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Est. April 5, 2002
March 07, 2019 - Issue 779

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Former Maine Governor Lepage Follows His Leader, Trump,
Attitude On Race


"Early this month, as the Maine legislature was considering
electing U.S. presidents by popular vote, rather than through
the Electoral College, LePage called the move 'insane,' according
to the New York Daily News, and said that a popular vote system
would allow minorities to elect presidents, even though whites
make up about 61 percent of the U.S. population."

Paul LePage, two-term governor of Maine, is at it again and he has pulled no punches in determining that his support of the federal Electoral College was and is constituted so that “white people” can remain in power and the country will not be overrun by people of color and immigrants.

Early this month, as the Maine legislature was considering electing U.S. presidents by popular vote, rather than through the Electoral College, he called the move “insane,” according to the New York Daily News, and said that a popular vote system would allow minorities to elect presidents, even though whites make up about 61 percent of the U.S. population.

A nationwide effort is under way to do just that, eliminate the Electoral College, likely spurred by the loss by Hillary Clinton to Donald J. Trump in the 2016 presidential election. Trump won by electoral vote, but lost the popular vote to Clinton by some 3 million votes. True to form, without any evidence, Trump attributed his loss of the popular vote to voter fraud and the illegal voting by minorities and immigrants. Many studies and analyses of that election showed virtually no fraud anywhere in the country. He simply lost the popular vote and could not handle being a loser.

LePage, who served two terms as Maine's governor, was outspoken, even reckless, on many issues, including the issue of race. He was quoted in 2016, by The Daily News, that “guys by the name D-Money, Smoothie, Shifty,” come to Maine from New York and Connecticut to sell drugs and “half the time they impregnate a young, white girl before they leave.” And in the same year, the paper reported that he called Latinos “the enemy,” saying, “The enemy right now, the overwhelming majority of people coming in are people of color or people of Hispanic origin.”

Although he first endorsed Chris Christie for the GOP nomination for president in 2016, he switched his support to Trump when Christie dropped out. He and Trump seem to share many opinions, attitudes, and traits. Trump had said that he would prefer that immigrants from “shithole countries” (read poor or developing countries in which much or most of the populace is of color) stay in their own countries, while he would welcome those from countries like Norway (blue-eyed and blond, like himself).

The former governor, who now lives in Florida, has a different story in his raising than the orange instant millionaire, who is said to have been given millions as a youth. Trump has intimated that he made his money himself, adding that he only got a “small loan” from his father of about a “million dollars.” Some research has shown that he was given much more than that by a father who impressed on his son that the worst thing that could happen to him would be becoming “a loser.” It's likely that that was the reason that he has never admitted that he made a mistake and that continues to this day. Senior Trump had a large part in making Donald Trump what he is today, incapable of empathy or sympathy and capable of inflicting cruelty in treating his perceived adversaries with contempt. The Republican primary campaign in 2016 was a prime example of that.

LePage grew up in a large French Candian family in Maine and spoke French as his first language. He left home, the story goes, after his father beat him and broke his nose, causing the adolescent to live homeless for two years. He eventually worked at a variety of jobs and was the first in his family to graduate from eighth grade and high school. He had difficulty in entering college (a business school at the time) because of his lack of English-language skills, according to a short bio in Wikipedia. He was finally admitted, when he was allowed to take a reading comprehension test in French.

In 2011, as governor of Maine and a successful businessman, he ordered the removal of an 11-panel mural from the state's Department of Labor building in the capital, Augusta, that depicted some of Maine's labor and union efforts and successes over the decades. The reason he gave for the removal was that he felt that the mural that featured working men and women was too one-sided and might make the corporate types who would enter the building uncomfortable. For a time, it was not certain where the mural panels were stored, but they did resurface and several locations were suggested for their exposition. Many hoped that they would find their way back to the Department of Labor after LePage's departure (he was limited to two terms and left at the end of 2018).

Apparently, in addition to not liking minorities of any kind, he does not like workers or unions very much. In that, he follows in the footsteps of his president, who has riled up his “base” with diatribes against immigrants from Central and South America. Trump's lust for building a wall between the U.S. and Mexico has become an obsession, nearly as great as his obsession for wealth, making more money, and gold. But it does show his utter contempt for those he considers lesser human beings and the president also has not acknowledged that the flow of immigrants into the U.S. from the south is the lowest in decades, having peaked at least 10 years ago. To know this, however, he would have had to understand the history of the Western Hemisphere and he does not. He doesn't know much history at all, since he likely never studied it and does not read, not even the briefings on the subjects that are written by administration staff or government researchers in language that a grade schooler could comprehend.

His attitude toward people of color can only be attributed to racism, plain and simple, just as LePage's attitude could be attributed to racism, although it doesn't seem to be as broadly sweeping as Trump's. After all, in the recent congressional hearing in which the testimony of Trump fixer, Michael Cohen, was the witness, a Republican representative produced a black staffer from the administration to prove that Trump is not a racist. And LePage, years ago, had taken in a young Jamaican, who he was said to have treated like an adopted son.

Still the two of them have managed to dredge up from deep within an antipathy toward poorer citizens and those who do not look like them, but it's not likely that LePage could ever dredge up the contempt and loathing of “the other” that Trump exhibits daily, especially when he is catering to that part of his base that is made up of white supremacists.

Trump and LePage may get their wish, that the Electoral College will survive as the way the founders believed would be the lasting way their class would be in charge of the country and its politics. Trump found a way to tap into the rage of the “forgotten Americans,” by masquerading as one them and promising to lift them up economically, which he never will do. He even has the gall to refer to the “ruling class,” as oppressors of both him and his “forgotten American” base, even as he takes advantage of every law and judicial decision that benefits his class, which is the ruling class. He has taken every step that he can to ensure that he and his family will continue to ride on and live off the American people.

Eliminating the Electoral College will be the first small step the people can take to somewhat level the playing field. The least the people can do to wrest control of the nation's politics and economy from the billionaire class and their brethren in Corporate America is to encourage or demand that their representatives and senators vote to elect presidents by popular vote. Go ahead! Scare the rulers with your voice and your vote. Let's see if democracy can work in an oligarchy. Columnist, John Funiciello, is a former newspaper reporter and labor organizer, who lives in the Mohawk Valley of New York State. In addition to labor work, he is organizing family farmers as they struggle to stay on the land under enormous pressure from factory food producers and land developers. Contact Mr. Funiciello and BC.

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