“Trump … puts a kilo of pure uncut white supremacy on the table, and he has his minions just snort it up and it empowers them.”
“It makes them feel strong. It makes them feel invincible, while everything around them is being destroyed. And the more that he gets in trouble, the more kilos he puts on the table.”
Carol Anderson said that yesterday in Slate. Today, she spoke about her book, White Rage, at a RamsayTalk Online. But she could have spoken at last night’s Vice Presidential debate between Kamala Harris and Mike Pence.
Because there was the thesis of White Rage for all to see. The idea for her critically-acclaimed best-seller is simple: “Black advancement. It is not the mere presence of black people that is the problem; rather, it is blackness with ambition, with drive, with purpose, with aspirations, and with demands for full and equal citizenship.”
If ever there’s an exemplar of black advancement in America, it’s Kamala Harris. There she was, up against the epitome of a party and a regime whose leader spouts racist bile all the time, and whose chief enabler, standing across from Harris at the debate, spreads his virus. Trump is open about Neo-Nazis being “very fine people” and the Proud Boys and Barack Obama, “He doesn’t have a birth certificate.” Pence is a little more subtle.
As Carol Anderson noted: “White Rage doesn’t have to wear sheets, burn crosses, or take to the streets. Working the halls of power, it can achieve its ends far more effectively, far more destructively.”
It tried at last night’s debate. It may have been hard to spot simply because last night was not nearly as outrageous a “shitshow” as the Presidential Debate. I mean, the two candidates actually debated in a debate. Such a high bar.
But early on, Mike Pence tried to cut Kamala Harris off.
“Mr. Vice President, I’m speaking.”
A few minutes later, Pence tried again to interrupt and silence Harris.
“Mr. Vice President, I’m speaking…If you don’t mind letting me finish, we can then have a conversation, ok?”
“Please,” Pence responded.
What woman has not been in this position, of having a powerful white man try to steam-roll her into silence?
But as Harris said in Elle Magazine: “That’s why I’ve run for most offices I’ve run for, because I’m not so good sometimes at asking for permission.”
So, points to Harris on that.
But there was a second example of Male-Power-White-Power at play.
Time and again, Mike Pence went over his allotted time. He was reminded by the female moderator, Susan Page, to stop. Twenty-two separate times during the debate, she tried and failed to have Pence stop, by saying “Thank you, Mr. Vice President.” 22 times!
But he just kept going. Because at some level he knew he could get away with it.
It seems he didn’t, though.
By the end of the evening, Pence spoke for 36 minutes and 27 seconds. Harris spoke for just three seconds less. So it’s clear that even with Pence’s many and lengthy interruptions, Harris held her own.
What did people think?
According to a poll of those who watched the debate, 59% said Harris won and 38% thought Pence did.
So much for White Rage.