A plank of the Southern Strategy seeking to assuage poor white people in the wake of the civil rights movement, the so-called 'War on Drugs' declared by the Nixon White House, then institutionalized by the Reagan and Clinton Administrations, redefined caste in the United States becoming a policy tool for the mass incarceration of non-white men.
Listen to part of the basis for what Michelle Alexander calls the New Jim Crow at WYNC's On the Media:
Lee Atwater became one of the most complicated and successful Republican political operatives in history by employing a triple threat: spin when you can, change the subject when you can’t, and if all else fails, appeal to the voters’ resentment and fear, usually of African-Americans. In this conversation from 2008, Brooke talks to Stefan Forbes, director of "Boogie Man: The Lee Atwater Story", about the dark legacy of Atwater’s Southern strategy.Lee Atwater is one of the Republican dirty tricksters who brought the Dixie crackers into the Republican Party but Newt Gingrich authored the racist's handbook and it's still the official little red book of what used to be the Big Tent.
Taking his lead from Lee Atwater and Karl Rove, masters of contorting the finest achievements of decent adversaries with vicious lies repeated until they seem true, Newt endeavored to turn the Republican Party inside out. His plan was as old as skullduggery at the crossroads. Speak with one voice. If the opposition moves to solve a problem, thwart them at every turn. Say the problem isn’t real or its cause is something else. Then vote against all constructive solutions. [Guest Opinion: The dangerous legacy of Newt Gingrich's obstructionist GOP]In 1993, Trump henchman, Roger Stone constructed ad copy and radio scripts depicting the Mohawk Nation as violent criminals and drug dealers so Donald Trump could erect a casino. After losing a lawsuit to the Tribe Trump declared war on Native America then launched a biological weapon attack. Stone convinced George W. Bush to declare himself the winner of the tainted 2000 election despite Vice President Al Gore clearly ahead in the popular vote.
During the 1980s, he continued to consult for Republican candidates but also lobbied for various foreign nefarious clients on the side. Stone’s lobbying partners included fellow Republican consultants Paul Manafort and Lee Atwater. [A new viral video says a lot about Roger Stone — and the GOP’s steep decline]To this day reservation border towns are influenced by the Klan, John Birch Society, the TEA movement and now by the extreme white wing of the Republican Party. The Trump Organization was simply the latest obstacle to public education because it hates people of color and social equity, too. Add it all up: Rupert Murdoch, a a not-so-closeted racist himself, the Kochs, JBS, the Council for National Policy, the National Rifle Association, Fox News, Tucker Carlson, their attacks on public education and their fear of the "Great Replacement."
This is what Republicans have been doing for some time with practices that are characteristic of dictatorships, authoritarian regimes, and, yes, fascism. They include:
Exert political control over the nation’s courts. Republicans have turned the U.S. Supreme Court into an extension of the Republican Party that is establishing extremist policy in the guise of legal opinions. It is arguably no longer a legitimate democratic constitutional court.
Control the nation’s electoral system. Along with a majority of Republicans refusing to accept the results of a legitimate presidential election, last year Republicans passed 34 laws restricting voting in 17 states, performed extreme gerrymandering for both state and Congressional offices to disadvantage Democrat voters, and are working to put partisan “election deniers” in key positions to exert Republican control over future elections. This is at the top of the autocrat’s playbook.
Control the media and what is truth and fact. A Republican ex-President who continues to lie to the public, buttressed by conspiracy theorists, fear mongering, the Internet, international actors seeking to destabilize the U.S., and media like Fox News that peddle misinformation and propaganda – all unchallenged by Republicans – is creating a large, angry, poorly informed political base – essential to autocracy.
Identify scapegoats, usually minority groups, upon which to focus hate as a unifying cause. Donald Trump started with “Mexican rapists,” “Muslim immigrant terrorists,” and immigrants from “shithole countries.” Republicans have expanded political hate to include liberal “groomers,” Jews, the LGBTQ community, history teachers, promoters of life-saving vaccines, immigrants, Democrats, and a long list of “others.” Hate is at the heart of the MAGA party, as it is with most autocracies.
Promotion of violence as a legitimate political tool. Republicans and their supporters continue to threaten violence. Election officials, school board members, librarians, medical staff and others continue to receive death threats. Polls vary, but according to a recent University of Chicago poll 45% of “strong” Republicans, and a third of all Republicans, approve of violence against the government to achieve political goals. [David Darby, How democracy and Montana may be dying]Today, the goal of the New Apostolic Reformation, cult member Ginni Thomas, the Council for National Policy and others in the Republican Party is to use the packed Supreme Court of the United States to undo constitutional rights. Dominion theology proposes that christians must control the seven “mountains” of government, education, media, arts and entertainment, religion, family, and business in order to establish a global christian theocracy and prepare the world for Jesus’ return.
Influenced by the theosophists, the Klan, John Birch Society, the TEA movement and now by the extreme white wing of the Republican Party Falangist crusaders are rousing the rabble again.
In Santa Fe, Michelle Alexander reminded the mostly flaming liberal attendees at the Lensic in 2012 that had Barry Obama been raised in the 'hood his chances would have been unremarkably grim.
That's because the Republican Party is the most dangerous institution on the planet today.