even the 80’s were a big improvement. From where I sit we have our share of problems in this country, but we’ve also come a long way from the post WWII 1940’s.

    • janicen says:

      I’m expecting protests and riots at both conventions but I think they will be more likely at the Democratic convention. With Roger Stone and Paul Manafort anywhere near this election, they will enlist thugs to disrupt things. It’s what they do.

  4. quixote says:

    This?: “low-information voters, they tend to feed off of the threats to their livelihood and safety without really considering what that threat really is, or even if it’s real”

    She’s wrong about only one thing. It’s not just low-information voters. It’s the vast majority of voters. The ones higher up the social tree just use longer words and better sentences to pretend they’re rational.

    • NW Luna says:

      Exactly!

    • jackyt says:

      I was just talking to a friend in NH who is, of course, a Bernie supporter. Long story short, as an alternative to BS winning the nom and office, she raised the alternative of “revolution”.
      I pointed out that, for that, the US would have to revert to 1776 pre-constitutional convention times. Given the tri-partite design of the US federal governing model, the constitution would have to be scrapped for BS to have a hope of accomplishing his goals.
      My friend said it was obvious that I know more about US political structure than she (even though I’ve lived in Canada for decades).
      Now. This friend is the only person I know who is a card-carrying member of Mensa. But, other than being a hippie in the 60s/70s, she has never had any interest in ‘politics’. Bernie and his big rallies have re-kindled the magic of Woodstock for her.
      True change is dependent on what you do after the lights go down and the band moves on. I’d have a whole lot more respect for the BS ‘movement’ if I saw any hint of lasting commitment. All I see is ‘stick it to the man’ wishful thinking.

  5. ANonOMouse says:

    And Bernie needs to GTF out of the race and take his deadbeats with him. They’re wasting time and energy on a dead horse.

    • NW Luna says:

      If there were any doubts about his lack of ability to lead an organization (not that Bernie’s that big on being a leader anyhow) they should have vanished by now. Excepting all of those people who bet their money on him.

      • ANonOMouse says:

        She’s 327 pledged delegates ahead of him. Indiana votes Tuesday May 3 and the latest polls show her lead +13 and +8, there are 83 delegates up for grabs. Then the following week, May 10th, we have WV voting. I haven’t seen any polls but if she won PA, DE, MD, I think she has a good shot in WV 29 delegates. The next week, which us May 17th, KY & OR will vote. 55 and 61 delegates respectively. I think she will win KY and lose OR. That’s every Primary/Caucus that will vote in May. We’ll finish this thing off in June when North Dakota · 18 delegates, California · 475 delegates, Montana · 21 delegates, New Jersey · 126 delegates, New Mexico · 34 delegates and South Dakota · 20 delegates vote on June 7th and DC 20 delegates votes last on June 14. I think she’ll win CA, NJ, NM & DC

  6. dakinikat says:

    There’s another anti-Trump protest getting nasty in Burlingame.

  7. Valhalla says:

    I’m not the least bit surprised that Trump increasingly attracts protests tending toward violence. But I also blame the media in large part. As that one protestor said, they feel it’s the only way to get their rejection of Trump’s racism noticed. The media largely ignores that, as dak has said, but also focuses so heavily on the violence part instead of the substance of the protests part, that it only leads to escalation toward more violence. They don’t really want to report on the substance, because focusing on the violence just ramps up viewership and page views.

    I don’t mean to excuse Trump in any way — his campaign is built on leveraging existing frustration and anger to his own ends, no matter the consequences. But he success in leveraging his campaign of hate would be so much less if we had media who would do anything besides accept all he says at face value and reporting breathlessly and drooling over stories like this.

  8. Carolyn Kay says:

    I really hope that the violence in the anti-Trump demonstrations aren’t really due to the Black Lives Matter movement, for whom I’ve had a lot of respect. Could the violence actually be due to Roveian/Stoneian style dirty tricks?

    • janicen says:

      I would not put anything past the dirty tricksters. It could be argued that it could make Trump look sympathetic, but I think it’s a waste of time and money. I just don’t think the old style dirty tricks are going to work this time because their candidate is so loathsome and with so many social media outlets, they can’t effectively control the message. Time will tell.

    • quixote says:

      You know the old saying about not assuming malevolence when stupidity is enough of an explanation….

      The problem with most? all? of the “I want change, and I want it now!” protestors is that their grasp of strategy ends at “Shout! Smash!”

      They could easily be thinking they’re doing a Good Thing when they’re really giving Old Pieface propaganda points. No Rove required.

      • NW Luna says:

        Yes. At my caucus one of the Berniebro gals said “We don’t have time for incremental change!” They were all like that. “Now!” And it wasn’t the Zen present moment “Now” either.

    • Ron4Hills says:

      What I have seen from the BLM folks is that their plans never get past the “Shut Shit Down” phase.

      Angry children with no sense of history.

      I grew up in the (Real) Black Panther Party, I know that passion and drama and media attention still leaves you with the hard work of every day incrementalism and compromise.

      The organization and national appeal that the Panther had outshines what BLM has accomplished and we still did not accomplish ‘revolution.”

      That said, we did change the world. A little. Good for us, back to work.

      The Suffragettes, Women’s Lib, The Civil Rights Movement, etc and so, all changed the world and it is still fucked up. Back to work.

      I heard Nina Turner on the radio this morning talking about the Berners demands, full of arrogance and hostility , a foolish hubris,not understanding that THEY need to reach out and make some goddamned friends. Everything she said was a fresh insult to Hills.

      We could use their help, but I think Hills will win without them. WE will not be over at the end of this primary. If THEY want to accomplish their long term goals they need to evolve and live. Help or STFU.

      I am lumping the BLM folks in with the Berners I know, but both need to stop making war on EVERYONE and focus one what they really want and successful strategies for making those things happen. Both should cut out the self destructive nihilistic shit that contributes to the problem.

    • William says:

      I absolutely think that it could. This kind of thing always benefits the would-be fascist or “strongman,” who will promise to shut down the viiolence. It benefitted Nixon and Wallace in 1968. It helped get Reagan elected governor in 1966. The more it looks like chaos, the more that the right wing candidate promises to bring force to stop it.

  9. janicen says:

    Program note: Obama’s last White House Correspondents Dinner is tonight on C-Span.

  10. My plan to avoid the coverage still stands. This is so maddening because I want to be involved in the news of her campaign but I can’t take the shit. And now it is only going to get worse.

    • Fannie says:

      Did you watch the WHC Dinner? JJ, it was beyond words. I thought of you because he mentioned how much he relates to it all because he watches a lot of movies…….made me think how true that is, and then he went on about the Zodiac Killer, and Ted Cruz, that movie hit home like yesterday. During one of the debates, where someone asked Hillary about her referral to super predator term, my response was, ever hear of the Zodiac Killer……….and there it was right there on TV tonight.

      • janicen says:

        I watched it. Larry Wilmore was not very funny and Obama was very good. Not as good as last year, but good. I think he was too soft on Sanders but I understand why he’s trying to make nice.

      • No, I didn’t…I wish I did though. I have saved the videos to look through and I have posted them on my Sunday thread. My PAD is in overdrive. Big Time. My mom and I have been watching marathons of Phryne Fisher and Foyle’s War. Staying up until 2 or 3 am. I don’t know, it just really sucks to feel this way.