How Both Political Parties Have Appealed to White Insecurities to Gain Power

Murali Balaji SAVE THIS

Supporters react as Donald Trump holds a campaign rally in Greenville, North Carolina July 17, 2019 (REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque).

As the sound of crickets grow louder among Republicans in the wake of Donald Trump’s racist attacks on four progressive Congresswomen of color — and former Never Trumpers are now entering Trumpworld — many have wondered whether Trump has completely destroyed the GOP. The short answer is yes, but it’s complicated. It requires a deeper understanding of race and the politics of white majoritarianism as a linchpin to preserving power.

Even as Republicans (including some who once condemned Trump) coalesce around Trump’s white nationalism, the use of white grievance for political gain has been a common – and successful – tool both parties have used since the Reconstruction Era. For a nearly 100-year-period culminating in the passage of the Civil Rights Act, both Democrats and Republicans believed – implicitly and explicitly – that the…

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