Lying, cheating, and stealing are the building blocks of their American dream
Donald John Trump has been Impeached. The deed is done. Regardless of what else happens next in the Senate, that is a fact, and will remain true forever. It’s something that will always be connected to Trump and his career.
Of course, Trump and his rabid supporters do not accept this. They claim this is merely political, merely partisan, only a matter of personal rancor and bitter anger over his defeat of Hillary Clinton in 2016. It doesn’t matter that that election was altered and influenced by the efforts of Russia to hack into the email systems of the DCCC, the DNC, and John Podesta, the chair of Clinton’s 2016 campaign. It doesn’t matter that Russia staged a campaign of active measures, using WikiLeaks and social media, intended to generate maximum impact from the hacked emails, suggesting that there was a corrupt plot between the Clinton campaign and the DNC to kneecap the campaign of Bernie Sanders, along with other conspiratorial crimes, and that she was personally corrupt and “crooked” through and through.
The truth doesn’t matter. The facts don’t matter. All that matters is winning. And the fact that that win was bought and paid for by Russia, which implemented an effective effort to cheat and steal the election, doesn’t matter. So, naturally, it doesn’t matter to them that Trump tried to use yet another foreign country to concoct a perpetual stream of false controversies about his main opponent in 2020. He was trying, yet again, to steal an election, but all they see is the anger. All they see is hate. All they see is grievance, because they know, deep down, that there’s a good reason for both.
Exactly why there is this massive hatred, disdain, and resentment on the part of large swaths of the nation was explained quite succinctly by Chris Hayes this past week.
Hayes: Cheating an election is not just like cheating at something else, like a sport, it’s not just unsporting. It’s, like, a profound assault on democracy. But here is the thing, and the thing that we’re seeing: The president’s supporters do not care. They don’t care.
And the reason I think they don’t care is that, in their eyes, the president is cheating in furtherance of the will of the American people. That the ends justify the means. And by “the American people,” as they keep saying over and over and over again in the hearings, what they mean is their base.
Video of Rep. Jim Jordan: This is about one basic fact. The Democrats have never accepted the will of the American people. Three weeks ago, Nancy Pelosi called the president of the United States an imposter, and the attacks on the president started before the election.
Hayes: House Republicans throughout the hearings and the markup, they kept talking about the “will of the American people.” It’s worth remembers always, that more people voted against Donald Trump than voted for him. [Applause.] Right? Three million more people. Now, it’s true that the Electoral College is the system we have and that’s why he’s the president, but that’s a very different thing than the “will of the American people.”
And then there’s also the fact that there was another election in 2018, and we know that the Republicans are in the minority, sitting on that dais in the minority, because nearly 10 million more Americans voted for the other party in 2018. [Applause.]
So when they talked about the “will of the American people,” they’re talking about a minority of those people. They just are. That’s their base. But those are the people they view as real Americans. Those are the people that are worthy of representation; they are the rightful owners of this country’s destiny.
And we saw that on full display in the past couple of days. Y’know, Republicans, they’ve been making all these silly signs they’ve been putting up in the hearings, which maybe you’ve seen, and maybe you haven’t, but they put up one sign behind the markup during the impeachment articles showing seven members of the House Democratic leadership and the states they’re from. California. New York. Massachusetts. And there were some tweets about, like, “Oh, look at these out-of-touch, coastal-elite liberals.” Right? “How dare they tell us what to do with [beats chest] our country?”
Those three states represent a fifth of the entire population of the country. [Applause] Right?
But honestly, it can feel like when you’re watching that House Republicans particularly don’t feel that part of the country that does not support them is legitimate. That they are not worthy of representation, or political power or being able to like, call the shots, because those are not the right people. They’re not the rightful heirs to the American project, and so, like Donald Trump, they are all-in on this cheating as a political project for the party.
And it goes beyond this impeachment: You have gerrymandering in states like Wisconsin and North Carolina as soon as they get controlled by Republicans. And voter suppression, these things have become just endemic in states that Republicans control because they want to control who their voting constituency is. They want the right people voting.
In Georgia, Brian Kemp is the governor, and he won by 50,000 votes over Stacey Abrams. Today The Atlanta Journal-Constitution did this incredibly thorough statistical analysis to look at Kemp’s own efforts to close down voting locations, precincts. And they found that those attempts took away probably between 54,000 to 85,000 votes, and the people disproportionately affected were African American.
When Matt Bevin lost, the Republican incumbent in Kentucky, he gave an interview and he blamed his loss on Democrats, and I’m quoting him here, “harvesting votes in cities.” As if the cities are not part of Kentucky. [Laughter] That’s Kentucky. Louisville is part of Kentucky.
And not just “harvesting votes,” harvesting votes is getting votes from the human beings who cast them. [Laughter] There’s a person on the other side of that vote. But when you say, “harvesting votes in cities,” you’re giving away how you think about those people. And so if you view it that way, then you could come to see cheating as righteous, because the cheating in is furtherance of making sure that the right set of Americans keep their hold on power. And that is when you become a party of cheaters.
As we saw in the impeachment debate, we had one set of people who looked like the diverse vibrancy of America, and another set that looked like one white man followed by another white man, and then an elderly white man, until eventually we might see an elderly white Stepford wife. It was like central casting: The racial disparity between the parties was clear to be seen.
This racial split has driven the sentiment that the cheating is justified, which has run rampant in the GOP for decades, and thus we have Republicans purge 230,000 voters this week in Wisconsin and another 300,000 in Georgia, without an ounce of remorse, as noted by Ari Berman at Mother Jones.
Republicans are intensifying efforts to aggressively purge the voter rolls in Wisconsin and Georgia before the 2020 elections, potentially giving their party a crucial advantage by shrinking the electorate in two key swing states.
On Friday, a state judge in Wisconsin ruled that the state could begin canceling the registrations of 234,000 voters—7 percent of the electorate—who did not respond to a mailing from election officials. The Wisconsin Elections Commission, a bipartisan group overseeing state elections, had planned to wait until 2021 to remove voters it believes have moved to a new address. But in response to a lawsuit from a conservative group, the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty, Judge Paul Malloy, a Republican appointee, said those voters could be purged 30 days after failing to respond to a mailing seeking to confirm their address.
On Monday night, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger removed 309,000 voters from the rolls—4 percent of the electorate—whose registrations were labeled inactive, including more than a hundred thousand who were purged because they had not voted in a certain number of previous elections.
They don’t care about taking the constitutional right to vote away from people in the cities because the cities aren’t “their nation”; to them, election cheating and voter suppression are justified.
And it’s also true that Trump wants to shift the target of the impeachment from himself to his supporters, as was perfectly shown by this tweet.
Ã¢Â€Â” Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 19, 2019
He’s claiming that the liberals, commies, pinkos, darkies, freaks, and geeks are coming after you, the real America. He’s just in the way.
During the final impeachment debate, Louisiana Republican Rep. Clay Higgins displayed a chart, one of Trump’s favorites, showing a map of the sections of the country that voted for him in 2016. The only problem is that it’s largely a map that shows exactly where most of the people in the country don’t live. As I tweeted, the map shown below is a factual corrective to Higgins’.
The magic map of empty spaces. https://t.co/bP4MofP9Vv
Ã¢Â€Â” F. Vyan Walton (@Vyan1) December 18, 2019
In the end, Trump supporters think their big empty spaces of nothing count more than the actual people concentrated in the blue areas, in the cities. They think they count more than all the people who have migrated to those cities to live, shop, and work. People who live in close proximity to each other have to deal with one another. They have to accommodate, they have to adjust and grant enough space for others to function comfortably, which is something that people who live in largely empty spaces don’t need to do. They don’t need to accommodate themselves to others who eat, talk, walk, and think differently than they do. They can remain isolated and insulated by those empty spaces.
They see African Americans, Latinos, Muslims, Jews, immigrants, and LGBTQ persons as the enemy. Outsiders. Usurpers. Invaders.
Of course, it’s worth noting that none of the people who feel this way are actually from America originally, and that there was an entirely different set of nations in place on this land when they arrived. “Savages,” they were called, and then they were hunted, wiped out in a centuries-long campaign of war and genocide in order to grant the “gift of God’s country” to the chosen people.
The chosen ones, in God’s land.
Just as they ignore the fact that they didn’t win the popular vote in 2016, they ignore factual reality to insert their preferred narrative that the “West was won” via the true grit, hard work, and sacrifice of white settlers. They don’t think of the fact that the land taken from Native Americans was then granted—gifted—by a white government to largely white settlers under the Homestead Act. History.com notes,
President Abraham Lincoln’s signing of the Homestead Act on May 20, 1862 granted Americans 160-acre plots of public land for the price a small filing fee. The Civil War-era act, considered one of the United States’ most important pieces of legislation, led to Western expansion and allowed citizens of all walks of life—including former slaves, women and immigrants—to become landowners.
The incentive to move and settled on western territory was open to all U.S. citizens, or intended citizens, and resulted in 4 million homestead claims, although 1.6 million deeds in 30 states were actually officially obtained. Montana, followed by North Dakota, Colorado and Nebraska had the most successful claims. Native Americans were forced from their lands and onto reservations to make way for homesteaders.
Of course, there were those who took advantage of homesteading. According to the National Archives, a limited number of farmers and laborers could afford to build a farm, which included access to tools, crops, livestock and more.
“In the end, most of those who purchased land under the act came from areas quite close to their new homesteads (Iowans moved to Nebraska, Minnesotans to South Dakota, and so on),” the agency states. “Unfortunately, the act was framed so ambiguously that it seemed to invite fraud, and early modifications by Congress only compounded the problem. Most of the land went to speculators, cattlemen, miners, lumbermen, and railroads.”
This nation was stolen. It was taken by force and given out by the robbers to the people who settled it. Deep down, the settlers’ descendants know that this was an illegitimate act, an illegitimate process. They know they didn’t truly earn it, and they are deathly afraid that it will be taken again, this time from them. They worry that the people who were left out and left behind just might be holding a long, seething grudge. They might not know that when Social Security was instituted, it excluded many African Americans, according to SSA.gov.
The Decision to Exclude Agricultural and Domestic Workers from the 1935 Social Security Act
The Social Security Act of 1935 excluded from coverage about half the workers in the American economy. Among the excluded groups were agricultural and domestic workers—a large percentage of whom were African Americans. This has led some scholars to conclude that policymakers in 1935 deliberately excluded African Americans from the Social Security system because of prevailing racial biases during that period.
When the GI Bill was enacted, its structure and implementation excluded African American veterans, as noted by History.com:
When Eugene Burnett saw the neat tract houses of Levittown, New York, he knew he wanted to buy one. It was 1949, and he was ready to settle down in a larger home with his family. The newly established Long Island suburb seemed like the perfect place to begin their postwar life—one that, he hoped, would be improved with the help of the GI Bill, a piece of sweeping legislation aimed at helping World War II veterans like Burnett prosper after the war.
But when he spoke with a salesman about buying the house using a GI Bill-guaranteed mortgage, the door to suburban life in Levittown slammed firmly in his face. The suburb wasn’t open to black residents.
The Burnetts weren’t the only black Americans for whom the promise of the GI Bill turned out to be an illusion. Though the bill helped white Americans prosper and accumulate wealth in the postwar years, it didn’t deliver on that promise for veterans of color. In fact, the wide disparity in the bill’s implementation ended up helping drive growing gaps in wealth, education and civil rights between white and black Americans.
While the GI Bill’s language did not specifically exclude African-American veterans from its benefits, it was structured in a way that ultimately shut doors for the 1.2 million black veterans who had bravely served their country during World War II, in segregated ranks.
Over and over again, they’ve been given a hand up, while others have been given the back of the hand. It has been done before; it can be done again. Someday, they figure, there will be a comeuppance. Turnabout will be fair play. This is why they hated President Barack Obama so deeply: They figured he was the harbinger of their doom, that he would “get back at whitey” for all the misery that had been heaped upon people of color. This is why, on day one of his presidency, they set in motion a plan to block his initiatives at every turn, as noted by HuffPo.
According to [journalist Robert] Draper, the guest list that night (which was just over 15 people in total) included Republican Reps. Eric Cantor (Va.), Kevin McCarthy (Calif.), Paul Ryan (Wis.), Pete Sessions (Texas), Jeb Hensarling (Texas), Pete Hoekstra (Mich.) and Dan Lungren (Calif.), along with Republican Sens. Jim DeMint (S.C.), Jon Kyl (Ariz.), Tom Coburn (Okla.), John Ensign (Nev.) and Bob Corker (Tenn.). The non-lawmakers present included Newt Gingrich, several years removed from his presidential campaign, and Frank Luntz, the long-time Republican wordsmith. Notably absent were Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) — who, Draper writes, had an acrimonious relationship with Luntz.
For several hours in the Caucus Room (a high-end D.C. establishment), the book says they plotted out ways to not just win back political power, but to also put the brakes on Obama’s legislative platform.
“If you act like you’re the minority, you’re going to stay in the minority,” Draper quotes McCarthy as saying. “We’ve gotta challenge them on every single bill and challenge them on every single campaign.”
The votes, of course, can be attributed to legitimate philosophical objection to the idea of stimulus spending as well as sincere concern that the secretary of the Treasury should personally have a clean tax-paying record. But what Draper’s book makes clear is that blunt electoral-minded ambitions were the animating force.
Whether or not that’s shocking depends on the degree to which one’s view of politics has been jaded. What’s certainly noteworthy is the timing. When Mitch McConnell said in October 2010 that his party’s primary goal in the next Congress was to make Obama a one-term president, it was treated as remarkably candid and deeply cynical. Had he said it publicly in January 2009, it would likely have caused an uproar.
They screamed, “You lie!” at him during his first State of the Union address. They claimed he wasn’t born in this country. They tried to block his economic stimulus measures. They did block the American Jobs Act. They did block the Infrastructure development banks bill. It didn’t matter that these were good bills that would have helped the nation and improved the economy—they couldn’t have that, not on Obama’s watch. They did block Obama’s call for the authority to use military force in Syria—which was what he did with his “red line”: He went to Congress for authority to act, and it stiff-armed him. They shut the government down several times and instituted the sequester. It’s not like we haven’t seen this level of vitriol and naked hatred before. Of course, Obama had no real interest in “getting back” at them; he wasn’t about “balancing the scales,” but it made no difference. It was still all about hate and fear.
And this is why they love Donald Trump so dearly. He is their messiah, their savior. He is the one who will fight the foreign invaders. He will build the wall against immigrants, and build concentration camps to hold them and their children. They don’t question the human rights and humanitarian issues of it all; they simply feel that it’s a “law” question, and that he is upholding “law and order.” They don’t question who wrote those laws, or how they are designed to benefit the temporary needs of lazy business owners who are willing to exploit cheap labor from a permanently poor and desperate underclass of undocumented workers, rather than openly granting work visas for all the qualified talent who might legally apply and therefore need to be paid a decent wage and decent benefits. Nope, they don’t consider those questions.
This is why Trump is loved by the alt-right, such as the shooter at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, and the one at the mosque in Christchurch, who praised him in his manifesto, as noted by The New York Times.
At times, the manifesto creates dubious associations with cultural figures he knows to be lightning rods for criticism.
He wrote that Candace Owens, a black conservative commentator in the United States, was most responsible for radicalizing him, a claim that seemed intended as a joke.
He called President Trump “a symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose,” but mocked him as “a policy maker and leader.”
He railed against diversity, praising “non diverse nations” like China, which he said most closely shared his political and social values.
We will not get them to care that Donald Trump tried to cheat in the 2020 election. They already figure that the deck is stacked against him, even though he was born on third base with a silver spoon in his mouth. He was a millionaire before he could walk. He’s been pampered his entire life, and he’s been a scoundrel, a lowlife, and a cheater for just as long.
He cheated his subcontractors by refusing to pay his outstanding bills on his buildings and casinos. He cheated his charity, the Trump Foundation, which had to be shut down for using the money it received in donations to pay off legal debts and purchase paintings of himself. He cheated on giving charity money to veterans to the tune of $2 million. He cheated with Trump University and had to pay back $25 million to students. He’s been cheating cities around the country by not paying the bills for his rallies. He has apparently cheated on his taxes by deflating his occupancy rates for Trump Tower to the government while inflating those rates on loan applications to banks. At the same time, he’s bilked $550,000 out of the Secret Service for cart rentals at his various clubs and properties, and in October he tried to schedule the 20202 G-7 conference at his failing National Doral Miami golf resort.
Of course he would cheat in the 2020 election. There’s nothing in his history or character that would argue against this. And of course, “his people” don’t care. Cheating is good for business.
It’s what their America was built on.