Larry Elder is Trump’s Black Face

The late Lee Atwater, wherever he is, must be in awe of the new techniques of racial politics practiced by the Republican Party, which is little more than a front for White Narcissism. He outraged the left by using euphemisms when he meant Blacks. Jesse Jackson summoned up this strategy with his famous quote, “The Bus Is Us” meaning that when Republicans discussed Busing they really had Black encroachment in mind. This was seen as an improvement over using the old N-word strategy to win elections. Lee Atwater put it this way: “

You start out in 1954 by saying, “Nigger, nigger, nigger.” By 1968 you can’t say “nigger”—that hurts you, backfires. So you say stuff like, uh, forced busing, states’ rights, and all that stuff, and you’re getting so abstract. Now, you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is, blacks get hurt worse than whites.… “We want to cut this,” is much more abstract than even the busing thing, uh, and a hell of a lot more abstract than “Nigger, nigger.”*

 When accused of Racism in the 50s and 60s, those whose politics leaned rightward would deflect from the charge with the dubious cliche of “ some of my best friends are Black” which became a gag on late night shows.

Today’s right has gone beyond  euphemisms and clichés. Theyare original, and most of all well funded. Today’s right boasts of a more intimate connection to those whom they scapegoat.

A columnist who is opposed to immigration pleads that his daughters are dating Mexican-Americans. A public intellectual whose foundation receives money from the right says that he has Blacks in his extended family

In case you haven’t noticed, three of the leading “White Nationalist” organizations include, or  are even headed by minorities, a Black Cuban, Enrique Tarrio , is the leader of  the Proud Boys and a Hispanic and a Vietnamese American lead two other White Nationalists organizations.

Tarrio takes credit for organizing the Capitol insurrection. Steven Carrillo, son of a Mexican immigrant and member of the Boogaloo Boys, is a suspect in killing two California police officers. The Boogaloo Boys is a White nationalist outfit that is opposed to immigration.   

I think that Larry Elder’s candidacy for governor of California is part of this political jump fake. A Black candidate is offered so that Blacks who aren’t informed will vote for him on the basis of racial solidarity. These voters should look at Elder’s record which is a rubber stamp for Trumpism.

Elder has argued that Roe v. Wade should be overturned; he has also disputed the characterization of anti-drug laws as racist; he opposes a California law that banned police from using certain chokeholds. Elder opposes gun control. He also has a history of making anti-LGBT remarks. Like his wealthy supporters, he wants to end the social safety net. He’s opposed to a minimum wage. On top of that, he denies that there is a climate crisis.

Don’t  count on Governor Elder attempting to solve California’s climate emergency. He says that he wants to end state-imposed mask and vaccine mandates across California, which makes him a bonafide member of the Trump death cult. Referring to Jonestown, Trump himself once used the metaphor of “drinking the kool aid,” but there’s a difference between Trump’s followers and his stand-ins like Elder. The people of Jonestown didn’t impose their suicide action on others.

Elder would be a disaster for California. He would make Schawezenegger look like FDR. Those who would be most affected by an Elder administration should put as much effort in opposing his candidacy as they are in opposing voter suppression. Wake up, Woke! 

*Rick Perlstein, The Nation, Nov.13, 2012.

Ishmael Reed is the author of The Complete Muhammad Ali.