Trump, the Confederate Flag, and Cleveland

Will Donald Trump let Confederate flags wave among American flags on the Republican party’s convention floor in Cleveland? Imagine the optics of that.


Back in July of 2015, Trump signaled his support for sending the Confederate flag to museums, no longer to fly over courthouses, but now he’s shifting again. Here’s Politico: “[I]n contrast to his remarks about the [Confederate] 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.”

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
This entry was posted in donald trump, hillary clinton, Politics, Ted Cruz. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Trump, the Confederate Flag, and Cleveland

  1. Cody says:

    If you can ignore how frightening it is, it’s been incredibly interesting to watch Trump as he’s moved closer to official candidacy–you could see nearly all of his views move toward the extreme right, toward a nationalist totalitarianism, from being some left-leaning and metropolitan. He is some kind of campaign whiz; at the very least, he knows his audience.

    • Santi Tafarella says:

      Yes, agreed. But I wonder if the rules committee at the Cleveland convention will go nuclear and decide to free the delegates on the first ballot. That would arrest Trump, but probably not discredit populist demagoguery as a contemporary phenomenon (at least from the right).

      At this point, to really finish Trump off, I would say that a one-two punch is required: (1) Americans have to have the opportunity in a general election to reject his style of politics at the ballot box; and (2) the demographics have to shift just a bit more (enough that Republicans will never try this white-heat shit again).

      The risk, of course, is in that 2016 vote.

      I blame the Trump phenomenon on three things: (1) talk radio and Fox News; (2) George Bush Sr. for giving us Dan Quayle; and (3) John McCain for giving us Sarah Palin. This placing of an ignorant nitwit or populist outsider (Palin was both) close to power, for the sole purpose of shoring-up the talk radio base, was always a reckless political strategy, and it has now morphed into Donald Trump.

      But if Trump can be finished off from the right this year, I’m guessing he’s prelude (along with Bernie) to a similar sort of con-man demagogue emerging out of the left sometime over the next couple of decades. Obama, in a sense, was also prelude to this in 2008: an outsider with little experience, but a lot of glamour. Obama, fortunately, had a Harvard law education, was clearly sane and moderate, and rode to power a left-leaning populism without governing like Cornell West.

      Obama is a grown-up. He apportions his beliefs to the evidence, and recognizes that most questions are dilemmas of competing goods that have to be balanced, not matters of black and white. Hillary recognizes this as well. Bernie and Trump are oversimplifiers. Cruz is an oversimplifier. After Trump, who will be the next oversimplifier to set the country into a spin? Is this the new normal, or just a fever for this year?

      • Cody says:

        Well-put. This has been an especially odd election cycle for me personally because I don’t like any of the candidates. The only one I feel morally comfortable throwing my lot in with is Gary Johnson, and even he has things I don’t care for–his education policies, for example. But having no dog in the fight certainly gives you perspective on the whole mess.

      • Santi Tafarella says:

        Hi Cody,

        I’ve never liked Hillary on a personal level, but I’m learning to like her, and find sympathy with her. I’m prepared to support her among the options–and to do so enthusiastically. And if enough white voters split their votes between Trump and Johnson in the general election, I think Hillary is in, which is fine by me.

        She’ll do no great harm by going to the far left precisely because: (1) she obviously is not an ideologue; and (2) the Republican right will check her in Congress if she tries. I see the two parties as akin to prosecutor and defense, both taking generally extreme positions as advocates for their side–which they then, rightly, block on each others’ behalf when it comes to actually governing.

        Gridlock is only bad to fanatics, in my view.

        And both sides try to scare their bases, and discredit one another, by expoiting reductio ad absurdum arguments: if Hillary gets in, she’ll go to the extreme left, and the country will end bankrupt or in Soviet-style communism; if a Republican gets in, we’ll end up in a nuclear war, etc.

        The problem with Trump is that the reductios are plausible. He really is mercurial and unpredictable. He may indeed ignore Supreme Court rulings, generals, scientists, diplomats, Congress, etc., and simply do what he wants–which could be anything (use a tactical nuclear weapon, etc.). He could be exactly like Putin, but without Putin’s intelligence and caution. I think that’s a real possibility. Congress might have to impeach him, but then he might create a constitutional crisis by not vacating the White House. You literally don’t know what he’s capable of precisely because it is so blindingly evident that he is unstable.

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