Whether within governmental circles or on the alt-right or the extreme right, danger lurks, particularly for America’s Black and Brown citizens. As President-elect Donald Trump summons his cabal, a veritable confederacy ready to carry out his repressive campaign promises, there is a nether wing, equally menacing and eager to fulfill the misdeeds left unattended by the Trump administration.
It’s foreboding enough that Trump has tapped Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama to be the next attorney general, a man who has described the Voting Rights Act as a “piece of intrusive legislation”; Steve Bannon, the former head of the reactionary Breitbart News as the White House senior adviser; General Michael Flynn as the national security adviser, a man who has expressed no empathy for Muslims; and Rep. Mike Pompeo, who was relentless in his drilling of Hillary Clinton during the Benghazi hearings, at the helm of the CIA
These selections have given the alt-right and other fringe groups on the right an additional boost of invectives, more impetus in their recruitment drives and the cover they need to continue the cultural wars that began against the Obama administration, which had witnessed a phenomenal increase in militias and other hate groups, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Trump was barely celebrating his victory when it was announced that the Ku Klux Klan would be marching in North Carolina. The Loyal White Knights are planning to parade Dec. 3 in Pelham, N.C. According to a notice on the group’s website, “Trump’s Race United My People.”
Last Saturday in the nation’s capital, a white nationalist group called the National Policy Institute assembled for its annual conference, with their leader Richard Spencer making it clear where they stand in relationship to Trump’s victory. “I think moving forward the alt-right as an intellectual vanguard can complete Trump,” Spencer said. “We can be the ones who are out front, who are thinking about things that he hasn’t grasped yet.” With Trump in power, Spencer and his cohorts believe they have the right man to ensure their push, their nativist position and their opposition to the increasing tide of immigrants.
Echoing Spencer’s sentiments was Jared Taylor, the founder of the white nationalist publication American Renaissance. “In the long,” he said, “people like Bannon and Trump will be open to the clarity of our ideas.”
For his part, despite his rhetoric being seen as inspirational for much of the recent hike in hate and harassment, Trump, during a recent appearance with Lesley Stahl on “60 Minutes” asked for a cessation in hate crimes and attacks. “I am so saddened to hear that,” he told her of the incidents. “And I say, ‘Stop it.’ If it—if it helps. I will say this, and I will say it right to the cameras. Stop it.”
It may be too late for his admonitions, and there are too many who believe he’s being disingenuous, that he only said that for the benefit of the cameras, while saying something completely the opposite in his selections for his cabinet.
According to the FBI, hate crimes were up almost 7 percent in 2015, including a 67 percent hike in crimes against Muslims.
Attorney General Loretta Lynch asked that all hate crimes victims to continue to speak up and not be intimidated. “We need you to continue to report these incidents to local law enforcement as well as to the Justice Department,” she said.
What little hope rests for those anticipating the worst from the Trump administration is that he will fail his right-wing supporters, much in the manner of his predecessors who didn’t keep the promises they made when campaigning.
Even so, he may be powerless to halt the rise of hate groups who see in him, no matter what he says, a gateway to white supremacist thought and empowerment. For example, there’s Thomas Robb, head of the Arkansas-based Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, who endorsed Trump. “America’s white voting majority, men and women, have spoken by electing Donald J. Trump to the presidency,” he began. “They have recognized that this was a last-chance election. They are sick and tired of seeing our young men and women die in foreign wars protecting other borders, while leaving our own border unsecure. They have been appalled by the leftist attack upon law and order and the hardworking law enforcement officers who put their lives at risk every day.
“They are alarmed by the increasing number of Muslims invading America, with a majority who hate America and are anti-women,” Robb continued. “And they recognize that the liberal agenda, free trade and over regulation robs them of jobs and opportunities and harms all communities, white and nonwhite alike.
“They are beginning to feel like a stranger in their own country. They are saying to the establishment, ‘Keep your hands off our families, [and] the Second Amendment.’”
What the nation and, most alarmingly, its minorities are witnessing is the confluence of white might inside and beyond the Beltway.