Foner: It’s very easy to say, “Oh, Trump’s gone off the reservation.” But actually, this is part of the American political culture, past and present. Our politics has not always been like the Lincoln-Douglas debates, some high-minded discussion of important issues. Even those debates weren’t like that! We have seen the low road many a time. Go back to the Know-Nothings, George Wallace, Richard Nixon, the Southern strategy. This is an important strand of our political culture.
That’s a more frightening thought than calling Trump a lunatic and an aberration. He is the logical extension of the way the Republican Party has been operating since Barry Goldwater. This is how the Republican Party has gotten votes for 50 years—Trump is just tearing off the mask. Now he just says right out the racism that was only barely hidden for so long. An accurate history would show that it’s always been there. We shouldn’t just talk about how weird Trump is.
and, on Bernie:
Foner: Well, I think he’s a little more than a generic FDR liberal. I don’t know what will happen with the impulse that Bernie reflected. But I think it’s a major step toward what radicals try to do, what The Nation tries to do, which is to fill the vacuum created by the collapse of neoliberalism. The financial crisis created a political and intellectual vacuum. Neoliberalism was destroyed. Though it lingers on like a zombie walking the earth, it has no intellectual legitimacy anymore. But what is to take its place? “Democratic socialism” is a fine phrase, but it doesn’t have a very worked-out substance at the moment. Nevertheless, getting people talking and thinking about alternatives is a tremendous thing, and Bernie accomplished that.
Lots of other good material on this bloated narcissist sociopath who won in such an historic landslide and now is doing such great things…