Trump, white supremacy and the American voter

Barbara Steinberg | 7/5/2018, 11:43 a.m.
My friends cry into a towel making unintelligible animal sounds as they read the news and perceive American democracy slipping ...
White supremacists in Charlottesville CNN photo

the Equal Rights Amendment,

the Civil Rights Movement,

the Gay Rights Movement,

a permissive sexual morality associated with the hippie movement, and

obstacles to prayer in the schools.

1980: At his Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Virginia, Falwell said, “We’re fighting a holy war. What’s happened to America is that the wicked are bearing rule. We have to lead the nation back to the moral stance that made America great ... We need to wield influence on those who govern us.” (Eileen Oginiz, “Evangelicals Seek Political Clout,” Chicago Tribune, Jan. 3, 1980)

1980: Ronald Reagan became president of the United States. The Moral Majority was credited as being a crucial voting bloc.

1980s -1990s: State legislatures continue redrawing districts. More state legislatures turn Republican.


1991: From his apartment window, George Holliday used his camcorder to record the Los Angeles police officers brutally beating Rodney King as they arrested him. Then Holliday sent his footage to local news station KTLA. The footage went around the world. Citizen journalism was born.

1992: Pat Buchanan speaks in front of the Republican Convention after losing his presidential bid to George H.W. Bush.

He ascribes the Clinton platform to the “discredited liberalism of the 1960s and the failed liberalism of the 1970s.”

He characterizes the “Clinton agenda” as “not the kind of change we can abide in a nation that we still call God’s country.”

He added, “There is a religious war going on in this country. It is a cultural war… for the soul of America.”

1994: Newt Gingrich writes “The Contract With America.” During the midterm election campaign, Republicans take 54 seats in the House and nine seats in the Senate in what is called the Republican Revolution.

2003: Tom DeLay redrew Texas’ Congressional district lines, throwing aside the tradition that new lines be drawn every 10 years, based on census data. A federal court ruled in Abbot v. Perez that DeLay’s redrawn districts constituted gerrymandering. The case stated that DeLay’s districts were unconstitutional because their purpose was to increase the number of Republican voters and discriminate against minorities. These redrawn districts violated the 15th Amendment, which was the basis for the Voting Rights Act.

2005: Supreme Court decides to review Abbot v. Perez.

2008, 2012: Barack Obama is elected president. 

2012: Neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman kills Trayvon Martin, 17 years old, while he was on his way to his father’s girlfriend’s apartment. Zimmerman is acquitted. Martin’s family gets a settlement of more than $1 million from the Florida homeowners association of the housing complex where Martin was killed.

2013: In Shelby County v. Holder, the Supreme Court strikes down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act, which prohibits states from enacting “tests and devices” to suppress voting on racial grounds. Chief Justice Roberts said, “Our country has changed, and while any racial discrimination in voting is too much, Congress must ensure that the legislation it passes to remedy that problem speaks to current conditions.” Texas immediately passed a voter ID law.