'Cuz one's got a weasel
And the other's got a flag
One's on the pole, shove the other in a bag
With all apologies to Beck, of course.
Anyway, speaking of bozo nightmares and flags, Donald Trump loves him some Confederate symbolism, and it's certainly helping his campaign in more than just Southern states.
A year later, the backlash against the Confederate flag has spurred a counter-backlash, one that is playing out in countless skirmishes in courtrooms, township council rooms, bedrooms and Facebook posts, especially in the South. In the six months after the Charleston shooting, the Southern Poverty Law Center documented 364 Confederate flag rallies around the South. That doesn’t include a spurt of growth in the number of flags on private lawns and on bumper stickers.
“It’s like they say: Take one flag down and 1,000 go up,” says Tim Boone, who as founder of Rebel-lution, one of the many pro-flag activist groups that formed last summer and handed out “No votes for turncoats” stickers targeting the newly unpopular Haley and anyone else who might vote to take down a flag.
The backlash has extended to the national scene as well. Haley, once floated as a veep choice, is no longer mentioned in elite GOP circles. She’s expressed a desire to see the Citadel remove the rebel flag from its chapel, but her hands are tied by the state Legislature. Haley has linked the tone of Trump's rhetoric to the kind of violence seen last year in Charleston, but she’s still indicated she’ll support him as the presumptive Republican nominee for president.
Trump, meanwhile, has utterly dismissed the South Carolina governor, and he’s drawing support from many Confederate flag supporters who condemned Haley for her actions last year. And in contrast to his remarks about the flag a year ago, Trump has shifted rightward; many of those in the bizarre coalition of racists, anti-government radicals and states’ rights activists who’ve led the battle charge for restoration of the rebel flag believe the GOP presumptive nominee is dog-whistling encouragement to them.
Not racist, just number one with racists. Also just kidding, he's a racist. Let's stop pretending otherwise.
Trump’s face appears on the cover of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s annual report on domestic extremism, which found that from 2014 to 2015, right-wing hate groups grew 14 percent to almost 900. The Ku Klux Klan grew from 72 chapters to 190, although some of that growth came from the two largest groups splintering into smaller cells. Anti-government patriot/liberty groups, which have flourished over Obama’s two terms, grew to nearly 1,000.
Despite his 2015 flag statement, his “New York values” and his status as a genuine Yankee, those groups, along with the rest of the disparate coalition that has vocally supported the Confederate flag over the past year, have aligned behind Trump.
“I’m voting for him despite that [his statement about the flag],” says Boone. “The reason I’ll vote for Trump is probably the reason I feel most of the country is going to vote for him: They’re sick of the political correctness. We’re so worried about the minority getting their feelings hurt, with the flag, with transgender bathrooms and all that. Sometimes, the minority has to understand that their feelings get hurt too, and majority rules most of the time.”
Understand that this theory of Boone's here is called the Tyranny of the Majority for a reason. It's nothing new, John Adams was kicking it around in 1785 for a reason, guys. The notion that majority rule also means that rights and needs of the minority are ignored is frankly a founding principle of the country that took centuries to address, and even then only partially.
We're still having that struggle today, and the reason why Trump is so popular is that he wants to end that struggle, and not in a good way.