Republican White Nationalism as practiced by Donald Trump and his Republican cohorts in Congress is a direct threat to our system of “separation of powers” and “checks and balances.” In order to understand this negative development, one has to read and understand James Madison writing in Federalists numbers 47, 48, and 51. In number 47 Madison argued that the legislative, executive, and judicial powers must be separated. If all powers emanated from one entity, that would be the very definition of tyranny.
America is currently locked in a tug of war over the question of tyranny/authoritarianism. In Federalist # 48 Madison argued that the legislative, executive, and judicial powers needed to be blended in order to keep each power center from drifting off into its own orbit separate and apart from our system of government. Under such an arrangement, the rogue branch would attempt to subvert the other branches with an unfettered power grab. This is precisely what we see happening with the Executive Branch. In Federalist #51 Madison simply concludes that the government must be willing to control itself. Currently, the Republican Party, which controls government, has lost control of itself. Perhaps I should also include Federalist 10 in this analysis. Madison warned about factions. We are seeing the bad fruit of factions in full bloom. I constantly tell students who take my classes that political parties are not the government. Political parties seek office in order to control government. It has become all too apparent that political parties can also destroy government. When loyalty to the party or loyalty to the person negates self-control and the ability to function in an adversarial stance to the whims of a President, the system is in grave risk. Short of a military coup to right this ship, the electorate will have to wait until November 2018 to vote in a party that will place a check on the power of the Presidency.
There is a pressing question that comes to mind when considering this bent to authoritarianism. Are White Nationalism and authoritarianism synonymous when applied to the United States? It is well proven at this juncture that Donald Trump ran a racist campaign. It is no secret that his administration has a racist bent. Republicans in Congress have acquiesced in the administration’s proclivities. For whatever reason, the Republican leadership in Congress is Goose-stepping behind this President. In this instance, party loyalty becomes obscene. The person and the policies are both detrimental to the American system of government. How is it that the American President can malign his own intelligence and law enforcement agencies while continually attempting to curry favor with a foreign adversary?
The current Administration makes me think about the antagonists in the Lord of The Rings. On the domestic front, for example, the current administration is only concerned about blue skies over the Florida Trump estate. The E.P.A. is doing everything but protecting the environment. Public lands are being made available for more drilling. Clean water and worker safety regulations are being rolled back. The Republican tax cut is nothing less than the redistribution of wealth upwards to already wealthiest segments of American society. This applies to corporate interest and wealthy individuals. Add to the excesses of deregulation the willingness of the President to lie straight to your face makes the current state of affairs quite troubling. It is even more troubling given the fact that current Republican Party leadership does not have the will to check the President.
On the other side of the isle Democrats must maintain the appearance and the movement toward inclusion. The Democratic Diaspora must find a way to harness the Electoral College to make sure White nationalist sentiments are once again relegated to the fringes of American politics. This is not the same country that it was in 2015. Russia has seized the imagination of the President. The Republican Congress has become complicit in Trump’s White Nationalism. Fringe groups have entered the “mainstream.” Legitimacy has been bestowed on hate. Few are willing to challenge these developments as long as the social safety net remains in the cross hairs.
Anthony Neal earned his Ph.D. in political science from Atlanta University (now Clark Atlanta University). Dr. Neal is an associate professor at State University College, Buffalo. The author of numerous book reviews and journal articles, he has had his work published in the Western Journal of Black Studies, the Journal of Black Studies, and Black Issues in Higher Education. In 2014 Dr. Neal received the university’s Faculty Appreciation Award, was named Instructor of the Year by the university’s United Student Government, and Professor of the Year by the Student Political Society in the Department of Political Science. In 2015, he published The American Political Narrative which is a succinct yet poignant narrative about the development of the American political system and what is needed to maintain it. In 2016, he published a book of poetry entitled “Love Agnostic | from 9/11 to Charleston”
Photo Credit: Ozier Muhammad