MAGA Dog-Whistles, Bullhorns, and Fascism
None of us is safe until we all are safe from MAGA's war against Americans
by Stephanie Gerber Wilson, PhD
Yesterday we learned that Donald J. Trump has finally been indicted for a fraction of the crimes he has committed as a businessman, as president, and as ex-president. We’ll learn more in the days and weeks to come. In response to the indictment, Ron DeSantis issued the following tweet.
Today, I’m not going to talk about the obviously unconstitutional threat not to extradite Trump, who is expected to surrender himself next week in Manhattan. I want to focus on the epithet coming out of MAGA-world hard and fast. And that is “Soros-backed Manhattan DA.”
To the blissfully unaware, this statement might refer to a political donation Soros perhaps made to Alvin Bragg. However, this comment “Soros-backed” is a dog-whistle as loud as a megaphone. Any time MAGA refers to Soros-backed, or George Soros himself, they are referring to Jews. More specifically, they are referring to the conspiracy theory that is at the heart of White Nationalism. And that is that Jews sit behind the scenes, secretly and powerfully pulling the strings of their black puppets, who are coming to take America away from White Christian Americans (in their mind, the only true Americans). Eric Ward, COO of Race forward (see his bio here) wrote one of the best accounts of this ideology. Ward is a nationally-recognized expert on the relationship between authoritarian movements, hate violence, and preserving inclusive democracy, is the recipient of the 2021 Civil Courage Prize – the first time in the award’s history that an American has won the prize, revealing the dangerous proliferation of hate crimes and political violence by authoritarian and extremist movements in the United States. (Race Forward)
To recognize that antisemitism is not a sideshow to racism within White nationalist thought is important for at least two reasons. First, it allows us to identify the fuel that White nationalist ideology uses to power its anti-Black racism, its contempt for other people of color, and its xenophobia—as well as the misogyny and other forms of hatred it holds dear. White nationalists in the United States perceive the country as having plunged into unending crisis since the social ruptures of the 1960s supposedly dispossessed White people of their very nation. The successes of the civil rights movement created a terrible problem for White supremacist ideology. White supremacism—inscribed de jure by the Jim Crow regime and upheld de facto outside the South—had been the law of the land, and a Black-led social movement had toppled the political regime that supported it. How could a race of inferiors have unseated this power structure through organizing alone? For that matter, how could feminists and LGBTQ people have upended traditional gender relations, leftists mounted a challenge to global capitalism, Muslims won billions of converts to Islam? How do you explain the boundary-crossing allure of hip hop? The election of a Black president? Some secret cabal, some mythological power, must be manipulating the social order behind the scenes. This diabolical evil must control television, banking, entertainment, education, and even Washington, D.C. It must be brainwashing White people, rendering them racially unconscious.
What is this arch-nemesis of the White race, whose machinations have prevented the natural and inevitable imposition of white supremacy? It is, of course, the Jews. Jews function for today’s White nationalists as they often have for antisemites through the centuries: as the demons stirring an otherwise changing and heterogeneous pot of lesser evils. At the turn of the twentieth century, “The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion”—a forgery, first circulated by Czarist secret police in Russia in 1903, that purports to represent the minutes of a meeting of the international Jewish conspiracy—established the blueprint of antisemitic ideology in its modern form. It did this by recasting the shape-shifting, money-grubbing caricature of the Jew from a religious caricature to a racialized one.
I would love to speak to Eric Ward himself on how this phenomenon has played out since 2017 when he wrote this article. He speaks articulately about it frequently. My intention in calling it out now is to make you, dear reader, aware of one of the dimensions of White Nationalism. MAGA is starting with taking away women’s bodily autonomy and transgender folks’ freedom to embody their true gender. But make no mistake, MAGA is a truly fascist movement, and wherever we are on this list, all of us are on it. MAGA’s war is against all Americans, and even dead children are mere collateral damage. None of us is free unless we all are free.