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Glen Ford of the Black Agenda Report says Trump’s candidacy is throwing both Democratic and Republican parties into crisis

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SHARMINI PERIES, TRNN: It’s the Glen Ford report on the Real News Network. I’m Sharmini Peries coming to you from Baltimore. The leadership crisis in the Republican party is the topic of Glen Ford’s report this week. Glen, welcome to the Real News. GLEN FORD: Thanks for holding a place for me. PERIES: And as you know, Glen is the executive editor of the Black Agenda Report. So, Glen, what’s in your notebook today? FORD: The chairman of the Republican National Committee is a guy named Reince Priebus, is trying his best to keep the establishment Republicans, folks like Mitt Romney from fielding their own candidate as an alternative running under the Republican Party banner. That is, to get further and further away from Trump, a whole party away from Donald Trump. The chairman calls that a suicide mission, and he thinks it could wreck the country. What’s actually already been wrecked is the Republican half of the two-party oligarchy, that’s a system in which both of the parties are run by big business, but they depend on voters from different social bases. The Democrat big business party relies on an ethnically diverse range of voters, including about a quarter of its membership is black. And the Republicans have been the white man’s party for about half a century. What Donald Trump has done is to strip the Republican Party down to its white supremacist identity, and in the process he’s discarded much of the corporate and the Wall Street and the global militarist platforms of the old party, these platforms that are so near and dear to people like Mitt Romney. And that is what is unacceptable and causing such a great panic among the elite. Donald Trump is against corporate globalism. That is, the unfettered movement of money, and of course jobs, across the globe, across national borders. But that is the gold standard of corporate politics, as Hillary Clinton would be glad to tell you. Trump also opposes the wholesale assault on entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare. And that kind of assault on entitlements under the term ‘austerity’ is an article of faith, not just for the Republicans, but for all corporate politicians, including Barack Obama, who said at the beginning of his first term in office that he was going to scale down on entitlements. Donald Trump has also discarded the whole national security justification for the U.S. military empire around the globe. Instead of saying that the U.S. is necessary to be in all these countries with a thousand military bases and all these treaties to protect these various countries, Donald Trump says it’s all just a financial transaction that the United States can enter into or not, depending upon whether the deal is good. And that is anathema to not just the Republican Party but to most of the Democratic party, which is why Republicans like Mitt Romney are running around trying to find some way to keep the corporate control in the Republican Party, and keep the Democratic Party from becoming more attractive than the Republicans to Wall Street money and to corporate money, and to those who are pushing an austerity kind of politics. The two-party duopoly, with Trump now leading the Republican Party, would now have only one reliable corporate collaborator, and that would be Hillary Clinton. But of course, there is a left wing of the Democratic Party which now knows its strength. It’s been watching the returns. It’s impressed with its own size. It now knows that it makes up at least about half of the Democratic Party. And those Bernie Sanders Democrats do not want to be part of a party that is headquarters central for the corporate world. So there is a crisis on both ends of the duopoly. PERIES: And Glen, on the Republican side, the crisis that I tried to describe earlier when we just started, how do you think it can resolve itself in a way that it’s going to, I guess their objective is try not to split up the party. How could that happen? FORD: Well, you know, Priebus, the RNC chairman, says it’s a suicide mission. It certainly could not result in a Republican victory. In fact, all the prospects are for a Democratic victory on the scale of the Lyndon Johnson landslide over Barry Goldwater in 1964. But these corporate Republicans are so intense on inflicting a defeat on Donald Trump that they are openly talking about fielding a candidate who might only disrupt the race between the two parties in two states and lead to a Trump defeat, or throw the election into the House of Representatives. Now, that is, of course, controlled by the Republican Party, and somehow decide the contest there. But what is clear is that they would rather see the Republican Party go down to defeat than win with Donald Trump, because Donald Trump opposes austerity, opposes U.S. defense posture as it now is, and opposes global capitalism as it operates. And without, you don’t have those platforms, you don’t have a Republican Party. And as a matter of fact you don’t have a Democratic Party as we now know it, either. PERIES: And if you were to take lessons from the past, when you’re faced with this kind of a situation, such a close race in the polls, say, between Trump and Hillary Clinton at this time, the tendency of the Democratic campaign would be to become as Republican as possible in order to garner some of the votes from the Republican Party, people who would come over to the Democratic side. This would certainly make Hillary more conservative than she is, and that’s a move away from what she’s been drawn to do in the campaign thus far, because she’s running against a leftist candidate like Bernie. How will that pan out? FORD: Well, that’s the great bind. There is no easy solution to that. She wants desperately not just to make the usual Democratic Party turn to the right after the convention. We’re used to that. That adjustment always occurs. But she wants to make the big move, because for corporate politicians like her this is the chance of a lifetime, with all of these Republican refugees expected to be floating around there. How could she pass this up? She must make a big pitch to them. But here we have half of the party that is now under the leadership of a left liberal who calls himself a socialist, and they want no part of that any–excuse me–any big tilt to the right by, by this party that creates a crisis within the Democratic Party. But it shows that when you have one part of the duopoly destabilized, it has profound effects on the other part of the duopoly. It’s not just an automatic transfer of Republican votes to the Democratic Party. There are profound ramifications for the coherence of the Democratic Party as well. I think that the Republicans–excuse me–that Donald Trump’s people, his social base, represents about 30 percent of the white population of the United States. But I think that Bernie Sanders supporters represent about 40 percent, certainly, of the Democratic Party. And both of these social forces, the white supremacists on the right and these leftish folks in the Democratic Party around Sanders, really ought to be parties of their own, and I think many of the people within these newly-conscious social forces know that. And so the leaders of the party, that is, the Mitt Romneys on the Republican side and Hillary Clintons on the Democratic side, have to be very careful how they treat these constituencies that they relied on previously to just toe the big business line. PERIES: All right, Glen, I thank you so much for joining us today. This is going to be an interesting leadup to both conventions. Thank you. FORD: Thank you. PERIES: And thank you for joining us on the Real News Network.


DISCLAIMER: Please note that transcripts for The Real News Network are typed from a recording of the program. TRNN cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.

Glen Ford

Glen Ford is a distinguished radio-show host and commentator. In 1977, Ford co-launched, produced and hosted America's Black Forum, the first nationally syndicated Black news interview program on commercial television. In 1987, Ford launched Rap It Up, the first nationally syndicated Hip Hop music show, broadcast on 65 radio stations. Ford co-founded the Black Commentator in 2002 and in 2006 he launched the Black Agenda Report. Ford is also the author of The Big Lie: An Analysis of U.S. Media Coverage of the Grenada Invasion.