By David Mark Greaves
This past February was a memorable Black History Month, confirming the prescience of scholar W.E.B. DuBois when he said “the problem of the 20th century is the problem of the color line”. With the surging candidacy of Donald Trump, in a campaign recognized to be appealing to the deep racism in America, we are seeing the still unacknowledged darkness of that past. Trump’s core of true believers are the heirs of the overseers, drovers, auctioneers and others who were used by the Planter Class to work the slaves to build wealth in land, factories and all sorts of endeavors.
And now these descendants are once again being used, and increasingly squeezed, by an 80-year decreasing tax on the current Planter Class, a political system infected with corporate lobbyists and campaign contributions and now they, as well as others who feel their pain, have to compete and treat as equals nonwhite people from around the world and it’s just too much for them to stand.
In Donald Trump they’ve found a voice that strikes the chords of their fears and when frightened people are directed by a demagogue, history shows they can become a mob very quickly. If Trump, or the also scary Ted Cruz, is the Republican nominee for President, then as much as we like Bernie Sanders and a good fight, knowing America as we do, it’s still big a roll of the dice that enough frightened and angry whites won’t go with the fascist rather than the socialist.
With that in mind, the fight against states restricting voting rights grows ever more important. The Electoral College does not care how the majority of people vote, only the electoral votes count as has been demonstrated four times. John Quincy Adams won in 1824 receiving 38,000 votes less than Andrew Jackson; in 1876, Rutherford B. Hayes receiving 250,000 votes less than Samuel J. Tilden and George Bush in 2000 receiving 540,000 votes less than Al Gore, but still winning the electoral vote 271 to 266.
Whoever the Democratic nominee is, everybody will have to put the stuff of their group aside for this election. The only thing that will matter is getting people registered and voting. If you know people in the “swing states”, give them a call. They’ll be plenty of time to squabble later.