Saturday, March 5, 2016

Why Republican criticism of Trump fails | GOPLifer

Why Republican criticism of Trump fails | GOPLifer
by Chris Ladd

Before we can confront the racism of Trump, we must come to terms with bigotry that sits much closer to the party’s core. Unless we reckon with the genteel racist rhetoric of respected figures like Mitt Romney or Paul Ryan, any triumph over trolls like Trump is just a lull between disasters.

Romney’s comments go to the heart of what Trump’s supporters hate about the Republican Party – its hypocrisy. For half a century Republicans have been trying to recruit white nationalists without stating our intentions out loud. During election seasons we issue coded assurances to nervous racists that we support them. Concealed beneath rhetoric about constitutionalism, or religious freedom, “conservative values,” or government dependence is a promise to put the genie back in the bottle. Brown folk and women and foreigners will all be nudged back into their rightful place, properly subjugated and presumably happy. We will “take our country back.” We will “make America great again.” America will once again be a white Christian nation.

Frustrated by our failure to overtly embrace their agenda, Republican bigots have finally found a candidate who has dropped the pretense and run an explicitly white nationalist campaign. We are discovering that no one ever really cared much about abortion. No one cared about fiscal restraint, or tax cuts or nationalized health care. The Republican base we painstakingly assembled across fifty years is only really interested in one thing – preserving the dominant position of their white culture against a rising tide of pluralism. Other issues only mattered to the extent that they helped reinforce and preserve white supremacy.

No one should misunderstand Romney’s supposedly courageous stance against Trump. Renouncing the KKK requires no courage whatsoever from anyone in almost any era. His stance is not a departure from past practice. Mitt Romney condemned the KKK? George Wallace was doing that in the Fifties.

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