2016 Election: Referendum on Racism

I’ve been a bit slow about updating this website, apologies readers. Here is an article I wrote for the Globe and Mail a week ago about racism in the 2016 elections. More on this to come:

It has long been proclaimed that the American Dream is dead – whether from wage stagnation and factory closures that chipped away at the middle-class in the 1970s, or the brutal devastation of the 2008 economic crisis. But in truth, the American Dream was never everyone’s dream.

When Mr. Trump speaks of making America great again, he appeals to nostalgic visions of white security in a segregated land, one where his KKK backers could preach with less stigma. When Ms. Clinton speaks of making America whole again, she peddles a fantasy which ignores that for much of American history, black citizens were not even considered whole, but three-fifths of a person. When Bernie Sanders launched his America campaign video, he portrayed an almost entirely white America, capped by the fervent fans of his lily-white rallies.

Last night, Mr. Trump swept a geographically diverse array of states won by no other Republican primary candidate in history, ranging from the south to New England. He did it after promising to evict Mexicans and create a database of Muslims (when not shooting them with bullets soaked in pig’s blood). He did it a few days after receiving an endorsement from David Duke, and one day after booting black voters from a Georgia rally. He did it as news stations – as cash-strapped and panicked as their audience – aired his racist rhetoric around the clock, showering him with private town halls. Mr. Trump dominates the media like a dictator, only our press’s acquiescence is voluntary. The media feeds the hand that bites them – despite Mr. Trump’s professed contempt. While white Americans – his core constituency, regardless of location – lap the loathing up. His win shatters the illusion that American bigotry is geographically relative.

On the Democratic side, voters were fractured along racial lines, with black voters assuring Ms. Clinton’s dominance much as it had in the South Carolina primary. (Latinos, too, rallied for Ms. Clinton by a 2-1 margin.) Mr. Sander’s wins were in the whitest states, where he attracted large numbers of young, white men and lost in nearly every other demographic category. His loss followed a series of campaign gaffes which included counting the number of times he has said the word black (51), dismissing the black deep south vote, praising a book that slammed President Barack Obama, cultivating a fan base who attacked black voters online and on the phone, having supporter Susan Sarandon scold Latino activist Dolores Huerta, and failing to produce compelling evidence that he had advocated for non-white voters in this millennium. Mr. Sanders is called a one-issue candidate, but he is really a black-and-white candidate – in that nearly every photo of him advocating for civil rights is a black-and-white image from more than 50 years ago.

Read more at the Globe and Mail

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