Mainstream “liberal” and “progressive” media pundits seem overjoyed with the outcome of the recent 2020 elections. Commentators at The New York Times and MSNBC, among many others, seemed to have breathed a sigh of relief that the Democrats held onto the Senate and gave little ground in the House, losing far fewer seats than the worst-case scenarios predicted with the so-called “red wave.”
Clearly, the big loser in the 2022 elections was Donald Trump. A reported 14 candidates that he backed lost including, most notably, Senate candidate Mehmet Oz and gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano in Pennsylvania; Kari Lake for Arizona governor; and Kristina Karamo for Michigan secretary of state.
However, the most revealing episode of the election jamboree was Trump’s rant against Florida’s Gov. Ron DeSantis, dubbing him “Ron DeSanctimonious.” DeSantis’s significant reelection victory only added to fuel to the fire that increasingly defines the growing splits within the Republican Party. Trump’s formal announcement that he plans to run for president 2024 threw down the gauntlet to DeSantis and other Republican hopefuls.
The likely split of Congress will see Democrats controlling the Senate and Republicans the House. This will lead to a two-year period of inaction to deal with the deepening crises facing the nation, notably inflation, widening inequality, the shift to a multipolar world order and climate change. Not unlike the last years of Pres. Barack Obama’s presidency, Pres. Joe Biden’s ability to address the critical issues will be stymied by a split Congress. House Republicans will, in all likelihood, sabotage all efforts to address these concerns as a way to set the stage for the 2024 election showdown.
If “stop the steal” Trump is indicted for one of many criminal charges facing him and he also losses in ’24, one can well image that he and his hard-core supports will rail against the election outcome. It may also mark his full marginalization within not only the Republican Party but American politics.
However, the likely coming Congressional battles, the outcome of the 2024 elections and Trump’s endless rantings will not address the underlying factors that are driving ever-deepening popular discontent – white rage. These and other factors are fostering rising insecurity among many Americans, fueling increasing political polarization and ever-deeper resentment.
White rage has long haunted American life. It dates from the first colonists who expropriated the lands of the native people, persisted through the centuries of slavery and legitimized by the Know-Nothings of the 1850s who opposed “non-white” Catholics (including Irish and Italians), Eastern European Jews and Chinese immigrants.
Most recently, this rage was expressed in the January 6, 2021, attempted coup d’etat, but also in the numerous rightwing violent demonstrations (e.g., “Unite the Right” in Charlottesville, VI, in 2017) and the increasing number of politically motivated mass killings (e.g., Buffalo in May 2022). The rise of rightwing, nationalistic violence — articulated through ideologies like the Great Replacement and QAnon – indicates a deepening social crisis.
“My whole life I have been preparing for a future that currently doesn’t exist,” ranted 21-year-old Patrick Crusius on the 8ch.net website shortly before he walked into a Walmart store in El Paso, TX, on August 3, 2019, and murdered 23 people and wounded almost two dozen others.”
Going further, Crusius warned, “The job of my dreams will likely be automated. Hispanics will take control of the local and state government of my beloved Texas, changing policy to better suit their needs.” He then lamented:
My death is likely inevitable. If I’m not killed by the police, then I’ll probably be gunned down by one of the invaders. … Worse still is that I would live knowing that my family despises me. This is why I’m not going to surrender even if I run out of ammo.
This white rage was also expressed by John Earnest who, on April 27, 2019, when he killed one and injured three at a synagogue in Poway, CA. In a letter he released online, Earnest claimed that Jews were responsible for the genocide of “white Europeans.” He wrote [#64]:
I hate anyone who seeks the destruction of my race. Spics and niggers are useful puppets for the Jew in terms of replacing Whites. Of course, they aren’t intelligent enough to realize that the Jew is using them and they will be enslaved if Europeans are eliminated. Do they actively hate my race?
The added, “Yes, I hate them. Are they in my nation but do not hate my race? I do not hate them, but they aren’t staying. Are they out of my nation and do not hate my race? Fine by me.”
Nothing more fuels white rage more than the changing “face” of the nation, the changing composition of the American people. This change is most evident in who are the new immigrants. Pew Research reports that in 1960, 84 percent of immigrants living in the U.S. had been born in Europe, Canada or other North American countries, while only 6 percent were from Mexico, 3 percent from the rest of Latin America, while 4 percent from Asia and 3 percent from other areas.
The passage of the 1965 Immigration and Naturalization Act began to change the nation’s demographic composition. By 2018, traditional European immigrants, including Canadians, made up 13 percent of the foreign-born population. However, the proportion of “non-whites” foreign-born population grew significantly, including Asians (28%), Mexicans (25%), other Latin Americans (25%).
The change in composition was reflected in the age structure of the U.S. immigrant population. As European born “white” immigrants gave way to “non-white” foreign-born immigrants (e.g., Mexicans, Chinese), the age the average of each group shifted from ages 65-69 in 1960 to ages 40-44 in 2018. Pew notes, “Today, European, Canadian and other North American immigrants tend to be older, with a median age of 53 and 54 respectively in 2018. Mexican immigrants are among the youngest, with a median age of 43.”
In the 2020 census, 34 million Americans checked off the “Two or More Races” box when listing their racial identity – a decade earlier, nine million Americans did so. That’s a 276 percent increase! As the American Prospect points out, “That reflects the rise of cross-racial coupling and resultant childbirths, of course, but it probably also reflects more Americans’ willingness to acknowledge racially mixed parentage or ancestry.”
Changes in the immigrant composition of the population illuminates the profound changes now remaking many aspects of American life — and many Americans feel threatened by these changes. One can make an almost endless list of all the changes now underway; they fill media headlines every day.
We are living in unstable time and, I would image, many (if not most) Americans are worried, apprehensive, as to not only if they will make it through but what comes next. For an increasing number of Americans, little can be assured, truly taken for granted.
21st Century America will not be 20th Century America let alone the America of centuries past. No matter what happens with the 2024 elections and Trump’s fate, America is changing in a profound, structural manner and this can be expected to further fuel white resentment and rage. Sadly, these conditions will likely only intensify during the foreseeable future.