Six Questions For Dr. Gerald Horne About American History And The Rise Of Trump, Part 2

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This is the second part of an interview with Dr. Gerald Horne about his new book, The Apocalypse of Settler Colonialism: The Roots of Slavery, White Supremacy, and Capitalism in Seventeenth-Century North America and the Caribbean, and about the age of Donald Trump. For part 1, click here. To hear the entire interview, click here.

Dr. Gerald Horne

4/ AS: Are we going to see the Republicans move further right or perhaps a push towards moderation?

GH: I would like to think the second. But what concerns me is that, if I compare this moment to an earlier time, say the early-1940s, back then you had a Communist Party with tens of thousands of members, you had pressure from unions, you also had favorable conditions for the elections of Communists to office like Ben Davis to New York City Council in 1943.

But if you look today, I don’t think people can count! People need to take a basic course in arithmetic! The anti-Trump coalition is very heavily dependent upon Black voters voting 9-to-1 against Trump and that is a base that needs to be cultivated.

Published by Monthly Review.

But people can’t count, they are still ensnared, rhetoric aside, in a white man’s conception of the United States! So they don’t take into account any voters or potential part of the electorate that’s not considered “white.” Therefore they can’t do the kind of anti-Trump, anti-fascist organizing that the moment deserves!

5/ AS: What are your thoughts moving forward towards November?

GH I’m optimistic about inflicting a setback on Trumpism, at least in the House of Representatives. I’m hopeful that Stacey Abrams, the Black woman running for Governor of Georgia, will not only triumph but at least provide a showing that will inspire others to walk in her footsteps, particularly in Dixie.

GA Gubenatorial candidate Stacey Abrams/GA House of Representatives website, Public Domain

I’ve been keeping an eye on the Working Families Party in New York and the campaign of Cynthia Nixon, which has obviously pressed Gov. Cuomo to the left.

Having said that, I will repeat, people need to learn how to count. They need to look to where the most anti-Trump votes are to be harvested and try to turn out the vote in those particular precincts.

6/ AS: What are your thoughts on Black voter turnout and absenteeism in 2016?

GH: There have been understandable critiques of the campaign of Sen. Clinton and the fact that she had to run on the record of Bill Clinton, he of so-called “welfare reform,” he of so-called “criminal justice reform,” which led to increased and enhanced mass incarceration according to some analysts. And her use of rhetoric about “predators” which caused disruptions and protests at her campaign events. So obviously that was a difficult hurdle to surmount.

I think the Republicans did an effective job of blocking liberal and progressive initiatives in Congress which led many voters to think that there’s no difference between Democrats and Republicans. And that created an opening for Donald Trump and allowed him to win. But again we are still stuck with this antiquated, archaic Constitution, which says you can come in second place with the popular vote and still win!

We’ll see if there will be a push for a “card check” bill to overcome the hurdles presented to unions by things like the Supreme Court’s Janus decision. That was discussed during the Obama years but for various reasons did not take flight. I understand that the SEIU is re-energizing  to counter Janus.

But let me say something on a disparate note because I don’t want to seem a Gloomy Gus. The hopeful signs of the Mexican elections [sidenote: see the great reporting done by JoAnn Wypijewski and Margaret Cerullo for The Nation on the Mexican vote] could open the door to a re-animated campaign around immigration here in the US given how a significant number of immigrants being harassed are of Mexican origin.

AMLO has been very upset about that, which has buoyed his popularity in Mexico, the fact that he will fight on behalf of Mexicans on this side of the border and certainly, with his win, then that opens the door further for progressive movements and campaigns.

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