A recent video shows what we now know are members of a
white supremacist “white nationalist” group called the Traditionalist Workers Party physically shoving a young African American protester. They are not simply shoving her out of the arena, they are seen giving her extra shots even as others in the mob audience join in. That should evoke our collective ire and disgust. When any man lays his hands on a woman, we should take notice and interrogate what is happening. When it is white men laying hands on a black woman, we need to look closer and demand answers. When it is white supremacists shoving a young black woman, we should demand justice without question. There is no space in a civil society to accept this kind of behavior or to offer any platform in which such beliefs are legitimate.
But this is not how all of the many incidents of people being escorted out of Trump rallies have worked. While some cases looked like this, it is not actually what was happening. The moment Donald Trump got a Secret Service detail as a candidate, his role within our population changed. Where he goes becomes federally restricted ground and that means different rules apply.
Some of the footage of protestors being escorted out is not about about race, but about what happens on “federal restricted buildings or grounds.” According to the H.R. 347, disrupting an event like this can carry fines and/or jail time of up to 10 years. This was a rewrite of a 1971 trespass law in order to give Secret Service a little more freedom to determine what constitutes a trespass. There are a few criteria for those who can be penalized under the law. For example, it is one who:
knowingly, and with intent to impede or disrupt the orderly conduct of Government business or official functions, engages in disorderly or disruptive conduct in, or within such proximity to, any restricted building or grounds when, or so that, such conduct, in fact, impedes or disrupts the orderly conduct of Government business or official functions;
Certainly, we can argue how effective this law is and how well these trespass laws are applied. This includes people who were allowed to protest Barack Obama, the President of the United States, while brandishing weapons. Nonetheless, it means that what we see in a 15 second clip of someone being escorted out of a Trump event by an official, especially the Secret Service, should be measured by what authorities are doing when they are escorting people out of the room. People have been arrested for protesting in these very conditions for decades. Not everyone has an unfettered right to any protected speech at a Trump event, or a Clinton event, or a Sanders event. This is the same when the President is in a designated area or other officials who are federally protected.
I am far less concerned about what Trump has to say on the stage. He is a showman telling people what he believes they want to hear. He says these things to get media coverage, to stay fresh in the news cycle he has mastered over the years, and to convert that spin into votes. His business acumen is up for debate, but his marketing talent is second to none. He is a master of that craft.
My concern is that he does not care who he is fueling with his rhetoric. At this point his failure to immediately disavow any legitimacy towards the support of KKK or David Duke and the significant presence and support he has gathered from the underbelly of American society in its white supremacist and neo-fascist organizations is disturbing. He knows that those votes matter to his campaign. He speaks to angry white men who fear that the minorities and the people of color will steal their property and their power for which there is a significant overlap with white supremacist organizations. Their sole purpose is to reclaim absolute power for the white race and reestablish white power to rule the USA as it did effectively up until 1964. Trump’s protectionism and isolationism support those goals like no other candidate does and as no other candidate has for a long time. When Trump declares “Make America Great Again” they are hearing “Make America White Again.” To give him power gives them power and that is the most dangerous open door to terrorism that might face us if he is in the Oval Office.
One thought on “Protesting Trump’s Back Door to White Power”
The most disturbing, organized bases of support for Trump are the white nationalist, neo-racialist, neo-confederate segments of the old “paleoconservative” right and their reboot among Millenials as the “alt right” which converge and have a long history with the libertarian right, particularly the parts of it associated with Christian Reconstructionism/Theonomy.
People and money with Reconstructionist connections have been behind the Paul family for a long time, but this time around many threw in with Cruz. Rachel Maddow played footage earlier this year showing an Orthodox Presbyterian and Reconstructionist minister/radio host/homeschooling guru comepletely losing it on stage about Obergefell and calling for LGBT people to be executed by law. This was either before or after he had Cruz on stage with him.
Cruz has a SuperPAC headed by theonomist-lite (or “Dominionist”) David Barton; either this one or another headed by the openly racist Congressman Steve King’s son was funded to the tune of $15 Million by the Wilks family. The Wilkses are fracking billionaires in Texas who created their own CR denomination. Congressman King, for his part, endorsed Cruz but stressed his affection for Trump and desire to keep working with him in the future. Following the Paris attacks, King was on a US radio show sounding like the worst European throne and altar nationalists — he said it’s gay marriage, contraception, and abortion that are weakening western civilization in a struggle with Islam.
Even Kasich, supposedly a “moderate,” is suspect for his odd comments about the need for a “Department of Judaeo-Christian Values” and how these values are threatened by Islam, homosexuality, abortion, and contraception. This is the sort of thing the extreme conservatives Anglican splinter denominations — such as Kasich’s — are known for teaching, such as the Anglican Primate of Nigeria, Peter Akinola, who is supported by and leads many of these North American Anglican breakaway churches. Their existence is a result of a coordinated attempt ca. 2008 to break up the Anglican Communion worldwide by key Christian Reconstructionists and financiers of the far right — Howard and Roberta Ahmanson, their friends in the Mellen-Scaife family, using the intentionally ironic “Institute for Religion and Democracy” to divide Episcopalians and other US mainline churches.
Nationalist and theocratic groups have historically focused on repressing women and sexual minorities who do not align with their patriarchal ideologies. Unsurprisingly many of these people are susceptible to religious nationalism and Islamophobia. In the post 9/11 world the “counter-jihad” movement has built an enormous international network of reaction that has been fed back into American right through think tanks, pseudo-academic institutes, and pseudo-scholars supported by people of the sort I’ve mentioned above. Frank Gaffney, for example, is now Cruz’s foreign policy advisor. Gaffney was a key source of the “Obama is a Muslim” message and was the primary source for Trump’s wall plan and immigration ban via a widely discredited poll that said 25% of Muslims endorse terrorism in the US, and 51% want to live under Shariah law here. These lies have gone like wildfire through large swatch of the popular right, effectively radicalizing them and turning voters to Trump or Cruz. This new islamophobic nationalism seems to be overcoming the broader conservative movement and turning it into a tidal wave that Trump and Cruz are merely the first to rise on.