Trump’s America Is a ‘White Man’s Country’Roundup
tags: racism, citizenship, Trump, White Supremacy, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, The Squad
Jamelle Bouie writes opinion pieces on politics, history, and cultre for the New York Times.
It is important to say that none of this is new to American life. Americans as early as the founding generation believed whiteness was a prerequisite for the exercise of republican virtue. Before the Civil War, there was a decades-long movement to send free and freed blacks back to Africa based on the theory that black people were unfit for and incompatible with democratic life. America’s most restrictive immigration laws were rooted in the idea this was, as the popular 19th-century phrase had it, a “white man’s country,”inherently threatened by the presence of nonwhites and non-Anglo-Saxons, not to mention women.
Trump, in other words, isn’t an innovator. His theory of citizenship is an old one, brought back from the margins of American politics and expressed in his crude, demagogic style. And it has found a comfortable place in a Republican Party that elevates its narrow, shrinking base as the only authentic America and would rather restrict the electorate than persuade new voters.
With that said, what’s more striking than the president’s blood-and-soil racism is how Democratic Party elites — or at least one group of them — are playing with similar assumptions. No, they haven’t held out the white working property owner as the only citizen of value, but they’re obsessed with winning that voter to their side — convinced that this group is the path to victory. It helps explain the current feud between Pelosi and the four congresswomen, with House Democratic leaders attacking progressives on behalf of moderates in the caucus — some of which represent districts Trump won in 2016, but most of whom represent districts that gave Democrats the majority last November.
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