Dick Polman observes that Republicans are putting away their dog whistles.
(Quoting Paul Ryan) “If a person wants to be the nominee of the Republican Party, there can be no evasion and no games. This party does not prey on people’s prejudices. We appeal to their highest ideals. This is the party of Lincoln.”
I’m glad I wasn’t sipping coffee when I heard Ryan say that, because the liquid would’ve exited through my nose. I thought of Keith Richard, who wrote in his rock n’ roll memoir that life’s absurdities are best handled with “legs-in-the-air laughter.”
“This party does not prey on people’s prejudices …”
Is Ryan kidding or what? Because it’s empirical fact that his party has been preying on prejudice for the past 50 years. Donald Trump is different only in degree. He has merely ditched the dog whistle and stripped away the code words.
Meanwhile, Werner Herzog’s Bear is not optimistic; he sees a real danger of a fascist America. Here’s a bit from his latest piece on Trumpery and Republicanism.
Fascists have been able to take power historically once old-line conservative elites are willing to make a deal with them, since fascists are fringe enough that they usually can’t quite make it to the top on their own. The old conservatives elites make these deals once they realize that the masses are sick of them, and thus think they can keep power by allying with, or even controlling, a populist demagogue. We seem to be on the cusp of entering that phase.
(Continued below the fold.)
At the Boston Review, Simon Waxman argues that, if anyone claims that Trump “blindsided” the polity, it’s because the polity actively chose not to look. A nugget:
Even when the loudest voices in public life acknowledge that America is not post-racial, they have become experts in ignoring racism, and the population with them. We are so adept at blinding ourselves to the racists among us that we don’t even talk about them when we’re, you know, talking about them. The (Washington–ed.) Post analysis follows its pollster’s convention on “racial resentment” and offers its own awkward and contrived “racial conservatism” rather than “racism.” Similarly, the words “racism” and “racist” don’t appear in the Times story explaining that a fifth of Trump’s supporters prefer blacks be enslaved and nearly a third in one state believe that whites are or may be inherently superior to blacks. Instead we hear about “ethnocentrism” and “deeply rooted racial attitudes” and “people who are responsive to religious, social and racial intolerance.” Now that is a verbal fugue to be reckoned with. Encore, maestro, encore.
Please do follow the links and read the pieces all the way through.