Make no mistake, the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States is a victory for overt white supremacy and fascism.
American history is steeped in racism and white supremacy, from its violent ethnic cleansing of the Native Americans to its brutal enslavement of African people to build its empire. Currently, systemic racism exists in various forms, such as mass incarceration and routine police shootings (disproportionately of Black people), the racial wealth gap, and the US war machine that mostly kills people in non-European countries like Iraq, Somalia, Yemen, and others.
Trump’s victory kicks white supremacy into overdrive. Overt white supremacy is more mainstream than it’s been in decades. Jared Taylor, a white supremacist leader who wants to keep the US majority-white and argued that liberated Black people threaten civilization, bluntly said Trump’s victory was about white identity. Since Trump’s election (and even during the campaign), hate crimes and acts of racist violence and harassment have spiked.
One figure who’s been empowered by Trump’s victory is white supremacist leader Richard Spencer, who is essentially white supremacy wrapped in a presentable, suit-and-tie package. In his speech at a conference for the white supremacist National Police Institute, Spencer said “To be white is to be a striver, a crusader, an explorer, and a conqueror. We build, we produce, we go upward. And we recognize the central lie of American race relations. We don’t exploit other groups. We don’t gain anything from their presence. They need us and not the other way around.” Spencer also wrote a column sympathizing with Dylann Roof’s — the white supremacist who killed 9 people at a Black church in Charleston — grievances about multiculturalism hurting White America. Spencer didn’t condone Roof’s violent actions.
Echoing a similar sentiment, during the GOP National Convention, Republican Congressman Steve King of Iowa argued that white people have contributed more to civilization than any other “subgroup.” This is despite the fact that many advances in metallurgy, mathematics, science/engineering, medicine, agriculture, philosophy/spirituality, literature/arts, and political governance came from ancient civilizations in Africa, the Arab World, India, East Asia, and the Americas.
Trump’s cabinet, so far, is a gaggle of white supremacists, fascists, and warmongers. Three examples are his attorney general Republican Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama, his chief White House strategist Steve Bannon, and his CIA Director Mike Pompeo, a Republican Congressman from Kansas.
Bannon was Trump’s campaign chief and executive chair of the far-right outlet Breitbart News, which he turned into a platform for the “alt-right” — a recent far-right white supremacist movement. Several people, including his ex-wife, accuse Bannon of being anti-Semitic. Under his leadership, Breitbart perpetuated fear mongering myths about Black criminality, undocumented immigrants being criminals, and Muslims being terrorists. While Bannon has tried to distance himself from white nationalism, his racist record is clear.
Senator Sessions is another racist trip. He was actually rejected from a federal judgeship in the 1980s for being too racist. Sessions said he was fine with the Ku Klux Klan, except for their drug use, allegedly referred to a white lawyer as a race traitor, and said the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) were “un-American” and “communist-inspired” because of their civil rights advocacy. As for his record, Sessions opposes affirmative action, opposes habeas corpus for Guantanamo detainees, and supported the Supreme Court’s decision to gut the Voting Rights Act on the grounds that racism isn’t that bad in the South. He has also voted to reauthorize the PATRIOT Act and to extend its wiretap provision.
Meanwhile, Congressman Pompeo is a Christian supremacist who hates Muslims and a hardline defender of draconian US national security policies. He has regularly defended the CIA’s torture program as something that was effective, legal, and just — even though torture violates both international law and US domestic law and is ineffective at gathering reliable intelligence (but is useful for eliciting false confessions). Pompeo also supports keeping the prison at Guantanamo Bay open. On top of that, Pompeo supports the NSA’s mass surveillance powers. He even tried undermining barriers to the agency’s bulk collection of metadata and other personal information and called NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden a “traitor” worthy of execution.
The fact that this gang of authoritarian gargoyles occupy the executive branch of the US empire should shock anyone concerned about democracy, justice, and basic human rights. Even more worrisome, Trump’s administration now controls a massive war machine that includes a global assassination complex. Clinton’s loss shows how utterly useless the neoliberalism of the Democratic Party is at defeating the white supremacy and fascism Trump represents. Therefore, the best solution for defeating not just Trump, but also the white supremacy and authoritarianism he represents, is a radical left, anti-racist, anti-fascist political alternative.
Adam Hudson is a freelance journalist who typically covers US militarism, Guantánamo, police brutality, and gentrification. His work has appeared in Truthout, AlterNet, teleSUR English, The Nation, and other publications.