Lazy Saturday Reads: The Politics of RagePosted: April 30, 2016
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?
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.”
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.”
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.
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?