White supremacy has its own peculiar logic, to which Trump is peculiarly attuned

By | July 29, 2019

Jamelle Bouie writes:

Trump is explicitly operating in the old American political tradition of race baiting, which used to go by another name — of denouncing blacks, immigrants and other hated groups to win votes and turn attention from the actual material agendas at work. This type of politics dominated the South from the end of Reconstruction until the civil rights era, electing generations of Southern politicians, including now obscure but once infamous names like Senator James K. Vardaman of Mississippi (in office from 1913 to 1919), Senator Ellison (Cotton Ed) Smith of South Carolina (in office from 1909 to 1944) and Gov. Eugene Talmadge of Georgia (who served 1933 to 1937 and 1941 to 1943). This is not ancient history by any means.

You can find aspects of each man’s career in Trump’s approach to politics — the superficially populist rhetoric of Vardaman, the casual demagoguery of Smith and the corruption of Talmadge — but one figure, for me, stands out in particular: Ben (Pitchfork) Tillman of South Carolina. [Continue reading…]

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