With remarkable clarity and touch of envy, Mitt Romney describes Republican Party front-runner Donald Trump as "a phony, a fraud." Romney also affirms that "I understand the anger Americans feel today." Others have argued that the people, mostly white males, voting for Trump are "angry." The prototypical angry white male supporting Trump has been identified as the one "who didn't go to college," who feels voiceless, who lives in areas with "racial resentment," who frowns upon "immigrants," and who is threatened by "non-whites." Add to this white male anger some strong animus against the rights of women, against respect for sexual minorities and persons with disabilities.
The "angry white male" as a social and political phenomenon is not new by any stretch of imagination or polling data. It started with the massacres of Native Americans. Years ago, the phrase "angry white male" associated with American whites entered the Oxford Dictionary, though as a "derogatory term." In 1970s, Archie Bunker in "All in the Family" made it upright and hilarious to be angry white male. Ronald Reagan brought style and syrupiness to the concept whereas Justice Scalia injected juristic venom to the causes championed by angry white male. The neocons, mostly white-shirted white men, advocated lawless international savagery arguing that mighty (white) America has turned soft on Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, supporting torture, Guantanamo, renditions, advocating aggressive wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, but advising hands-off from genocides in Congo and Rwanda.
Who invented the theories of inferiority of African Americans? Writing on the eve of the American Civil War, Thomas Cobb, an angry white male from Georgia, writes a phony and fraudulent "comprehensive theory" to argue that white children are superior to "negro children." In 1857, Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger Taney, an angry white male, argues "most fraudulently" that the children of African Americans, free or enslaved, could not be the citizens of the United States.
Who interred innocent Japanese Americans? Franklin Roosevelt, a presumptively angry president, issues an executive order authorizing military commanders to intern Americans of the Japanese descent. Obeying the orders, white military commanders order Japanese Americans, men, women, and children, to leave their homes and report to military relocation centers. In 1944, Supreme Court Justice Black, not an African American, writes a "phony" court opinion to uphold the executive order as a lawful military imperative. In 1945, President Harry Truman, angry with the Japanese, orders the dropping of nuclear bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Who denied American women the right to vote? After establishment of the United States, almost all state legislatures, populated by white males, had passed affirmative legislation to deny American women the right to vote. In 1807, the New Jersey state legislature repealed the state law that had previously allowed women to vote. In 1875, the United States Supreme Court Chief Justice, a white male, upholds "the right of suffrage to men alone" sanctifying the separation between citizenship and suffrage, requiring a tedious constitutional amendment for women to obtain suffrage. Retrospectively, it appears to be no less than a constitutional "fraud" that even American citizens, as white women were, could not vote unless specifically permitted by white males holding state machinery.
The angry white male has been fighting to dismantle affirmative action derogatively associated with favoritism and incompetence. A popular fable has been constructed that affirmative action provides jobs to women and non-whites who are otherwise incompetent and even "unqualified." This anger is founded on a questionable presumption that whites are smarter than non-whites, a "phony and fraudulent" theory that has been employed to justify colonialism, segregation, discrimination, and monopolization of power. Ironically, the same angry white male is shocked when Asians win state and national math competitions and the East Indians beat white Americans in English spelling bee contests.
Politically, the anger that Mitt Romney refers to is directed against President Obama, the first non-white male to govern from the White House. Despite many questionable policies, including drone warfare and assassination of Americans, President Obama has served well. He did not slip in a Monica Lewinsky under his desk. He did not fabricate evidence of weapons of mass destruction to invade Iran, something he could have easily done had he listened to angry white males. Obama inherited a basket-case "terror economy" initiated by George Bush, Dick Cheney, and Donald Rumsfeld, the angry white males, who turned "phony" insane over the 9/11 attacks and unleashed "shock and awe" military atrocities against millions of innocent citizens of Afghanistan and Iraq. Many Americans will be delighted to see these angry white males prosecuted for war crimes.
By all counts, angry and not-so angry white males are doing pretty well in America. They are still running the show and calling the shots, sometimes from behind brown and black frontage. They head corporations, universities, state and local governments. They are disproportionately represented in academia, investment banks, and positions of privilege. I have lived in America long enough to see how incompetent and vindictive some angry white males are. I also know first-hand how angry white males think highly of themselves -- style without substance.
I have seen angry white males making dumb mistakes and bad judgments. I have seen angry white males rolling their fuming eyes when minorities or women contest their decisions or reasoning. Most importantly, the anger of the white male is often contrived; it's phony and fraudulent unleashed when they are asked, as a matter of fairness, to share the bounties of America made possible by citizens of all races, legal and illegal immigrants. I am not surprised to see "angry white Americans" finding a messiah in Donald Trump.