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Put another log on the dumpster fire

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trump-klanJamelle Bouie has an excellent piece in Slate about the historical echoes and contemporary roots of Trump’s effort to cast advance doubt on the results of next month’s election, one that he will in all likelihood lose.

By urging his supporters to be alert to devious activity in “certain areas” of Pennsylvania, for example, or by insisting that ever-unskewed polls deserve more legitimacy than the votes actually cast on (or before) November 8, Trump is doing more than simply undermining his supporters’ confidence in the election. A candidate who previously warned of “riots” if things didn’t go his way — and whose rallies have included transparent endorsements of intimidation and abuse toward protestors (many of whom have been persons of color) — is playing around with dangerous, and potentially lethal, hypotheticals.

As Bouie reminds us, Trump’s rhetoric is the unmongrelized progeny of the abhorrent political violence that afflicted freedpersons in the Reconstruction-era South, where seasonal body counts tallied in the hundreds over the course of at least a decade following the war. It’s worth adding that over time, the ongoing denial of black suffrage was linked to pieties about “reforming” the political system and purging elections of “corruption.” For Southern whites, “corruption” was almost inseparably associated from the charge that white political opportunists were using the black vote to secure advantages for themselves while undermining social stability. These arguments were not only used to condemn the work of carpetbagging Republicans in the 1860s and 1870s, but they were revived in subsequent decades by Southern Populists like Rebecca Latimer Felton, who accused the Democratic Party of plying black men with cash and whiskey that unwittingly fueled election day rape binges. To the degree that whites accused one another of manipulating the black franchise, arguments for cleansing the voter rolls could be framed as gestures on behalf of orderly government. It hardly needs to be pointed out that claims like these have barely been modified in the service of contemporary voter ID laws and condescending theories that the Democratic Party has merely exploited the false consciousness of black voters.

This is all dangerous stuff, and it further puts the lie to Trump’s transparently disingenuous appeals for black support, to say nothing of his promise last week to accept the November 8 verdict (one he will accept only if he wins). No matter what happens, we’ll be faced with an avalanche of new bigoted conspiracy theories that will require you to unfriend your shithead uncle on Facebook. Beyond that, I’m more than a little concerned that thousands of white people — the same ones who yowl madly when others protest cops who murder black folks — will freak the fuck out when their Racist Corn Dog Emperor ungraciously loses to a woman.

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  • lawtalkingguy

    but chris_arnande has traveled thousands of miles and met nice Trumpkins, so there is no racism. Its just neo-liberals forcing white people to defend themselves.

    • GeorgeBurnsWasRight

      “nice Trumpkins” is based on the idea that people are either good or bad. And bad people are uniformly bad to everyone.

      Mostly decent people are still capable of being terrible in some parts of their lives. And the reverse often happens, too. As an older, conservative-looking white guy, I’ve frequently had the experience of meeting someone who seems to a wonderful person who later goes off on some racist rant. (And it amuses me to think that they probably had a similar reaction to me, “He seemed like a great guy until he started saying he supported ‘those people’.”)

  • Bring it on, I say.

    • Ahenobarbus

      Bring what on? What are you welcoming?

      • Murc

        I’m assuming C.V would welcome seeing a bunch of couch-potato wannabe Minutemen shot down in the street like dogs by SWAT teams as they attempt to march on Washington to “bring down the liebrul traitor Hitlery and make Trump Preznit like he should be coz he won.”

        It’s a seductive image. But if we reach that point the wheels have badly come off the wagon, so it is not to be wished for actively.

        • No. But I’d like to see one these yahoos try to verify my right to vote. That’s what I mean by bring it.

    • Drexciya

      …Are you serious?

      • Brett

        He’s heightening the contradictions! Stoking the fires of revolution!

        . . . .

        . . . .

      • q-tip

        CV probably thinks the the CIvil War II crowd is all hat, no cattle, and far overestimates its numerical strength. While funny and true in the big picture (hopefully), that kind of dismissiveness ignores the small-scale violence that has been and would be dished out.

        The government will be safe if the Keyboard Commandos finally take up the bullet box (knock wood); many individual people won’t be. Easy for some of us to forget in the face of utter ridiculousness, though.

        • At some point you just get tired of the bullshit. So I say if you really want to come and challenge my right to vote, then bring it.

          • Origami Isopod

            It’s not your vote that’s very likely to be challenged, you realize.

            • Yes, but my wife is of Panamanian descent.

            • Besides, I don’t think much of anything is going to happen. Push comes to shove, the Trumpers are ‘all hat’ as q-tip said.

  • Ahenobarbus

    will freak the fuck out when their Racist Corn Dog Emperor ungraciously loses to a woman.

    At this point, even if Trump is gracious in defeat, I’d be worried. I’m not sure the cats can be stuffed back into the bag. They’ll probably call Trump a sellout.

    • Peterr

      Are you ready for the Corn Dog Lives Matter movement?

      • MAJeff

        I see you’ve been to the Iowa State Fair.

    • NewishLawyer

      Not only that but the woman will be elected after the President of the US was a black man for 8 years.

      I think a lot of white guys (even anti-Trump white guys) are having serious existential crises about their lack of relevance in the Democratic Party. At least in Presidential elections. I suspect part of the reason Bernie Sanders did so well is because he made white guys feel relevant even though Bernie is a Jewish guy from Brooklyn.

      • jim, some guy in iowa

        white guys, as a group, haven’t been voting for Dems for President since what- 1964? I don’t think we deserve much room to complain about not getting our way in the primaries, although we sure the hell do

      • Murc

        I think a lot of white guys (even anti-Trump white guys) are having serious existential crises about their lack of relevance in the Democratic Party.

        Which is insane, because the Democratic Party is still majority white! Not just plurality white, majority white. It isn’t majority white guys, granted; the modal democrat is a white woman. But they’re pretty close behind white women.

        Any white dude who thinks his particular ethnic group is irrelevant to the Democratic Party needs his examined.

        • notahack

          Also: Joe Biden! Tim Kaine! Harry Reid! Chuck Schumer!

          • CD

            For now! Just wait ’til the vagenda of manocide goes into full effect.

        • witlesschum

          But it’s only as relevant as any other and only as relevant as the numbers say. It’s not extra special white guy relevant. I don’t know how many of those guys are still hanging around as Democrats, but Sanders certainly did well in conservative, rural areas, so that data would fit the hypothesis.

  • cleek

    seems like a good argument against people who want to vote 3rd party because they think they live in a ‘safe’ Clinton state: just because you can make it to the polls doesn’t mean some asshats in Trump hats aren’t going to dissuade others.

    • ploeg

      Yeah. I love it when people in “safe” states want the folks in swing states to hold their noses and vote for the non-Trump candidate who has a shot in hell to win, but they’re too precious to set a good example.

      • Joseph Slater

        Exactly. Those of us in swing states will do the work of fighting fascism. You free-rider purity ponies who don’t understand or care how politics work just sit back and feel good about feeling good about yourselves.

  • LeeEsq

    Trump’s literal playing with verbal fire is the fruit of the decades Republicans spent coyly and covertly using the same arguments. What Trump is doing is just channeling the more direct version perfected by Samuel Tilden. Once you let it out, its really hard to get it back in. Even if Trump is defeated in November, his supporters are going to feel emboldened by him and will demand more action and rhetoric in their direction. They might be old but they want to take the country down with them.

    • NewishLawyer

      Samuel Tilden?

      • LeeEsq

        Whoever that particular nasty and evil Senator from South Carolina during the late 19th and early 20th century was. Tilden. Tilyou?

        • Richard Henry Lee

          i think you’re thinking of pitchfork ben tillman.

          • Richard Henry Lee

            omg how did i get that hideous profile photo, that is not me

            • The liberal conspiracy is deeper than we thought.

          • LeeEsq

            That’s him. I remembered his last name but forgot his first name.

        • Ahenobarbus

          Ben Tillman

      • Srsly Dad Y

        Samuel Jones Tilden (February 9, 1814 – August 4, 1886) was the 25th Governor of New York and the Democratic candidate for the U.S. Presidency in the disputed election of 1876, winning a popular vote majority, but ultimately being denied victory by the electoral college. A political reformer, he was a Bourbon Democrat who worked closely with the New York City business community and led the fight against the corruption of Tammany Hall.

        Or so I’m told.

      • rea

        Samuel Tilden beat Rutherford B. Hayes, but traded away the presidency for the end of Reconstruction.

  • Matt McIrvin

    It’s nothing compared to the violence we’ll see the morning after Election Day if he wins. These people are the type who really get their blood up when they’re feeling victorious.

    • so-in-so

      And for the next four years. Assuming they lose, we can at least hope the authorities put them in their place (or the ground). If Trump wins, they will probably get free reign.

      • efgoldman

        If Trump wins, they will probably get free reign.

        And also free rein /sometime pedant

    • brad

      Considering the model of rioting sports fans, you may not be far off. But at the same time McCain and Romney were not “true conservatives”*. A Trump loss will be a personal rebuke to these bubbas in a different way. There will be blood, sadly but surely. Spoiled children lash out and have tantrums when told no, and these men will be children until they die.

      *- I understand that policy-wise they were, but the 27% never saw them as their own.

  • BobOso

    don’t worry once Hillary is elected, the economy will continue to improve and there will be no more economic anxiety. so the problem will kind of correct itself right?

    • BiloSagdiyev

      Ehhhhh…. ehhhh….

  • Karen24

    I can already see the plot. Trump will lose Florida and blame it on Them doing voter fraud because of the hurricane. It’s an exceptionally stupid argument, but I completely see him making it.

    • BiloSagdiyev

      You’re onto something — after election day, he’s going to make some stupid arguments! Whether he’s won or lost.

      He’s never going away. I predict another 20 years of this yutz.

      • Duvall

        He’s never going away. I predict another 20 years of this yutz.

        Well, only if you count the contributions of his wastrel sons. I dunno if he’ll make it another 20 years himself.

      • I have hopes his legal problems will keep him busy.

        • Karen24

          At this point it looks like the hurricane will miss Mar A Lago. Sad. (I am glad it’s going to miss Miami, though, and best wishes and good luck to everyone who is in its path.)

    • Murc

      Which is of course nuts, because if anything Matthew will help Trump in Florida.

      • efgoldman

        if anything Matthew will help Trump in Florida.

        Why?

        • Murc

          The people most likely to not find the time or inclination to vote because their homes blew away or flooded out or they/their kin are in hospital or whatnot are going to be the most vulnerable members of society, who tend to be poorer and darker-hued, and who tend to vote Democrat.

          Is my logic.

          • efgoldman

            who tend to be poorer and darker-hued, and who tend to vote Democrat.

            Plenty of white yahoos live in coastal Florida.

    • kg

      Earlier today you said this :

      3. What are the chances Rick Scott uses the hurricane to cheat the election?

      Now you’re saying :

      I can already see the plot. Trump will lose Florida and blame it on Them doing voter fraud because of the hurricane. It’s an exceptionally stupid argument, but I completely see him making it.

      Which is it?

      • witlesschum

        Those aren’t contradictory.

  • Another log? Hell, another cross!

  • West

    Trump is walking such a dangerous and irresponsible line here, as are other republicans. I am far from any sort of expert on group violence, but everything I’ve ever read or heard says that the goading of resentment-filled haters can reach a turning point where some of the haters will feel honor-bound to act on it. To be clear, this violates every concept of honor that I can accept, but it ain’t me we’re talking about. I am convinced there’s probably some number of Trump followers who have turned that psychological corner already: I think a certain amount of violence is baked into our future. And we’ve got a month to go. This pisses me off so much I can hardly breathe when I think about it.

    • catclub

      I disagree. I may not have my ear to the pulse of the nation, but there are lots of loudmouths (the internet!), but not so much real desperation on the scale of the Great Depression.

      • Origami Isopod

        but not so much real desperation on the scale of the Great Depression.

        I don’t see how this is a necessary ingredient for violence, unless you think that racists lash out due to desperation rather than self-centered outrage.

        • witlesschum

          Yeah, this. I don’t know how much we’ll get, but I’d be surprised if we got zero.

    • efgoldman

      everything I’ve ever read or heard says that the goading of resentment-filled haters can reach a turning point where some of the haters will feel honor-bound to act on it.

      “Some” is greater than zero, but there won’t be any serious mob violence. As the following comment says, there are lots of really, really brave armchair/intartoobz warriors out there.
      Unfortunately our stupid fucking gun culture means some yahoos somewhere are going to do what they were going to do anyway, just maybe sooner and with a different rationalization. The Dylann Roofs are out there, and there doesn’t seem to be a hell of a lot that local, state, or federal officials are willing or able to do about it, at least until such time as we have Dem majorities in both houses and SCOTUS.

  • Murc

    I’m honestly not all that worried.

    The number of gun-toting yahoos who actually have the balls to start something real (as opposed to passive-aggresive AR-15s in Wal-Mart bullshit) is miniscule. These folks are fundamentally cowards.

    There are some folks in there who aren’t afraid to walk the walk; the Bundys come to mind. And the feds are rather bad at dealing with them. But I’m not too terribly worried. It’s something to keep an eye on but I don’t think we’re gonna see rioting unless we end up in another Bush vs. Gore limbo. (If the latter happens the Republicans will of course attempt another coup, and then all bets are off.)

    • q-tip

      As I said above, I’m also pretty sanguine about large-scale, let alone successful, political violence.

      Much more afraid of individual-level acts of political violence. The people Trump fans will take things out on are not gonna be (most of) us commenting here; they’ll be people that are already vulnerable for the usual reasons. Or they’ll be random theatergoers/clubgoers/students/whatever.

      These people couldn’t organize a revolution, but they could probably organize some curb-stompings/mass shootings.

      • Origami Isopod

        This, and then there’s the fact that the message is reaching millions of resentful racists. Stochastic terrorism counts on at least one of them being up for a massacre.

    • efgoldman

      There are some folks in there who aren’t afraid to walk the walk; the Bundys come to mind.

      Even Dildo Team Six surrendered peacefully, except for one idiot.

      • GeorgeBurnsWasRight

        But now they’re fighting the Good Fight such as having their lawyer argue that Bundy should be allowed to wear his cowboy hats and boots to court.

        He’s gone from the fascist government is oppressing me by not allowing me to run my business the way I want to now it’s oppressing me by not allowing me to play dress up.

        Sad. Weak.

    • Breadbaker

      They are down one Supreme Court member. Remember, it was Bush v. Gore, meaning Bush had lost in the lower court. 4-4 is affirmance.

    • Paul Chillman

      Not to mention that they would have to venture into non-white neighborhoods to start trouble, which really seems like a reach.

  • unless we end up in another Bush vs. Gore limbo. (If the latter happens the Republicans will of course attempt another coup, and then all bets are off.)

    This time, though, the Supreme Court would either be split or maybe (if Kennedy saw the error of his ways…hah, hah, just kidding!) even 5 to 3 in favor of not actually implementing the coup themselves; so the Republicans would have to actually mobilize their orcs.

    • Murc

      If Bush vs. Gore were going down today, in the modern political climate, even before the case got to the Supreme Court Florida would have gone up in flames. We’re talking guys with assault rifles attempting to force their way into recounts to “observe” and other shit of that nature. The National Guard probably gets called out.

      • You’re a regular ray of sunshine, you are. (Not that I’m doubting you for a moment.)

  • gratuitous

    Reading Eric Foner’s excellent “Reconstruction,” it’s interesting to see the exact same assertions and arguments advanced by the Repressive Right today as those put out by the vanquished Southerners after the end of the Civil War. They may not be an imaginative bunch, but by golly, they stick to their arguments with a dogged persistence.

    • GeorgeBurnsWasRight

      They may not be an imaginative bunch, but by golly, they stick to their arguments with a dogged persistence.

      Pretty much my reaction when I see people displaying the stars and bars flag.

  • Rusty SpikeFist

    […] Southern Populists like Rebecca Latimer Felton, who accused the Democratic Party of plying black men with cash and whiskey that unwittingly fueled election day rape binges […]

    Pretty sure you mean “accused the Republican Party”, not the Democratic Party.

    • davenoon

      Actually, no! By the 1890s, the Republican Party was pretty much belly-up in the South. Populists often recycled the old race-baiting arguments to stigmatize Democrats, and this at the same time that other populists were trying to argue for class-based alliances between whites and blacks. They were not the most consistent of folks…

  • LeeEsq

    By the way, where did you get a picture from the KKK’s Jai Alai tournament and why are they playing a Catholic sport?

    • efgoldman

      where did you get a picture from the KKK’s Jai Alai tournament

      What the hell IS that?

      • Murc

        It’s a Klansman holding a giant corn dog onto which has been photoshopped Trump’s face. You gotta look real close.

      • davenoon

        Yeah, that was one of my debate-night creations, along with Trump as Cheeto, Trump as Whoopie Cushion, and Trump as Circus Peanut.

        I have a lot of problems.

  • Drexciya

    I appreciate this post, I appreciate its responsiveness to what this election is actually about and don’t think the gravity that davenoon or Bouie accords to this threat is reflected in much of the thread. Trump is promising blood, and many of these people don’t need a special amount of bravery to claim it, only a pretext. In the south, as a response to Obama, “Democrat” has become a thoroughly racialized distinction, and their attitude toward nonwhite people both exercising the franchise and acquiring power from it, combined with a political atmosphere hostile to the implications of us acquiring power has led to the legitimization of open violence as a valid tool for white empowerment. And that’s fine and expected, but it’s not especially funny and I think assuming they’re bed-ridden keyboard Nazis is relatively dismissive of how the credibility of a threat isn’t solely determined by the likelihood of it being exercised.

    As someone who has the unfortunate distinction of looking like a Democrat, who will be using an atypical form of identification in a state that’s used voter ID as an effective suppression tool, where exactly this kind of violent intimidation is in living memory of many people, I’m somewhat dreading actually voting on election day and such statements don’t help overmuch. I will also say, since I’m halfway on the topic, that this process is deeply insufficient, its effects totally inadequate, and the parameters of our political debates remain entirely unresponsive to what’s actually wrong here; just as they remain distant, by obstruction and design, from the pursuit of their peaceable resolution. That doesn’t call their value into question, but as I have said in the past, and will say again, these circumstances aren’t tenable, nor should they be, and at some point, our approach to these issues and how we discuss them should reflect that.

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