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Want To Know How Trump Supporters Will Be Treated? Look At How They Treated The Tea Party

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Adam Barnes General Assignment Reporter
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As President-elect Joe Biden calls for the unity of a deeply divided America, various groups are calling President Donald Trump supporters to reconcile themselves with the transition to a new presidency — and possibly a larger-scale transition of power. Trump’s supporters need only to look back to the Tea Party movement to see a glimpse of their future.

Both the Tea Party and Trump supporters are arguably grassroots movements intended to hit back at the establishment, and both have been targeted for alleged racism by their critics. Liberal pundit Keith Olbermann wrote that despite the Tea Party’s rejection of the “racist” moniker, its lack of racial diversity was proof of unspoken prejudice — furthering the argument that the movement was a rejection of the nation’s first black president.

“How many black faces do you see at these events? How many Hispanics? Asians? Gays? Where are these people? Surely there must be blacks who think they’re being bled by taxation,” Olbermann wrote. “Surely there must be Hispanics who think the government should’ve let the auto industry fail. Surely there must be people of all colors and creeds who believe in cultural literacy tests and speaking English.”

Lawmakers also alleged racism in the Tea Party. An incident in March 2010 that dominated the news cycle at the time offers another view of what Trump supporters might expect in the coming days. Three Democratic congressmen walked through a group of Tea Party demonstrators on their way into the Capitol. Democratic Reps. Andre Carson, Emanuel Cleaver and John Lewis reportedly heard some protesters yell the N-word.

Conservative journalist Andrew Breitbart said at the time it was unfathomable that a person would shout an epithet in front of a sea of cell-phone cameras. In fact, Breitbart pledged $100,000 to the United Negro College Fund to anyone who could provided proof of the allegations. Nobody could.

“It didn’t happen,” said Breitbart. “This is 2010. Even a racist is media-savvy enough not to yell the N-word.”

Like the Tea Party conservatives, Trump supporters have faced similar allegations of racism over the past four years — arguably, they have done so from day one of Trump’s presidency. David Remnick, editor-in-chief of the New Yorker, wrote the day after Trump’s election that it was an “American Tragedy” and a “sickening event” in U.S. history.

“On January 20, 2017, we will bid farewell to the first African-American President—a man of integrity, dignity, and generous spirit—and witness the inauguration of a con who did little to spurn endorsement by forces of xenophobia and white supremacy. It is impossible to react to this moment with anything less than revulsion and profound anxiety.”

Olbermann argued on the Nov. 5, 2020, episode of his YouTube show that Trump should be removed from office and arrested. He proceeded to define nearly the entire mass of Trump voters as white, gun-toting “morons.”

“Trump can still live in a version of the bubble that he and the 69 million morons who voted for him have lived in since 2015,” he said. “Inside Trump World, it’s fun and exciting and there’s no pandemic and nothing but white people and lots of guns and everybody will be a billionaire soon!” Olbermann said.

The same day the Associated Press and Fox News called the election for Biden, media figures and well-known members of Congress joined the cry to name and record anyone associated with the Trump administration. (RELATED: ‘We Have A List’: Pundits And Democrats Plan To Hold Trump Supporters Accountable)

The communications director for the Democratic National Committee tweeted the idea that consequences could await those who hire former members of the Trump team, saying “Employers considering them should know there are consequences for hiring anyone who helped Trump attack American values.”

Similarly, Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez asked on Twitter whether any group was recording for posterity the activities of the Trump team.

But some argue for more than labels. Robert Reich, labor secretary during Clinton’s first term, proposed a commission to issue corrections to all the alleged ills of the Trump administration. Reich said all who played a part in the “catastrophe” should be held accountable.

“When this nightmare is over, we need a Truth and Reconciliation Commission. It would erase Trump’s lies, comfort those who have been harmed by his hatefulness, and name every official, politician, executive, and media mogul whose greed and cowardice enabled this catastrophe,” Reich tweeted.