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MAGA Is About Restoring Racial and Gender Hierarchies


Bouie has a brilliant column placing the war on reproductive rights within the MAGA framework:

In 2016, anti-abortion conservatives — and white evangelicals in particular — supported Donald Trump on the expectation that he would nominate anti-abortion judges to the Supreme Court. He has. But the story of that support, which is also the story of these new laws, isn’t purely transactional. It is about a shared commitment to the same overarching goal.

The animating impulse of Trump’s campaign — the beating heart of “Make America Great Again” — was a defense of traditional hierarchies. Trump promised, explicitly, to weaken America’s commitment to principles of fairness and equality to strengthen privileges of race, gender and wealth. His personal life was defined by its hedonism, excess and contempt for conservative morality. But he pitched himself as a bulwark against cultural and demographic change, a symbol of white patriarchal manhood aligned against immigrants, feminists and racial minorities. A bulwark against cultural and demographic change, despite his stated tolerance for same-sex marriage.


It’s also a world with even more avenues to enforce racial hierarchy. The criminal justice system is already weighted against black and brown communities, which bear the brunt of police violence and mass incarceration. And when it comes to medical care and reproductive health, black women are particularly disadvantaged, with far worse outcomes than their white counterparts. There’s no question that these laws will lead to the criminalization of black and brown women above and beyond what already exists.

Never mind the jobs or economic growth, what “Make America Great Again” looks like in practice is the imposition of social control on groups that threaten a regressive, hierarchical vision of the country. MAGA is the Muslim ban; MAGA is child separation; MAGA is a woman in handcuffs for thinking she had the right to her own body.

And by the same token, overruling Roe (whether explicitly or sub silentio) is precisely of a piece with Shelby County, with Korematsu II, with Concepcion, with the Medicaid expansion holding in Sebelius, with Parents Involved. Racial, gender and class hierarchies must be reinforced. When the state acts to reinforce them constitutional violations must be ignored; when the state tries to alleviate them, the Court must step in and stop them, no matter how weak the constitutional or statutory basis for doing so is. That’s the Roberts Court in one sentence.

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