By Roger Caldwell
The Democrats are struggling in the 2020 presidential campaign. Senator, Bernie Sanders is leading the pack of Democratic candidates, but he is not really a Democrat, so the campaign is really confusing. Senator Sanders is an independent, and a socialist, and with the label of socialist, he will probably lose to President Trump. Sanders is also a progressive, and an advocate of Medicare for All, the Green New Deal, and much higher taxes on upper incomes.
“The discourse surrounding Bernie Sanders’s campaign has a familiar ring, ‘Stop Sanders’ Democrats Are Agonizing Over His Momentum”, reads a headline in The New York Times this week. As the Democrats are fighting with their own crisis, the Republicans are now the Party of Trump.
President Trump’s support comes from the majority of small donations from under $200. Many Americans hate Trump, but 50% of American love him, and they will vote for him another term. Trump has learned how to create bait, and it attracts a crowd, and his rallies are usually 15,000 to 20,000 strong. At Trump’s rallies, he is also attracting Democrats, because he uses bait and data to study their habits.
“Quickly after his rally Tuesday in New Hampshire, his media team announced that they received over 50,000 new pieces of data (leads) and 24% of them were from registered Democrats. They were focused like a laser on that number because they only lost the state by 2,000 votes in 2016. Their data also shows if you go to a rally there is an 80% chance of you voting on Election Day,” says Darin Spindler - of Magnetic Marketing.
If the Democrats are going to win in 2020, they must study and watch what Trump’s team is doing in their campaign. The Republicans are not fighting amongst themselves, they are organizing and collaborating.
“The data is also showing if you go to a rally and you donate a dollar ($1) – there is a 90% chance you will vote on Election Day. Just think, a $1 commitment increases the likelihood of you voting by 10%,” says Darin Spindler. Trump’s rallies are very important to his campaign and he is expanding his voter base.
“President Trump’s reelection campaign raked in $46 million in the fourth quarter of 2019 in support of the president’s bid for a second term, the Trump campaign announced last month,” says Melissa Quinn –of CBS News. “The Trump campaign raised $143 million total in 2019 and the year with $102.7 million in cash-on-hand. The $46 million brought in for the last three months of the year represented donations made only to the campaign and does not include money raised by the Republican National Committee or other joint fundraising committees, said the campaigns,” says Melissa Quinn.
The Democrats have their work cut out for this election, because the billionaires in the Republican Party are just starting to make their donation. As Michael Bloomberg begins to move up on the list of Democratic candidates many Democrats are happy, because he is worth $60 billion dollars. In 2020, it seems that this presidential election will be centered on the billionaires. This is unprecedented, but elections have always been about who has the most money. When a candidate can spend 2 or 3 billion dollars on a campaign the leadership does not know what to say. The Republicans will raise billions of dollars in the 2020 election. If the Democrats are going to challenge the Republicans, they must also raise billions of dollars to compete.
Language and the use of words can be more powerful than any weapon of mass destruction.
“Wordsmithing” in the wrong hands can bring on a plague of violence and destruction biblical in proportions. And this brings us to the current widest widely use of the word “anti-Semitism.”
Donald Trump, a master of obfuscation and prevarication, in order to gin up his evangelical support, signed an executive order on Dec. 11 titled “Executive Order on Combating Anti-Semitism.” Despite its humanistic title, this order does not combat anti-Semitism. It is merely meant to throttle free speech concerning human rights issues in Israel and many individuals, including Jews, have concerns about it.
In a recent opinion piece in The Guardian, Kenneth Stern, the director of the Bard Center for the Study of Hate, wrote, “ was never intended to be a campus hate speech code, but that’s what Donald Trump’s executive order accomplished this week. This order is an attack on academic freedom and free speech, and will harm not only pro-Palestinian advocates, but also Jewish students and faculty, and the academy itself.”
Fifteen years prior to writing his piece in The Guardian, Stern – considered an expert on the topic – drafted a working definition of anti-Semitism for the American Jewish Committee.
It is usually a “third rail” in domestic political discourse for non-Jews to analyze the use of the word “anti-Semitism” in America. But the intentional division of the many and varied identities in this country is now reaching a critical point and the weaponizing of language by demagogues like Donald Trump is throwing fuel on the fire.
Language is generally considered to be a convention, where those who communicate understand a word or phrase to have a commonly understood meaning. And in this sense, anti-Semitism is generally understood in America to mean hostility to or prejudice against Jews.
However, most dictionaries tell us that Semites are not solely Jews, but any of “a number of peoples of ancient southwestern Asia including the Akkadians, Phoenicians, Hebrews and Arabs.” This has been a working definition since 1848.
Donald Trump is not so concerned with the protection of Jews as he claimed when signing this order. He is more concerned with the division of Americans into “us” and “them.” It is convenient for him to weaponize the term “anti-Semitism” in order to demonize the supporters of other Semitic people, such as Palestinians, who criticize the actions of the government of Israel. This is a distortion of cultural identity in order to curb the freedom of political speech, the aim of which is to homogenize America into a white Christian nation.
Joining the ranks of those who want to divide this nation in order homogenize it are bigoted religious leaders like Robert Jeffress, senior pastor of First Baptist Church, Dallas, and the Rev. John C. Hagee, founder of Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, who is known for his end-times preaching. Despite their histories of religious intolerance, both of these vendors of religious hate were guests at the White House’s Hanukkah party, which took place after the signing ceremony for the executive order. Jeffress is known for postulating that Jews and other non-Christians are destined for hell while Hagee has called Hitler a “half-breed Jew” who was a “hunter” fulfilling God’s will. Can we really believe that Trump is concerned with hate speech when he pals around with people like Jeffress and Hagee? Can we believe he wants to stamp out hate speech when he has said there were “very fine people” protesting in Charlottesville, Va., by torchlight shouting “Jews shall not replace us”?
America, in a sense, is a small village where we all drink from a common well of democracy that springs from mutual respect and the common good. Trump and his minions are poisoning that well with the toxic wordsmithing of hate speech. He schemes to turn this country into a white Christian monolith, while falsely accusing the intended victims of his bigotry of being the perpetrators of villainy.
If we, as Americans, are concerned about injustices towards Semitic people, we should approach it in terms of all Semitic people, including the descendants of the Akkadians, Phoenicians, Hebrews and Arabs. These times are telling as to who the American people are and what they stand for. And while actions speak louder than words, the words we use have a lot to say about us as well. We should not allow legitimate criticism to be muted by those falsely claiming to muzzle hate speech.
Oscar H. Blayton is a former Marine Corps combat pilot and human rights activist who practices law in Virginia.
When Sputnik circled the earth in 1957, Americans were agog that the Russians had beaten us into space. In Black barbershops, segregated classrooms of the South and other spaces where Black folk could speak openly, it was undisputed that America’s inability to focus on the “space race” was because of its obsession with the “race question.” Three years earlier, the U.S. Supreme Court had ruled that the doctrine of “separate but equal” was unconstitutional and one year after that, the Court had ordered the desegregation of public school with “all deliberate speed.” These directives for fairness and equality for African Americans set the South ablaze and racial bigots raised every imaginable barricade to prevent equal educational opportunities for Black children.
Some people will say that desegregation had nothing to do with the space race. But the number of Black astronauts, physicists, engineers and mathematicians who have contributed to America’s space efforts since integration exposes that bit of white supremacy for what it is. Prohibiting African Americans from attending many universities with advanced science programs, and participating fairly in the aerospace industry and the effort to conquer space, amputated a valuable portion of this nation’s brain power.
Today, we again find ourselves in competition with Russia on another geopolitical chessboard. Russia, Brazil, India and China have pushed forward on the global...