Two stories are circulating in the press today that should be connected by the press, but have not been. The a PBS piece which features “first-time” Trump voters, but which has garnered buzz because these voters have White Supremacist tattoos. The second story is the GOP Senate and Congress doubling down on what they call the “principle” of refusing to even consider President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland. Here’s the key quote from Paul Ryan (emphasis mine):
“This has never been about who the nominee is,” Mr. Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican, said in a statement. “It is about a basic principle. Under our Constitution, the president has every right to make this nomination, and the Senate has every right not to confirm a nominee. “I fully support Leader McConnell and Chairman Grassley’s decision not to move forward with the confirmation process. We should let the American people decide the direction of the court.” (link)
I agree with Ryan that what he and the Senate GOP are doing is “about a basic principle,” and it was indeed a principle in the Constitution, until this country passed the 13th Amendment.
The “principle” behind the blatantly white supremacist campaign of Donald Trump and the sinister obstructionism of the Ryan and McConnell GOP Congress is the Three-Fifth’s Clause of the Constitution.
It’s easy to see the white supremacy in Trump’s campaign–harder to see it in Ryan and McConnell’s campaign.
Don’t be fooled by what appears to be the panic over the rise of Trump by the GOP establishment. For almost eight years, the GOP’s treatment of President Obama has adhered to the 18c white supremacist principle enshrined in the earlier version of our Constitution.
We have since as a nation, after many hard fought struggles–including a war in the 19c and a non-violent struggle in the 20c–shaken off that earlier “principle” and replaced it with overtures of equality. The Republican Party was even a driving force behind one of those struggles.
But that was a long, long time ago.
In 2016, the Republican Party has opened up the struggle to re-establish the Three-Fifth’s principle on two simultaneous fronts: one front is the race for the party nomination and the other front is the floor of the United States Congress.
Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell may stand in front of the cameras and act like they are standing on firm procedural precedent, but they are in fact spinning candy floss dreams of a long-lost country where people of color where told to sit down and wait their turn–be quiet while the full citizens do the serious work. Do what you’re told or get out.
Trump looks for the black faces in his campaign events and directs his security to escort them out, incites his supporters to punch them in the face.
Ryan and McConnell look at President Obama and say that his rights and responsibilities as President are now done, whipping their caucuses to act as if the second term of our first black president has come to an end more than a year early.
The GOP’s overt use of racism their politics is no secret, but for some reason we are supposed to pretend that the Trump campaign and GOP Congressional obstructionism against President Obama are separate events.
They are the same. The only difference is that effort is led by a racist buffoon, while the other is led by chambers full of racist gentleman and gentlewomen.
The principle is the same.