On ‘the base’ of the American electorate

Crazy Faith Ministries

While nearly a million federal workers are not being paid as the government shutdown continues into its second week, the fact that the impetus behind the president’s position is pleasing “the base” is disgusting. This small group of people want a wall on the southern border, which they believe will keep immigrants from Central and South America out of this country.

Even as the deficit of this country has soared due to the massive tax cuts passed for the wealthy, this president wants $5.1 billion to build a wall that will be ineffective in keeping immigrants out – they can and will either tunnel under it or climb over it. “The wall” will not keep America safe; it will increase America’s debt.

The fact that this president has sanctioned the shut down of the federal government for the sake of this wall proves that he cares only about this small group of people: his base. He has no regard or concern at all for the plight of federal workers who are being thrown into economic despair because they are not getting paid.

What he is doing is not making America “great” again; he is making America vulnerable and is attacking the already beleaguered middle class. He does not realize that no country can be great without a healthy middle class, and he must not be aware that many of those being adversely affected by the shutdown are members of “the base.”

According to all reports, “the base” is about 30 percent of the American electorate and is identified by certain characteristics. This is a group of people – primarily White, but not all, and primarily from the South, but from elsewhere as well – who are fed up with being ignored. Or, that’s the narrative.

They feel like they have been neglected; they believe that African Americans and all other minorities have been given preference in jobs and opportunities, and they are tired of it. They believe that their rights as White people in this country have been seriously abused, and they want revenge. That word is used intentionally. They do not want justice. They want revenge.

They have been courted by the American Legislative Exchange Council for decades. The development and perfected role of the so-called “Southern Strategy” was brought to light during the presidential campaign of the late President George H.W. Bush. The Republicans wanted to win that election and win it badly, and there had to be a way.

Lee Atwater, who was the campaign manager for Bush, took the ball and ran with it. There had to be a way to speak to the racial animosity many Southern Whites had, not only against Black people, but against the federal government. The Southern Strategy allowed the campaign to push racist ideology without using racially offensive words.

Atwater, who on his deathbed apologized for energizing and legitimizing this strategy, was clear, however, during the Bush campaign about the importance of speaking to White people in a way that hit their resentment of Black people and their economic plight.

Atwater said candidates had to use the “n” word without saying it, but say things using certain words that all angry Whites would understand, and by doing so, bring them over to the Republican side. The Republicans would then be charged with addressing their economic needs, which they believed were as bad as they were because of Black people.

Atwater’s tactics and the Southern Campaign worked then and is still being used now. The president is feeding into the racial resentment of “the base,” all while denying that he is doing so or that he is racist. We all know his statement, “I am the least racist person you will ever know …”

The entire debacle about “the wall” is about appeasing “the base” who blame people of color for their economic distress. They are completely willing to forgive wealthy White people who have hired illegal immigrants to do massive amounts of work for pittance, and have opted to believe that this man – and his wall – can erase their issues and make America “great” again by tipping the racial population away from its majority becoming Brown and Black people to being White, which is what they believe America should be.

“The base” is supported, encouraged and egged on by the right-wing media. Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Fox News, seem all to be “president in absentia.” The president listens to them and bows to them, even as he listens to and bows to dictators from around the world.

He is weakening America, at the direction and with the approval of “the base.” World leaders are either laughing at him and noting how weak America is becoming or are looking on in horror, seeing America fall right before their eyes.

What the president and the GOP do not understand is that in killing America, that base is not going to matter. All that is going on now is frightening to watch, more so because the GOP has allowed it all to progress to this stage.

“The base” thinks this president is tough because he is not backing down from his demand for $5.1 billion. What they will probably find out is that he is quite the contrary: a very weak man who depends on the hate-filled accolades and praise of a group, who in the end, will probably never be satisfied.

Rev. Dr. Susan K. Smith is the founder and director of Crazy Faith Ministries. She is available for speaking. Contact her at revsuekim@sbcgloba.net.

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