How the collective memory of whiteness defines Donald Trump’s presidential slogan and is breaking our democracy

Photo by TheDigitalArtist on Pixabay

Make America Great Again is the product of white imagination. When Donald Trump descended the gold escalator at Trump Tower on June 16, 2015, he opened his campaign for president by speaking to white anxiety about multicultural America. Here’s what he said:

When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.

The white folks in the audience knew what the two…


President Biden’s action on racial equity and the question of governing morality

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July 3, 1964. In the evening, on the day before the nation’s birthday, on the day before the country was poised to celebrate the American proposition “that all men are created equal,” three ministers were denied entrance to The Pickrick restaurant in Atlanta because they were black. The Revs. George Willis, Albert Dunn, and Woodrow Lewis were met in the parking lot. Lester Maddox, the cafeteria’s owner, rushed over to them, gun drawn.

“Get out of here now,” he said. “I have a right to protect my property and myself, and that’s what I’ll do.”

Men carrying ax handles followed…


Donald Trump was never going to win the popular vote. Heading into November, my nightmare scenario was that President Trump would lose by more votes and by a bigger margin than he lost to Hillary Clinton in 2016. The nightmare part, and what I really worried about, was that he would still win the presidency by taking the electoral college. But, thankfully, that didn’t happen.

Donald Trump wasn’t reelected because he screwed up the structural advantages Republicans have used (and have increasingly relied on) to win elections. As Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight points out, “rural white voters who are the…

Joseph R. Nichols, Jr.

STL | PhD | Assistant Professor | Historian & Educationalist | Social Studies(ing) all the things | Writing while drinking dark roast coffee and smooth bourbon.

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