Maybe this relatively stable status quo might have remained in place, but the undercurrent of racism and fears of The Other kept bursting their way into the white American mainstream. Bigotry that formerly was kept hidden away was now being voiced, often openly and proudly, 24 hours a day by right-wing "conservatives" on the radio and TV (read: Fox News). Targets were African-Americans, to be sure, but also Latinos, and immigrants, especially Mexicans and Muslims.
This hostility and neurotic fear of black Americans is manifested in an unceasing, murderous assault by mainly white cops' against African-American men, and an incarceration rate that staggers the imagination. It is estimated that, if current trends continue, one out of three African-American men will have been through the justice system in his lifetime; many of those millions of ex-convicts are then denied their right to vote by state lawmakers, even after having served their sentences. And their communities are often seen as forced to live under the harsh thumb of an "occupying army" of militarist-armed police.
MURDER BY COP
In the 1950s/1960s, the racial flashpoints tended to center around education and public accommodations. In present-day America, the flashpoints involve police killings of young and middle-aged black men, often unarmed, seemingly on a regular basis. That's the bad news. The good news is that technology has given ordinary citizens the means by which to document those deadly interactions with police. Cell-phone cameras and body cams on police (even though too often they are turned off by the cops) potentially provide non-violent ways to obtain justice in the face of police lies.
As I write this, we are six weeks away from the most consequential election in modern times. If Trump were to win the presidential contest, the country would be mired in the moral swamp of white supremacy and its awful social and psychological consequences. In addition, the polity would exist in an ethical wasteland where unfettered greed and corruption would run rampant -- in effect, a return to the robber-baron/apartheid reality of earlier periods in American history. In short, a Trump victory ("Make America Hate Again") wouldn't be good for the future of the American experiment.
Electing Clinton, which would have the effect of pushing Trump and Trumpism away from respectable status at the mainstream-political table, is no guarantee of effective good government. Many of us progressives/radicals would have preferred another Democratic contender. But Hillary Clinton -- the establishment candidate in a populist, anti-elitist period -- is solid and worthy enough to maintain the Obama momentum in enough instances that really matter: climate change, environmental regulation, appointment of judges, racial harmony, social inequality, immigration reform, to name just half a dozen, to justify a principled vote for her and volunteer work on her behalf.
I understand the temptation to vote for, say, Jill Stein of the Green Party. But the reality is that either Clinton or Trump will be President, and I can't believe any good citizen would want to risk handing over the country's troubled economy and nuclear coding to Donald Trump, who -- as he demonstrated at the debate -- is proud of his Know-Nothing recklessness. Voting for Stein or Gary Johnson or some other small-party candidate in effect delivers votes to Trump, all too reminiscent of the Ralph Nader precedent in Florida in the 2000 election.