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Thu Dec 31, 2015, 10:19 AM

The Return of the 1920s (in Donald Trump and the republican base in general)

America is again caught between nationalists longing for the glories of an imagined past, and activists invoking ideals the nation has never yet attained.

The United States is wracked by a spasm of anti-cosmopolitanism and fear of radical subversion. It is exemplified, for many Americans by the election and presidency of Obama himself: black, yet biracially cosmopolitan, urban, intellectual, raised partly in a Muslim country, and the abandoned son of a Kenyan activist and academic. Millions of conservatives still suspect him of being un-Christian and, literally, not a native-born American qualified to serve as president. ... The current conflict is a continuation of one over the past century in the United States between what the historian Gary Gerstle has called the racial nationalism of blood and ethnic supremacy and a more expansive civic nationalism which promises a common political project of equal rights and respect for all. America has seen expressions of both racial and civic nationalism in its history—both are quintessentially American articulations of political power and hierarchy. Yet these different national projects—one culturally and ethnically homogeneous, the other inclusive of differences, yet seeking to subsume them into a “Party of America”, in political theorist Rogers Smith’s words—both risk canceling out a third strain of American nationalism.

There is no period of American history that so pervasively demonstrated the power of ethno-nationalism to suppress pluralist differences as that following the Russian Revolution, the end of the First World War, and then continuing through much of the 1920s. There are many broad parallels between this era and our own. In both historical moments, there is a rising racial nationalism that takes hold of a significant (and demographically similar) portion of the country. Following the 1920s, Franklin Roosevelt’s leadership during the Depression and a massive labor movement—which, at least, in its ideals (if often not its practice) extolled the social solidarity of Americans of all races, ethnicities, and religions—renewed civic nationalism.

Black soldiers returning from the war, looking for jobs after fighting for their country, were often met with rage; their simple expectation of respect precipitated a violent, racist backlash. In Chicago in 1919 and Tulsa in 1921 dozens were killed in race riots; across the country, whites killed blacks who dared to imagine they could be equal participants in a project of civic nationalism. ... What these various fears shared in common was the concern that the centrality of America’s Anglo-Saxon heritage was being undermined by radicals, immigrants, and African Americans. Understandable concerns for personal safety merged with resentment for groups who sought to disrupt long assumed hierarchies.

One consequence was the introduction of the Immigration Act of 1924. ... The stated goal of the bill’s sponsors and supporters was to enhance an ethnically and racially homogeneous American population.

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/12/the-return-of-the-1920s/422163/?google_editors_picks=true

Trump and his supporters have always seemed to be a throwback to an earlier republican era of anti-immigration, anti-trade sentiments, described by this writer as ethno-nationalists. It is interesting to see the parallels between the 1920's and republican view of the 21st century.

Liberals do seem to support "a more expansive civic nationalism which promises a common political project of equal rights and respect for all" even if that has never been achieved. Conservatives, OTOH, seem more worried about "the centrality of America’s Anglo-Saxon heritage" and their "u)nderstandable concerns for personal safety merged with resentment for groups who sought to disrupt long assumed hierarchies."

The 1920's revisited.

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Response to pampango (Original post)

Thu Dec 31, 2015, 10:20 AM

1. The return of the 1860's by the Republican base. nt

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Response to ladjf (Reply #1)

Thu Dec 31, 2015, 10:44 AM

2. Ironically, the republican base were the liberals back then.

So the modern republican base is acting like Democrats (from a bygone era). Someone should tell them.

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Response to pampango (Reply #2)

Thu Dec 31, 2015, 11:51 AM

5. The Republicans of 1860 recognized that they had a sure fire

divisive issue, freeing the slaves, that would put them in office. They remained in power after that almost a 100 years.
I recognize that the emancipation was and is considered to be a liberal move. Yet there were other approaches to emancipation that could have freed the slaves without causing the most devastating catastrophe in American History.

In 1850, the Republicans counted on two high probability outcomes of summarily freeing the slaves, (1) the South would secede, leading to the inevitable Civil War and (2) the North would win the war. Both sides lost heavily in terms of lives and financial.

It is my personal opinion that the Republican politicians of the 1850's were mainly concerned about achieving political ascend ency by
supporting the righteous cause of freeing the slaves. (Which truly was a righteous cause that had to be accomplished.)
In that sense, I feel that their desire for political power dictated their strategies more than the desire to accomplish the solution of the slave issue that was best for the slaves and other Americans.

There is no doubt that slavery was a terrible practice and mistake made by those who owned slaves. But, legally speaking, what they did wasn't illegal, therefore there was no legal basis to criminalize what they had done. The Federal Government could have passed a law that prohibited the further acquisition of slaves and mandated that existing slave were to be freed within ten or fifteen years. Further, the slaves owners should have been offered at least a partial reimbursement for the original cost of purchasing the slaves.

If the measured phasing out of slavery was still so objectionable to the slave owners, that they preferred to go to war over it, then so be it. They could elect to fight it out like barbarians. The fact that they felt that the seceding states could actually win an all out war with the Federal Government is clear testament to the extent of their delusions. I have read several news articles in Southern newspapers of the 1860's stating that the Civil War would be over in a few months.

For years, Republicans have enjoyed their "heroic role" in electing Lincoln and freeing the slaves. I believe that the Republicans recognized a sure fire means winning power and they played it to the hilt. For them, it was wildly successful. For everyone else, it was an unnecessarily extreme strategy to emancipate the slaves.

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Response to pampango (Original post)

Thu Dec 31, 2015, 10:54 AM

3. Thanks for posting this! Yes, it does appear history is repeating the 1920's with Trump.

Trump often reminds me of a white supremacist in his shouting ramblings wherein he repeats the same thing over and over again with no substance than his constant rhetoric and put downs.

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Response to pampango (Original post)

Thu Dec 31, 2015, 11:12 AM

4. If I remember correctly, the 1920's ended with a crash

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Response to MiniMe (Reply #4)

Thu Dec 31, 2015, 11:57 AM

6. You are correct. But, the Republicans remained in power until

FDR was elected. It took some time for Americans to kick the Republicans out of office.

In my opinion the Republicans have had two motivations behind every word out of their mouths, that is power and money.

From the time their Party was formed in the mid 1850's up to this day, their goals have always been the same: power and money.
(A good many, but not all, Dems have the same objectives.)

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Response to MiniMe (Reply #4)

Thu Dec 31, 2015, 12:01 PM

7. republican economics at work. Like 1920's republicans Trump is anti-labor,

anti-tax, anti-immigration, anti-trade, anti-minorities. Indeed income inequality was at historic highs (even worse than today) by the end of the 1920's due to republican policies pre-FDR. Trump (and any of the other republican candidates) would be a repeat of the 20's.

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