By MOHAMED HAMALUDIN
After nearly two and a half centuries of democracy, this is what the state of national politics has degenerated to: The Republican presidential nominee was able to build his campaign on insulting as many people and issues as was needed to win over those who are disaffected with the socio-economic conditions to an extent where white supremacists hail him as their long-awaited messiah.
The candidate, Donald Trump, has been so successful that his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, found it expedient to pick, like him, a white man as her running mate. She has done so despite all indications that she will not win without substantial voter turnout and support from the so-called minorities, particularly African Americans and Latino Americans.
Clinton’s gamble is even more risky in that her vice presidential pick, Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine, is not the progressive that her defeated rival, Bernie Sanders, and his supporters hoped for. It is a choice, rather, that aims at the same group of voters that Trump is courting: independents, who are mainly white men. So, with Trump selecting Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, there are four white folks seeking residence in the White House and no minority candidate.
It will be an absorbing exercise to see whether minority voters are indeed motivated enough to turn out in large numbers for Clinton or are so discouraged or alienated that they stay home and, in effect, hand the election to Trump.
That would be a great irony because, from all reports, Trump’s supporters include people who believe that now is the time to reverse the browning of the nation – the increasing numbers of non-whites. Many commentators have concluded that Trump campaign slogans, such as “Make America Great Again” and “America First,” are racially coded and are pitched to just such voters.
The leader of one group of Trump supporters, who were allowed to attend the recent Republican Party Convention but were not delegates, is calling for the expulsion of all blacks, Hispanics and Jews.
”We’ll help them go somewhere else. I am not a maniac,” the leader, Richard Spencer, said, according to an Associated Press report. “I know in order to achieve what I want to achieve, you have to deal with people rationally,” he said.
Spence heads up the National Policy Institute think tank. This group identifies itself not by the inflammatory label “white supremacists” but “alt-right, “white na tionalists” and “Europeanists.”
Also, the perennial racist candidate, David Duke, a former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard, has been so emboldened by the Trump candidacy that he has announced he is running for a seat in the U.S. Senate from Louisiana.
It is a fantasy to think that America has ever been racially homogeneous – except for the time before there was a United States of America, the time of the original inhabitants of the continent who came to be dubbed “Native Americans” and “American Indians.”
The coming of Europeans instantly ended the racial homogeneity which the original inhabitants enjoyed, along with the importation of Africans forcibly brought across the oceans as captives, their free, forced labor laying the foundation of the country.
The American future is not one that seeks to expand that suppression or ethnic cleansing. It is, rather, one that embraces the diversity and accepts that being American does not equate with being white.
Trying to make the nation monochromatic, however implausible, does serve the purpose in setting people against one another. This is perhaps the most significant issue in the 2016 presidential election. Should the path ahead be one guided by a Hitlerite longing for an all-white nation or, at least one that continues to be dominated by whites, or a path that celebrates the rainbow that is America.
Mohamed Hamaludin is a retired executive editor of South Florida Times and also a former editor at The Miami Herald and The Miami Times.