We really all should have seen the Trump Presidency coming. It has always been there, just underneath the surface of our lives, or really right in front of our faces. For those of us who grew up in the '70s and '80s, you could here it at parties whenever the subject of Watergate came up. There was always that push by many to argue that "President Nixon didn't do anything wrong that any other President didn't do as well. He just got caught." I must have heard that a thousand times. The problem is that he DID do something terribly wrong that no other President had ever done. He fired Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox in what has become known as "The Saturday Night Massacre" and tried to take over the F.B.I. in what would have become the end of our Republic as we knew it. Sound eerily familiar?
America is still stuck in the place that Richard Nixon left us. LBJ, a man who was no saint, yet had the courage to follow through on getting Civil Rights legislation passed despite knowing the enormous political consequences, opened up a huge political opportunity which the Republicans and Richard Nixon were all too willing to take advantage. The Democratic southern "Dixiecrats" were ready to bolt the party. The Republican Party immediately set about implementing the "Southern Strategy" designed specifically to appeal to white voters' racism against black people, and boy oh boy, did it pay huge dividends. Republicans won five of the next six Presidential elections. As the Vice President of "Students For Dukakis/Bentsen at George Mason University," I watched as Lee Atwater did a racist hatchet job on Dukakis with his "Willy Horton" ads that exploited white people's fear of black people. The politics of winking at racism had become standard procedure in American politics... It is actually the Liberals and Progressives who are racist, because they dare to judge you on how you think!
We didn't elect an African American President in this country. We elected a half white, half black man, who had all white grandparents from Kansas. Does anyone really think a black man really has a chance of getting elected president in this country? That is the delusional thinking that the Right in this country wants you to engage in. The Republicans under Richard Nixon learned that nasty hardball politics pays big dividends, but just don't get caught doing anything illegal. The angry reaction at Barack Obama's victory, and the rise of the Tea Party should have made everyone see that someone like Donald Trump could actually be elected President. Does anyone remember the recent so-called "concern" with deficit spending that the Tea Party railed against? Where is the Tea Party members' "concern" with the massive deficits that are going to arise from this latest tax break package that passed with overwhelming support from so-called "Tea Party" candidates. It had ABSOLUTELY nothing to do with the national debt or deficit spending, and EVERYTHING to do with the black (half black) President.
Here we are in 2018, 50 years after Nixon's "Southern Strategy" was implemented, and the politics of appealing to American racism is even stronger than it was back then. The Southern states are still locked in the Republican column for the most part. The bad news for the Republicans is that it was always a "live for today" gambit, although 50 plus years is a hell of a long run. Racism is dying out. Racism is learned behavior. It is also ignorant behavior. The degree to which it can be passed on at the dinner table lessens and lessens with each generation. The disgust with Trump and his brand of politics was evident in the most recent elections in Virginia and Alabama, where Millennials came out in force in what was absolutely a protest against Trump.
We have come full circle with Nixon's "Southern Strategy." A man who has nowhere near the intelligence that Nixon possessed sits in the White House on the verge of being taken down by a special prosecutor. It is fitting that Trump was heard comparing James Comey to John Dean and calling them both "rats." In the words of the Kinks, "paranoia will destroy ya." The Republicans currently hold all three branches of government. The question now is what will they do to hold onto that power? A tidal wave is coming against them in the next midterm election cycle that even they can't gerrymander away.