Sunday, August 13, 2017

How Trumpism and Walkerism helped to build 2017's racist ugliness

I've had the better part of a day to reflect on the disgusting murder and actions in Charlottesville, Virginia, and the emotions are all over the board for me on this.

First of all, if you didn't think Donald F'ing Trump wasn't unfit for office before this, there isn't much doubt that he is unfit after this pathetic pile of nothing that he spat out yesterday.
"We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides," Trump said during a short statement from his private golf club in New Jersey. "It has been going on for a long time in our country -- not Donald Trump, not Barack Obama. It has been going on for a long, long time. It has no place in America." - Donald Trump
"On many sides"? No Donny, it was WHITE SUPREMACISTS that did this, and they chose Charlottesville because they were getting rid of monuments to the white supremacist society known as the Confederacy.

"It has been going on for a long time"? What's been "going on," Drumpf? We didn't get a response to that, because scared little Donny ran off the stage without taking follow-up questions. And a famous Wisconsinite called out Trump for coming up so small in such a big moment.

But one group heard Trump's false equivalency loud and clear.

On a related note, former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke told reporters his fellow white supremacists would "fulfull the promises of Donald Trump", and told the dirty secret behind Trump's non-statement in public soon after.

This is the bigger story coming out of the events of Charlottesville. Trump was far from the only Republican who gave out a non-statement on this. Take a look at what the top Wisconsinite in Congress and Wisconsin's Governor didn't say yesterday.

You see the words "white supremacy" or "Nazis" in there? Me neither. Now, to be fair to Lyin' Ryan he did call out white supremacy in a tweet...7 HOURS LATER (after the public blowback became apparent). I'm still not counting on the Spineless Speaker to do anything beyond the bare minimum that is politically required in order to keep from losing too many votes from the racist segment of the GOP vote.

On the other hand, Walker gave out 4 tweets on the Brewer game he was (allegedly) at last night, but NOTHING ELSE ON CHARLOTTESVILLE or the white racism that led to those incidents. That shouldn't be surprising, because Scott Walker's career has been advanced by racist dog-whistles to make people look the other way on his regressive and failed right-wing polices. Let's go back to perhaps the best article on this topic- "The Unelectable Whiteness of Scott Walker", by Alec MacGillis in 2014.

You built this, you amoral slime

MacGillis' article begins with AM radio host Mark Belling giving a race-tinged take belittling African-American Congresswoman Gwen Moore. That's hardly unusual for Belling or other hosts on KLAN Radio 1130, but it's something that might make a respectable politician decide he/she doesn't want to be associated with. Not Scotty.
In any case, the riff did not keep the state’s governor, Scott Walker, from appearing on the show a few days later. Belling’s treatment of Walker was notably more deferential. “Have you,” he asked, “sat back and thought about what has been accomplished by yourself and the Republican legislature? Has it really sunk in that you’ve transformed a fiscally reckless state into perhaps the most fiscally sound state in the nation? Has it sunk in, I guess is what I’m saying, do you realize what’s been accomplished?” Walker replied that no, his achievement had not sunk in, because he had been “so busy doing it.” (we'll leave aside the fact that Belling's take on "fiscally sound" is a blatant lie).

That accomplishment—effectively eliminating collective bargaining for most public employees in the state, facing down the angry protests that followed, surviving a rancorous recall election—has vaulted Walker into the top tier of Republican presidential contenders for 2016. He is the closest person the party has to an early favorite, and not simply because of Chris Christie’s nosedive from grace or because Jeb Bush is still waffling about his intentions. Walker has implemented an impeccably conservative agenda in a state that has gone Democratic in seven straight presidential elections. Unlike Mitt Romney, or, for that matter, John McCain, he is beloved by the conservative base, but he has the mien of a mainstream candidate, not a favorite of the fringe. His boosters, who include numerous greenroom conservatives in Washington and major donors around the country, such as the Koch brothers, see him as the rare Republican who could muster broad national support without yielding a millimeter on doctrine.

This interpretation of Walker’s appeal could hardly be more flawed. He has succeeded in the sort of environment least conducive to producing a candidate capable of winning a national majority. Over the past few decades, Walker’s home turf of metropolitan Milwaukee has developed into the most bitterly divided political ground in the country—“the most polarized part of a polarized state in a polarized nation,” as a recent series by Craig Gilbert in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel put it. Thanks to a quirk of twentieth-century history, the region encompasses a heavily Democratic and African American urban center, and suburbs that are far more uniformly white and Republican than those in any other Northern city, with a moat of resentment running between the two zones. As a result, the area has given rise to some of the most worrisome trends in American political life in supercharged form: profound racial inequality, extreme political segregation, a parallel-universe news media. These trends predate Walker, but they have enabled his ascent, and his tenure in government has only served to intensify them. Anyone who believes that he is the Republican to save his party—let alone win a presidential election—needs to understand the toxic and ruptured landscape he will leave behind.
While MacGillis was wrong in the sense that Walker was out-Klanned in the 2016 GOP primary by Trump, and looked comparably feckless and cynical to the lowlifes who supported those types of things, MacGillis was right in that Walker gained and stayed in power in Wisconsin because of his race-tinged and anti-intellectual policies.

Look at the list of things that have become law in Wisconsin under Walker.

1. A voter ID law and restrictions on early voting that was pushed through after years of lies about alleged "voter fraud" perpetuated by minorities - lies that we now know were pushed to AM radio by WisGOP operatives like Steve Baas and former Assembly Speaker/voucher money-man Scott Jensen. Portions of those voter restrictions were thrown out 1 year ago on the basis that it constructed excessive barriers, particularly to minorities in Wisconsin.
“The Wisconsin experience demonstrates that a preoccupation with mostly phantom election fraud leads to real incidents of disenfranchisement, which undermine rather than enhance confidence in elections, particularly in minority communities,” U.S. District Judge James Peterson wrote.

In his ruling, Peterson wrote that he could not overturn Wisconsin’s entire voter ID law, unlike recent decisions in North Carolina and Texas, as a federal appeals court had already found Wisconsin’s restrictions to be constitutional. However, he ordered that the state quickly issue valid voting credentials to anyone trying to obtain free photo IDs, calling the current system for issuing IDs a “wretched failure” that overwhelmingly cut out black and Hispanic citizens.

“To put it bluntly, Wisconsin’s strict version of voter ID law is a cure worse than the disease,” Peterson wrote in his opinion.
2. In addition, the same governor promoted by radio hosts that called the former First Lady "Moochelle Obama" (hi, Charlie Sykes!) is now trying to force the (disproportionately minority) recipients of food stamps to take a drug test before receiving benefits, while not requiring the same of the corporates who get hundreds of millions of dollars in handouts through WEDC and other corporate welfare. And the drug-testing proposal is far from the only barriers Walker and WisGOP have put up in the last 6 years trying to prevent the unemployed and poor from getting benefits they are entitled to, frequently resorting to "hammock" language to imply these people are lazy and undeserving.

3. Let's add in Walker's opposition to fully paid-for high-speed rail in Wisconsin, much of which was based out of code words claiming "those people" would be using the train. And Walker infamously said to outstate audiences during the recall elections of 2012 that Walker didn't want Wisconsin to be like Milwaukee. You know, the majority-minority city that has a lot of THOSE PEOPLE, while conveniently leaving out the fact that Milwaukee has been actively defunded by GOP politicians like Walker via cuts in shared revenue, while giving the city no way to make up the difference.

This is merely the surface of my anger with this. Much of my post-Charlottesville seething also has to do with the state's voters who have been taken in by this racist garbage, choosing resentment over good policy because it keeps them from making the hard choices in life. The incentives for GOP politicians is not to be a decent human being, but instead play "divide and conquer", because it appeals to the GOP primary electorate, and encourages enough dopes to ignore the backwards policies that come with the GOP because it sticks a finger in the eye of "those people" that aren't like the white mediocrities that dominate GOP-voting areas.

That's what's despairing and frustrated for me about a lot of this. Sure, I have a sense of decency, and most of my fellow college-educated friends in Madison do as well, but it feels there is little I can do about this other than vent and display my feelings in this blog. My town and my county didn't vote for regressive fuckheads like Scott Walker and Donald Trump. So the rest of the people of Wisconsin have to step up, make racist dog-whistles a loser for Republicans in an election, and make that mentality DISQUALIFYING FOR OFFICE.

The bottom line is that the race-baiting GOP won't change until the voting habits of their rural and suburban constituents change. So will those of you living in areas "represented" by Republicans get a clue, and make these bastards pay a price for their hate-stirring and evil talk? We'd like to use legal, non-destructive methods to change for the better, and Charlottesville shows that we can't wait much longer.


  1. And let us not forget that the white supremacists now in Charlottesville are exactly the people that Rep. Kremer wants hosted and *protected* on UW campuses. There were students in Virginia, kids, brave enough to protest in the middle of all those bigots--in Wisconsin, we want to expel such people from the university for protesting, for "being disruptive." We're enabling this here as well, just as you point out.

    1. You got that right. Because in GOP Bubble World having no tolerance for racism and white supremacy makes you THE REAL RACIST. And the regressive slime that want to impose the repression and encourage violence against the "others". Well, they're the real victims that need to be protected. #headdesk

      If these whiny snowflakes want to get up on the cross and say they're being persecuted for their lowlife act, I think plenty of us should drill in the nails.

    2. Exactly. Or as I like to say, "Don't let the door martyr you on the way out."

      People really need to see that legislation is just as violent and evil as physical violence at a protest. We're far away from that point, but boy do we need to get there. Kremer, Nass, Grothman, Ryan, Walker...they're all Richard Spencer.

  2. James Rowen at the Political Environment also noticed Scotty's preference for Brewers talk.

    In addition, Rowen points out how Scotty is more than glad to discuss non-white, non-Christian terrorism, unlike his lame responses to the killings in places like Charlottesville and Charleston.