Friday, August 10, 2018

Last Call For Taking A Knee

It's August, and that means preseason NFL action got underway Thursday.  But all eyes are on the players before the ball is even snapped, and the resistance to Trump is picking up right where it left off last season.

Player demonstrations took place during the national anthem at several early NFL preseason games Thursday night.

In Philadelphia, Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins and cornerback De’Vante Bausby raised their fists during the anthem, and defensive end Chris Long placed his arm around Jenkins’ shoulder. Jenkins had stopped his demonstration last December.

Defensive end Michael Bennett walked out of the tunnel during the anthem and walked toward the bench while it played. It appeared all the Steelers stood.

“Everybody is waiting for what the league is going to do,” Jenkins said. “We won’t let it stop what we stand for. I was very encouraged last year with the direction and that obviously took a different turn.

“I think it’s important to utilize the platform as we can because for whatever reason, we have framed this demonstration in a negative light, and often players have to defend why we feel the need to fight for everyday Americans, and in actuality we’re doing the right thing.”

At Miami, Dolphins receivers Kenny Stills and Albert Wilson and defensive end Robert Quinn protested during the anthem. Stills and Wilson kneeled behind teammates lined up standing along the sideline. Quinn stood and raised his right fist. There were no apparent protests by the Buccaneers.

“As a black man in this world, I’ve got an obligation to raise awareness,” Quinn said. “If no one wants to live in unity, that’s why we’re in the situation we’re in.”

Stills kneeled during the anthem during the 2016-17 seasons and has been vocal discussing social injustice issues that inspired the protest movement by NFL players.

Former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, a leader of the movement, tweeted support for Stills and Wilson.

“My brother @kstills continued his protest of systemic oppression tonight by taking a knee,” the tweet said. “Albert Wilson joined him in protest. Stay strong brothers!”

And in Seattle, three Seahawks players ran into the team’s locker room prior to the playing of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

Defensive linemen Branden Jackson and Quinton Jefferson, and offensive lineman Duane Brown left the field following team introductions and before the start of the anthem. They returned to the sideline immediately after it concluded. All three were among a group of Seattle players that sat during the anthem last season.

Needless to say, Tang the Conqueror isn't a happy camper.

Trump is openly delivering ultimatums for the players at this point, he will not be defied except by, well, the player defying him.  Expect the NFL owners to cave very quickly here, and the players to take a knee anyway.

Losing The Racist Battle, Winning The Racist War

As the one-year anniversary of the white supremacist march on Charlottesville, Virginia arrives this weekend, Adam Serwer argues that in that year the forces of racism certainly suffered setbacks, but with their greatest champion being Donald Trump himself, they're winning the war.

From the looks of it, the Nazis lost the battle of Charlottesville. After all, Donald Trump’s handling of the aftermath of the rally, in which he said there were “very fine people” on both sides of the protest, drew bipartisan condemnation. The attempted rebranding of white nationalism as the genteel and technologically savvy alt-right failed, the marketing campaign faltering after the murder of the counter-protester Heather Heyer and the attempted murder of several others revealed to the nation the logical conclusion of alt-right beliefs and arguments. The bloody outcome of that day foiled the white nationalists’ attempt to garner sympathy from the mainstream right, and in doing so, make themselves respectable.

But the alt-right and its fellow travelers were never going to be able to assemble a mass movement. Despite the controversy over the rally and its bloody aftermath, the white nationalists’ ideological goals remain a core part of the Trump agenda. As long as that agenda finds a home in one of the two major American political parties, a significant portion of the country will fervently support it. And as an ideological vanguard, the alt-right fulfilled its own purpose in pulling the Republican Party in its direction.

A year after white nationalists in Charlottesville chanted, “You will not replace us!” their message has been taken up and amplified by Fox News personalities. Tucker Carlson tellshis audience that “Latin American countries are changing election outcomes here by forcing demographic change on this country.” Laura Ingraham says that “the America that we know and love doesn’t exist anymore” because of “massive demographic changes” as a result of “both illegal and sometimes legal immigration that progressives love.” They echo the white-nationalist claim that America is at risk because the nation is growing more diverse, an argument that treats the mere presence of nonwhite people, citizen or noncitizen, as an existential threat to the country. White nationalists like Cantwell are cheered to hear their beliefs championed on Fox. Cantwell wrote last year that Carlson “is basically telling white America to prepare for war as directly as he can get away with while remaining on Fox News.”

American history is replete with tragedies that are epic in scale, but few are comparable to what has happened to the party of Lincoln, who struck perhaps the most decisive victory against the principle that America is a white man’s country with the proposal and ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment. There is no reason that this new generation of immigrants cannot become loyal Republican voters, much as a previous generation of despised foreign newcomers did. The obstacle is the conservative movement’s growing embrace of a definition of American citizenship that is inherently racial. Where prior conservative champions like George W. Bush or Ronald Reagan might have seen a new generation of Republicans, today many conservatives see only an invasion.

While few sitting Republican legislators echo these sentiments publicly, Republican audiences are now being fed white-nationalist philosophy through mainstream conservative figures with national followings. Unless something changes, conservative constituencies will eventually begin to demand that their representatives adopt those views as well.
White nationalists win by activating white panic, by frightening a sufficient number of white people into believing that their safety and livelihoods can only be protected by defining American citizenship in racial terms, and by convincing them that American politics is a zero-sum game in which white people only win when people of color lose. While this dynamic has always been present in American politics, it has been decades since the White House has been occupied by a president who so visibly delights in exploiting it, aided by a right-wing media infrastructure that has come to see it as a ratings strategy. It is not just the white nationalists who win when racialized fears surrounding crime, immigration, and terrorism shape the political behavior of white voters. Donald Trump also wins. And both the Trump White House and the men who rallied in Charlottesville for the cause of white power know it.
We're at a critical juncture here.  I'm convinced that findings from the Mueller probe, plus a Democratic takeover of the House will galvanize white nationalism within the Republican party and make it the primary policy of the GOP.  "Getting rid of the enemies of America" will become the singular motivation, and those enemies will be the black, the brown, and the non-Christian.

Sometime in 2019 the Republicans will fully embrace white supremacy as the central tenet of the party.  The rest won't matter.  You'll see 2020 primary candidates openly advocate for mass deportations, detention camps for Muslims, police action to "cleanse" black and brown neighborhoods and "protecting the white way of life".  And these candidates will start winning.  Corey Stewart will not be the outlier that drags the party down in 2018, but the winning norm in 2020.

The pretenses will be dropped in 2019.  The Republican party will fully become the party of American white supremacy.  History fully informs us where the country goes after that, and things get very ugly from there.

Is It Time For New Blood?

A new poll finds that among Democrats, it's a dead even split as to whether Rep. Nancy Pelosi should remain the Democratic leader in the House in 2019.  As for Republicans and independents, well, they are heavily against her.

Only 27 percent of people surveyed in a new poll think Democrats should keep Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) as their leader in the House, with nearly half of Democrats surveyed saying the caucus should pick a new chief.

The new American Barometer poll released Thursday by Hill.TV and HarrisX found that just 51 percent of Democrats surveyed think that House Democrats should keep Pelosi as their leader. Forty-nine percent said the caucus should pick a new leader.

Seventy-nine percent of independents said that Pelosi should be replaced, while 91 percent of Republicans said House Democrats should pick a new leader.

The dismal figures come as a number of Democratic candidates and incumbent members of the House refuse to say they will support Pelosi in a vote for the House Speakership.

In June, Politico reported that more than 20 Democratic House candidates have said they would not vote to elect Pelosi to be their party’s leader.

The declarations have raised real questions about whether Pelosi could secure the 218 votes needed on the House floor to become Speaker.

I don't buy that last part, but we also have a number of Democratic House candidates who have said that they will not vote for Pelosi as Leader or as Speaker next year.   It was 20 in June.  It's 50 now.

As Democrats battle to retake control of Congress in November, their leader — Nancy Pelosi — could also be facing a coming fight of her own.

Fifty Democrats running for the House say they won't support the California lawmaker for speaker, according to an NBC News survey of candidates and their public statements.

At least 41 of the party's nominees for House seats have declared they will not back Pelosi and nine incumbent Democratic lawmakers are on the record opposing her.

The most recent voice to the chorus came Thursday, when Michigan Democrat Rashida Tlaib, who is on track to become the first Muslim woman in Congress, said she would "probably not" support Pelosi because "she doesn't speak about the issues that are important to the families of the 13th congressional district, and they are a priority for me."

An additional 34 Democratic nominees are neither for nor against Pelosi, who has led her party in Congress since 2003.

The significant opposition is a sign of the movement for a generational change in Democratic leadership on the Hill — some believe that Pelosi should step aside so younger members of the party can move up in its ranks. The majority are Democrats running in Republican voting areas, where the minority leader is despised by the GOP. And some of it stems from the ascendant progressive movement, which wants to promote different policies and take a more aggressive approach in Congress to the Republicans and to President Donald Trump.

Frankly, Nancy Pelosi is the one Democrat over the last fifteen years who demonstrably has been good at her job, but if she can't get the 218 votes in January, then Democrats need to figure out who can and fast.  I suspect she has things under control and will throw her support behind a candidate for leadership, but the village can't resist DEMS IN DISARRAY stories.

We'll see.

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