Authoritarian governments are drawn from and always represent, first and foremost, the interests of the majority group within their country. Christians in 1933 Germany. Orthodox Slavs in Russia. Hindus in India. Whites in America.

Authoritarian leaders bind themselves to these groups by defining members of minority groups as “the enemy” of the larger majority, demonizing them and subjecting them to economic and physical brutality under the nation’s laws.

This is exactly the dynamic playing out right now in the nearly-all-White GOP. They have an extensive plan to exploit charges of “racism against White people” to seize control of the American government.

According to Donald Trump and the MAGA GOP, racism has become a huge problem in America. Specifically, racism by minorities against White people. Seriously.

Reality does not quite line up with Trump’s concern that Black people and other minorities are eating the lunch of their White neighbors:

  • For people of the same age and with the same level of education, Black men earn only 72 percent as much as White men.
  • The median Black family in America has $27,000 in wealth; the median White family sits on $250,400.
  • Roughly two-thirds of White families (66%) own stock and benefit from that investment vehicle; fewer than a third (29%) of Black families are able to invest in the stock market.
  • About a quarter (24%) of Black families have no wealth but are in debt, compared with 11% of White families.
  • About three-quarters (72.7%) of White families own their own homes, compared with 44 percent of Black families.
  • It is even harder for Black people to vote: Black voters are twice as likely to have to wait more than a half-hour in line than White people.

As the American Bar Association noted about Georgia’s voter suppression “exact match” eligibility requirement:

“This program requires an individual’s voting status to be suspended if the name on their driver’s license or Social Security records does not exactly match the name they inputted on their voter registration form. Of the 51,000 individuals that this law affected in 2018, 80 percent of them were African American. There is evidence that the ‘exact match’ law played a role in the 2018 Georgia gubernatorial election, as African American candidate Stacey Abrams lost by approximately 55,000 votes.”

But sure, White people are the victims of widespread discrimination in America and the efforts of the federal government must be directed toward protecting them from “racist” policies that harm them. Just ask the Republicans on the federal bench and the Supreme Court.

When he wrote the 2013 decision gutting the Voting Rights Act (VRA) of 1965, Chief Justice John Roberts — who had outspokenly opposed protecting the rights of Black people to vote when he worked in the Reagan administration — claimed that anti-Black racism in America was over and the VRA was no longer necessary to protect the rights of racial minorities:

“Our country has changed. While any racial discrimination in voting is too much, Congress must ensure that the legislation it passes to remedy that problem speaks to current conditions.”

When Congress passed $4 billion in COVID debt aid to minority farmers, a federal judge in Florida blocked implementation of the program and distribution of its money, claiming that its exclusion of White farmers was racist.

When, in the wake of COVID, Congress passed and the Biden administration rolled out a $29 billion program to aid restaurants that, during its first four weeks, prioritized women- and minority-owned restaurants, a Trump-aligned group successfully sued before a Bush-appointed judge by claiming the program was an example of discrimination against White men.

Last year, Republicans on the Supreme Court, responding to another rightwing lawsuit, ended affirmative action in college admissions programs. In addition to cutting the number of Black college students nationwide from roughly 7 percent of enrollments to around 4 percent within a year, the long-term result will be that senior positions in corporate America and on corporate boards will become more and more White as today’s students graduate into the business world.

All across the nation, diversity, equity, and inclusion programs and other efforts to undo over four hundred years of institutionalized racism are falling under pressure from White Republican politicians, judges, and activists. Project 2025 promises to gut as many such DEI efforts as possible.

Donald Trump has even promised that every single diversity or anti-racism program within the federal government — in every agency from HHS to the Department of Defense — will end if he succeeds in seizing our government this fall. Trump’s campaign aide Steven Cheung told Axios:

“As President Trump has said, all staff, offices, and initiatives connected to Biden’s un-American policy will be immediately terminated.”

Trump himself doubled down last year, saying:

“Every institution in America is under attack from this Marxist concept of ‘equity.’ I will get this extremism out of the White House, out of the military, out of the Justice Department, and out of our government.”

Which shouldn’t surprise us at all, given that, as Phillip Bump pointed out in yesterday’s Washington Post, the first time Trump was profiled in The New York Times was when he and his father were busted for refusing to rent to Black people.

Now he wants the entire nation to, essentially, refuse to rent to Black people. Or educate them. Or provide them with healthcare. Or let them vote. Or work. And all without recourse to the courts or to government aid.

Once the racist MAGA plan is accomplished, America will again rain hell on racial, gender, and religious minorities, just as Hitler did with Jews, Putin is doing with gays, and Modi is doing with Muslims.

While democratic governments are driven by the public good (defining “public” in the most inclusive sense possible), authoritarian governments — like the old American Confederacy that Trump wants to emulate — are driven by fear and hate.

And that is exactly the America that Trump, his legal beagles, and their White MAGA followers are promising.

Matt Rourke (AP), Charlie Neibergall (AP), and Andrew Harnik (AP)

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