How Donald Trump’s Impeachment Made the White Party Whiter Than It Was
Just imagine if any Republicans had stepped out of line; Donald Trump would’ve “counterpunched” them. After his impeachment, Trump boasted that “every single Republican voted for us.” That show of white solidarity comes from white paranoia.
White paranoia is inherent to whiteness. It makes white knees knock as Toni Morrison described in her essay “Making America White Again.” In the book The Machinery of Whiteness, Steve Martinot says paranoia is an “essential element” of “white racialized identity.”
The incantation of “I feared for my life” immediately incarnates whiteness for whites, and even the fears whites have about each other make up white paranoia. White paranoia trembles today for tomorrow’s “majority-minority.” White paranoia coins slurs like “savage Indians,” “Negro insurrections,” “Negro domination,” and multicolored “scares.”
Whiteness is a radicalized state. Look at what James Baldwin said in his essay on being white and other lies: “White men — from Norway for example, where they are Norwegians — became white: by slaughtering the cattle, poisoning the wells, torching the houses, massacring Native Americans, raping Black women.” White paranoia pushes whites into white solidarity, and white solidarity brings and allows all kinds of white violence.
Trump’s presidency is one of white solidarity, through white violence, that starts with white paranoia.
That white violence was in the lies and the yelling coming from the white party during the impeachment hearings. That white violence was also in the motions and the votes coming from the white party. As they forcefully defended their white messiah, the white party became whiter than it was.
Some conservatives say the white party is betraying its “conservative principles”—but none of this is new. Post-Reconstruction, the white party in Congress “subordinated” its divergent political priorities because of white paranoia and its desire to remain white. Today, the “Solid South” spans the nation because the white party subordinates everything in solidarity to whiteness.
Trump’s presidency is one of white solidarity, through white violence, that starts with white paranoia. Every day, he gins up everyday and extraordinary white paranoia. White paranoia is a call to arms that summons and reinforces white solidarity for the exercise and maintenance of white power.
With Trump’s impeachment, the white party became whiter than it was because the spooked faces of whiteness saw another ghost of their own making. White paranoia keeps whiteness alive, and white paranoia keeps whites in line. A condition of such hysteria needs the coup it fears, and most desperately a self-inflicted coup de grâce, for the only way out is through its end.