WASHINGTON—The year 2021 might better be remembered as the fifth year of the Donald Trump presidency than as the dawn of a fresh new era with Joe Biden officially in the White House. Hardly a week passed in 2021 when the twice-impeached one termer was not out-competing Mr. Biden for news media attention. And he has absolutely no rival among Republicans.
Mr. Trump’s blatant hostility toward Black people, toward Black ambitions, toward Muslims has spilled over into the public at large, to Congress, to local school boards, courtrooms, classrooms so that White people seem newly unrestrained from participating in belligerent, racist behavior.
There is no such thing as a civil discourse any longer, not even in the highest offices. One Republican Congressmember, for example, who boasts of legally carrying a concealed weapon, goaded Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) as being a member of the “Jihad Squad,” as if to taunt her into a shouting match, or worse.
Establishment Democratic Party leaders find themselves politically outmuscled, again and again by now rabidly conservative Republicans who are sometimes joined in the Senate by “moderate” Democrats, Krysten Sinema (D-Ariz.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.). Those two have virtual veto power, because every single Democratic Senate vote, plus the tie-breaking vote of Vice President Kamala Harris is needed in order to get any of Mr. Biden’s agenda approved because of the solid solidarity of GOP members who want the Democrats, and especially Black ambitions to fail.
“Honestly, I’m frustrated with every Democrat who agreed to tie the fate of our most vulnerable communities to the corporatist ego of one Senator,” Rep. Cori Bush said angrily via social media when Mr. Manchin announced during a television interview Dec. 19, that he would not support Mr. Biden’s $1.75 trillion, signature “Build Back Better,” economic stimulus legislation.
Others pointed fingers at Mr. Biden for not disciplining rebellious senators like Mr. Manchin inside the Democratic “big tent.” Vice President Kamala Harris even had to defend Mr. Biden during a testy exchange with media host Charlamagne Tha God Dec. 17, when he raised questions about Mr. Biden’s handling of roadblocks to passage of his social spending package.
On Comedy Central’s “Tha God’s Honest Truth,” the vice president touted the administration’s infrastructure package, work addressing maternal mortality issues and police reform. But the host repeatedly pressed Ms. Harris about the inaction on much of Mr. Biden’s agenda, pointing in particular to Sen. Manchin.
Mr. Manchin, he said, is “hurting Black people in particular” by holding up progress on key parts of the president’s agenda, and he warned that Black voter turnout could decline if the roadblocks continue.
“I want to know who the real president of this country is, is it Joe Biden, or Joe Manchin?” he asked repeatedly. “No, no, no, no,” she replied. “C’mon, Charlamagne. It’s Joe Biden,” the vice president said. “It’s Joe Biden, and don’t start talking like a Republican, about asking whether or not he’s president.”
That is the crux of the dilemma for Democrats. White voters are increasingly joining on, or silently condoning the worst racist and xenophobic conduct by the radical, potentially violent conservative factions such as the Proud Boys, and the Three Percenters, who have the solid support of “Freedom Caucus” Republicans in Congress.
But Democrats—White Democrats—see voters such as those in Virginia who chose a conservative governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general in elections over Democratic incumbents this November are leaning more and more toward conservative, pro-Trump, often racist candidates, and in the process rejecting elements of the so-called “Black agenda” embedded in Democratic Party policies, especially in the form of rejecting education reforms, such as accurate teaching of the treatment of Black people in this society for nearly 500 years, a debate that is known as “Critical Race Theory,” and “The 1619 Project.”
In a recent Politico/Morning Consult poll, White voters did not equivocate. Nearly 70 percent of Republicans said they want Mr. Trump to run for president again in 2024. Let’s remember, a majority of White voters—male, female, and most age-economic groups—voted for Mr. Trump in 2020. He lost the election because a plurality of White voters, and vast majorities of Black and other non-White voters, turned out against him.
Now, in private life, racist behavior is seen openly, more and more among Whites of every age group. The University of Richmond suspended a fraternity in mid-December after a video surfaced showing some members singing “I want to be a slave owner,” and “The South will rise again.” Elsewhere, a mother pulled her 16-year-old from the $22,000 per year International School of Indiana because her daughter was tired of hearing the “N-word” from White students who she said, are “proud” to be racists. “They just walk around saying it proudly,” the student said.
In another school, in Wheatland, Calif., north of Sacramento, a video surfaced on social media, showing several Wheatland High students with swastikas drawn on their bodies.
As a result of this conspicuous energy among Whites all over the country, political observers are forecasting a Republican sweep of the House of Representatives in 2022, and a presidential sweep in 2024, even without having to resort to violent tactics—for which the Jan. 6, 2021 U.S. Capitol insurrection may have been only a dress rehearsal.
In fact, three retired Army generals—former Major Gen. Paul Eaton, former Major Gen. Antonio Taguba, and former Brig. Gen. Steven Anderson—wrote in the Washington Post recently that they were “increasingly concerned” about the 2024 election and the “potential for lethal chaos inside our military.”
“Lethal chaos” would justify urgent, dictatorial measures, the suspension of Constitutional guarantees, the suspension of various legal protection, after of course the “fascists”—as more and more analysts have begun to describe the right-wing forces—take firm control of the levers of power.
In 2022, the U.S. appears headed toward more and more repression, especially when it comes to the Black Agenda.