50 Years of Angry White People: Dividing the Democrats

In 2016 angry white people were in the news.

Why were they angry?

Michael Kimmel, a Professor of Sociology, called it an aggrieved entitlement.

A November 2015 survey of 3,257 US adults conducted by Esquire and NBC produced the following bits of data: white people are more likely than black people to say their current financial situation isn’t what they thought it would be when they were younger, and they were also more likely to put that down to difficult circumstances rather than “wrong choices”.
When asked whether they ever hear or read anything on the news that makes them angry, white respondents were more likely than black ones to say they felt angry at least twice a day. There were gender differences too – men were more likely than women to say that they felt angry about the treatment of white men.”Esquire

In the 1960s, Southern whites were angry about integration and desegregation.

They hated John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson for using the power of the Federal Government to protect the civil rights and the safety of black students who wanted to enroll in school.

Art by Rob Goldstein
Wanted poster from Dallas, Texas, November 1963.

When President Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act in 1964, angry white people decided the Federal Government was a ‘problem.’

The Government was too big, they said.

The Government had no respect for individual liberty (white privilege).

In 1969, GOP strategist Kevin Phillips wrote The Emerging Republican Majority.

 

Newsweek called The Emerging Republican Majority the political bible of the Nixon Administration.

Kevin Phillips stated to New York Times Magazine in 1970:


“All the talk about Republicans making inroads into the Negro vote is persiflage. Even ‘Jake the Snake’ Senator Jacob Javits of New York only gets 20 percent. From now on, Republicans are never going to get more than 10 to 20 percent of the Negro vote, and they don’t need any more than that… but Republicans would be shortsighted if they weakened the Voting Rights Act. The more Negroes who register as Democrats in the South, the sooner the Negrophobe whites will quit the Democrats and become Republicans. That’s where the votes are. Without that prodding from the blacks, the whites will backslide into their old comfortable arrangement with the local Democrats.”
New York Times Magazine

In my research of Kevin Phillips and the Southern Strategy, I found image files at the New Yorker website of a 1971 Memo to H.R. Haldeman from Pat Buchanan. Pat Buchanan wrote ‘Dividing the Democrats anonymously. 

George Packer, a columnist at the New Yorker, describes how he got the memo:

“I wanted to hear tales of the Nixon years, and Buchanan—between writing his syndicated column and getting ready to drive to the studios of MSNBC for a televised political talk, which he called “bread and circuses”—was happy to oblige. After all, he’d been present at the creation of the themes and tactics that led to forty years of conservative domination of American politics, and he was proud of it. At one point, he mentioned a memo that he’d written for Nixon in 1971 under the heading “Dividing the Democrats.”

Art by Rob Goldstein


Packer describes Dividing the Democrats as a Machiavellian primer on the vulnerabilities of the New Deal coalition.

“It reminded me of how relatively gentle and civilized the supposedly vicious campaign of 2008 has been.“  George Packer

Art by Rob Goldstein


Dividing the Democrats was the foundation of the Republican Southern Strategy to stoke racism and division to turn White Southerners against the New Deal.

Journalist Dan Baum wrote in the April cover story of Harper’s about an interview with John Ehrlichman in 1994 while working on a book about drug prohibition.

“You want to know what this was really all about?” he asked with the bluntness of a man who, after public disgrace and a stretch in federal prison, had little left to protect. “The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.” Harpers

Dividing the Democrats Screenshot 4

In 1980 angry white people elected Ronald Reagan.

They got their wish, and the government shrank.

Reagan cut funding for public education.

He closed community colleges.

He ended federal grants and scholarships to the poor.

He cut funding for community mental health programs.

Art by Rob Goldstein


When President George Herbert Walker Bush lost to Bill Clinton in 1992, angry white people got even angrier.

They didn’t like Bill Clinton.

They didn’t like Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.

They didn’t like AmeriCorps and the idea of public service. 

And they really didn’t like his uppity feminist wife who wanted to give universal health care to the undeserving (black people).

So they organized, and in 1995, they elected a GOP House that did everything it could to destroy Bill Clinton.

The ‘Gingrich Revolution’ also did everything it could to further destroy economic opportunities for the poor:

More cuts to education.

More cuts to community mental health.

More cuts to federal vocational programs.

Lifetime limits on access to welfare.

In 2000 angry white people fought recounts in Florida to prevent a Gore Presidency:

“As angry as conservatives have felt over the nearly three weeks since Election Day, a clear turning point in this remarkably twisting story line came Friday, when Joe Lieberman stepped up to liken GOP protesters in Miami-Dade County to a “mob” trying to “intimidate” vote counters. Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-Manhattan) chimed in, saying the Miami-Dade rally had a “whiff of fascism.” Conservatives see these statements – along with other Democrats’ invoking of the Voting Rights Act – as efforts to silence protests against recount outrages.” The Brooks Brothers Riot

At last, angry white people thought they had a ‘Southern’ President to make sure that no part of the government would go to the undeserving (Black people).

But something went wrong.

An African-American, Barack Hussein Obama, became President in 2009.

He spoke of a nightmare scenario of healthcare for everyone, including the undeserving (Black people).

When the Affordable Care Act was passed and signed into law in 2010, angry white people got furious and formed an angry right-wing Tea Party Movement. 

In 2014, with a combination of right-wing activism and liberal apathy,  the Tea Party Movement helped elect a partisan hard-right House and Senate.

Angry white people had a racist House and Senate that was openly hostile to the first African-American President. They had Fox News to tell them the lies they wanted to hear, and they used the power of their local governments to make sure that no one in their states got anything they didn’t deserve, and the lives of angry white people got worse, not better.

They have shorter life expediencies. 

They have less education, and their children are more likely
to grow up in poverty, sick, and malnourished.

Paul Krugman of the New York Times wrote:

“…social collapse in the white working class is a deadly serious issue. Literally. Last fall, the economists Anne Case and Angus Deaton attracted widespread attention with a paper showing that mortality among middle-aged white Americans, which had been declining for generations, started rising again circa 2000. This rising death rate mainly reflected suicide, alcohol and overdoses of drugs, notably prescription opioids. (Marx declared that religion was the opium of the people. But in 21st-century America, it appears that opioids are the opium of the people.)
And other signs of social unraveling, from deteriorating health to growing isolation, are also on the rise among American whites. Something is going seriously wrong in the heartland.”
 
On Invincible Ignorance

In 2016 the Russian Federation under Vladimir Putin launched a psychological attack on the United States and our 2016 Presidential elections.

Putin had a preferred candidate, and it wasn’t that uppity feminist, Hillary Clinton.

Putin’s preferred candidate won.

The nation’s angry white people finally have a president as white, and as dishonest, and as racist and angry as they are.

His lies have killed 200,000 thousand Americans.

He helps tyrants murder journalists and allows Vladimir Putin to place bounties on the lives of our soldiers.

He disparages members of our armed forces as dopes and losers.

He uses Russian propaganda to pervert the Constitution and subvert the rule of law.

He has destroyed the economy, alienated our allies, compromised our National Security, and brought the United States to its knees.

In 2016 Terrance Heath, a writer for the Huffington Post, compared America’s angry white people to two-year-olds:

“The behavior we’re seeing is basically the extreme of the Republican base kicking and screaming because they believe that if they throw a big enough tantrum, they can hold off change, turn back the transition period already begun, and keep things the way they are — or go back to the way they were.”

He suggested we pick them up and carry them forward with us:

“…we pick up the tantruming toddler under one arm — in such a way that he doesn’t hurt himself or anyone else — and carry him forward with us. It doesn’t mean the tantrum ends right away.”
Terrance Heath The Tyranny of the Tantrum

But we have not carried our nation’s angry white people forward; they have dragged us backward and are driving us our graves.

It is 2020.

America’s angry white people are still angry.

And we are dying.

 

First published March 28, 2016-Revised and updated September 20, 2020

(c) Rob Goldstein 2016 – 2020 All Rights reserved

Header image by Rob Goldstein

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A Quick Civics Lesson for the 2020 Election

Some pundits still describe Trump’s base as sad, left behind relics, yearning for the America of the 1950s, a golden age when White people ruled the Earth.

So, let’s do a quick recap of the social and economic policies of the United States in the middle of the 20th Century.

In 1950 Harry S. Truman was President. He proposed an expansion of the New Deal. He called it the Fair Deal.

Truman’s Fair Deal recommended universal health care, a fair minimum wage, and guaranteed equal rights for all Americans.

“Every segment of our population, and every individual, has a right to expect from his government a fair deal.”

Harry Truman, January 5, 1949 

 


In the 1950s, Males, 18 and above, were required to serve in the military or to serve in their communities.

Black and White AP photograph of Elvis Presley being sworn into the army
Elvis Sworn into the Army, 1958
By Associated Press – Public Domain

People paid a progressive tax based on income.

Art by Rob Goldstein
Universal World Reference Encyclopedia: Social Security

In 1953 the voters overwhelmingly favored Dwight D. Eisenhower’s “Modern Republicanism.” As President, Eisenhower supported New Deal and Fair Deal programs, expanded Social Security, and prioritized a balanced budget over tax cuts.

Eisenhower entered the presidential race as a Republican to block the isolationist policies of Senator Robert A. Taftwho opposed the creation of NATO. Dwight D. Eisenhower

The 1950s saw White resistance in the South to civil rights and the
rise of the Black Civil Rights Movement.

In 1956, a group of Southern senators and congressmen signed a “Southern Manifesto,” vowing to resist to racial integration by all “lawful means.”  At the same time, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights led a successful drive for passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1957 and continued to press for stronger legislation. NAACP Youth Council chapters staged sit-ins at whites-only lunch counters, sparking a movement against segregation in public accommodations throughout the South in 1960. Nonviolent direct action increased during the presidency of John F. Kennedy, beginning with the 1961 Freedom Rides. The Library of Congress

In 1957, President Eisenhower sent troops to Little Rock, Arkansas to enforce school desegregation. He wrote: “There must be no second class citizens in this country.”

There were plenty of far-right conspiracy theorists in the 1950’s.

Members of the John Birch Society believed a dark cabal of internationalists, greedy (Jewish) bankers, and corrupt politicians controlled the U.S. and Soviet governments. The founder of The John Birch Society, Robert Welch, promoted a theory that President Eisenhower was a tool of the Communists, and guilty of treason. He claimed that Communists created the Civil Rights Movement and that negrophile traitors inside the government would betray U.S. sovereignty to the United Nations for a collectivist. New World Order; John Birch Society.

It’s funny how that turned out.

So, if we’re returning to the 1950s, let’s get it right.

This film by Encyclopaedia Britannica is a 1947 civics lesson.

Educational films like ‘Despotism’ were shown in almost every High School in the U.S. between 1947 and 1970.

Is it propaganda? A cynic might say yes, and offer the history of the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union as proof.

But in the 1950s, the United States was still reeling from the racist horrors of Nazi Germany.

I like to think this film was also designed to teach children that the way to avoid the horrors of fascism was by using the economy to build a strong and healthy democracy.

 

As communities go, so goes the Nation.

screenshot from Despotism by Encyclopaedia Britannica Films which shows a scale between democracy and despotism

 

Where does your community stand?

Based on this civics lesson, where do you think the United States stands in 2020 on the scale between Democracy and Despotism?

Rob Goldstein(c) First posted 2016-Revised and updated 2020

Sources Wikipedia, the Library of Congress, and the Internet Archives

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Robert Reich: Here’s How You Can Stop Trump’s Lie Machine

A call to action from Robert Reich:

Please retweet liberally

A Conspiracy to Defraud the United States

I’ve spent two days reading and researching the details of Robert Mueller’s recent indictment of 12 Russian Nationals.

Screenshot -2 from Robert Mueller's Indictement
An Unknown American sought dirt on Hillary Clinton from Russian Cyber Operatives

Here’s what I got from reading the text of Mueller’s indictment: 12 Officers of the Russian GRU had orders to attack the United States.

This is a fact and facts are not open to debate.

Excerpt from Muellers Insictment of 12 Russian Nationals
Excerpt from Mueller’s Indictment

Furthermore, these military units used propaganda and psychological warfare as part of a broad campaign to sabotage our 2016 elections to place a Russian asset in the office of The President.

As stated in the 2016 NATO Handbook of Information Warfare,  the goal of a Russian cyber attack is regime change.

A page from the 2016 NATO Defense College Handbook of Russian Information Warfare
A page from the 2016 NATO Defense College Handbook of Russian Information Warfare

The use of military against a civilian population makes this an act of war by the Russian Federation against the people of the United States.

The Russian Federation had help from unnamed American co-conspirators in the United States.

A Washington Post screen shot of Paul Ryan telling his colleagues to be quiet about Putin funding Trump.
Paul Ryan’s response in 2016 upon hearing that Putin funds Trump.

In order to carry out their activities to interfere in U.S. political and electoral processes without detection of their Russian affiliation, Defendants conspired to obstruct the lawful functions of the United States government through fraud and deceit, including by making expenditures in connection with the 2016 U.S. presidential election without proper regulatory disclosure; failing to register as foreign agents carrying out political activities within the United States; and obtaining visas through false and fraudulent statements.

Russia-Trump inquiry: Full text of Mueller’s indictment

 

Screenshot from an Australian Expose of Trump Russia
Four Corners investigates Russia’s endgame and the motivation behind its extraordinary interference in the US Presidential elections.

What do you get from reading Mueller’s Indictment?

RG, July 2018