Part 4, Kevin Bryant

Don’t start here! Start with Part 1.

The South Carolina Lieutenant Governer, Kevin Bryant spoke first. He was introducing Bannon. Right off the bat, he used the words “Silent Majority” to refer to Bannon’s supporters. He spoke of “personal assaults” when you stand up for your values. Bannon, he said, stands for limited government, traditional family values, and one other thing I missed.

He praised the crowd for standing for the National Anthem to honor veterans’ service. They served; the “least we can do” is offer them respect. The implication is that kneeling NFL players, with their protests, are disrespecting people who have served in the military. Of course, we know that the NFL players are protesting police violence against minorities, particularly African Americans. However, they continue to repeat the message that kneeling during the anthem disrespects the troops. If you want someone to believe something, and they want to believe it too, just keep repeating it. The propaganda works really well when its recipients are isolated from any other views, and I’m guessing many Fox/Breitbart viewers never heard the reasons for the protests. They probably never heard the numerous veterans saying they served so that people can speak their minds and work to improve the lives of their fellow citizens.

To me, the “silent majority” means the people who feel excluded from the national conversation because their views are unpopular. I hear a racist, homophobic message. These people in the crowd were white and privileged financially. If they’re silenced, it’s because society no longer accepts their bigoted views.

Bryant continued. “The Constitution is the bedrock of conservatism.” Conservatives believe in individual liberty, the free market, and they’re anti-establishment. Bannon’s movement is standing up to insiders, lobbyists, and the establishment on the left and the right. All Republicans need to vote conservatively. It’s the people versus the establishment.

He said something about protecting American jobs and about the protesters having a right to protest, and the woman with the white supremacist to my right quipped “They don’t have jobs.” This is a well-worn conservative trope. Of course, it was 6:30 on a Friday evening. None of the dinner guests were at work, either, but the illogic is of no consequence. She repeated it as easily as we say, “how are you” to someone we pass on the street – automatically, without really meaning to get an answer.

Bryant said he strongly supports everyone’s right to be heard, but more people should listen. In South Carolina, we say “Yes, Sir.” We hold doors for “ladies” and we pull over for funerals. It’s a bit strange to highlight our politeness in a room in which racist talk was rampant. But, let me be clear, the racist talk was not from the dais. It came from the participants. The speakers blew that dog whistle and said absolutely nothing overtly racist. It’s all coded, but it whips up the fear among the audience.

The concentration of power in the legislative branch must stop – and here, I think, but I’m not sure, he was referring to South Carolina and to Congress. He talked of the “Silent Majority” again, and lauded Trump, Cruz, and Evangelical voters.

Trump is real and authentic, and, referring to Hillary Clinton, “[the voters] can spot a phony a mile away.” Ironically, in a room at an event sponsored by the Maybanks and Edwin S. Taylor, both Charleston philanthropic families who have roads and fishing piers and other stuff named after them, at a $65 per plate event, he complained that it’s “their money against our grassroots efforts.” He criticized “slick ads” and “the donor class.”

I love my state. I do. But I always fall for the underdog. We are among the worst in education, in domestic violence, and just about any quality of life variable you could name. Bryant ended with “God bless you and may god continue to bless South Carolina.” If this state is blessed, something is clearly wrong.


Follow Dr. Cleaveland on Twitter: @CHSPolitico

One thought on “Part 4, Kevin Bryant

  1. It’s especially egregious for them to play “poormouth” when they are there for one reason, and that is the donor class that Robert Mercer, Bannon’s benefactor, REPRESENTS. He has billions ready, I’m sure, to go into the coffers of all of these “underdogs,” and “silent” men trying to win conservative races in SC.

    And as you note, most of these dinner attendees are well-heeled, and are certainly not suffering from economic deprivation,


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