“When will Republicans wake up and resist the white supremacist scheme to take over their party?” ~Democratic strategist Peter Daou
Longtime Democratic strategist Peter Daou asked the question that has been on the mind of many Americans when he responded to a nonsensical tweet by Fox News.
Fox News tweeted a link to an article on their website titled: “OPINION: When will Democrats wake up and resist the socialists’ scheme to take over their party?” prompting a swift – and obvious – response from Daou.
“I think you meant to ask this question, @FoxNews: When will Republicans wake up and resist the white supremacist scheme to take over their party?” he tweeted in response.
— Peter Daou (@peterdaou) September 20, 2018
And there is no lack of evidence supporting Daou’s claim that the GOP has been overrun by white nationalists and other far-right groups.
As Vox News reported earlier this summer, “Self-described Nazis and white supremacists are running as Republicans across the country.”
In at least five state and national races across the country, the Republican Party is dealing with an uncomfortable problem. Their party’s candidates are either a card-carrying Nazi, a Holocaust denier, a proud white supremacist, or all of the above.
The Atlantic addressed this very issue in August, reporting that: “The most enduring scandal in and around the White House might not be corruption, but rather the administration’s constant embrace of bigotry from white-supremacist and far-right groups.”
[W]hat is clear is that the Trump administration and its wing of the Republican Party are the chief launderers of white-supremacist and white-nationalist ideas in America today. Even with multiple investigations into Trumpworld currently under way, it’s worth considering whether the real lasting scandal from this administration—one that will truly shape and corrupt democracy for decades to come—might just be the elevation of plain old racism.
Continuing, The Atlantic reported that:
Trump is easily impressed by lies and falsehoods that appear to support the agenda of his mostly white base, and the backlash that he has received for repeatedly spreading misinformation from hucksters, hoaxers, and hate groups hasn’t seemed to phase him. In November 2017, just a few months after his lukewarm and controversial criticism of Klansmen and Nazis in Charlottesville, Virginia, he received an official rebuke from British Prime Minister Theresa May after retweeting videos from the far-right group Britain First purporting to show crimes committed by Muslim immigrants. He’s repeatedly shared tweets from garden-variety racists and bigots, and he once retweeted an actual Twitter account with the name “White Genocide.” Each time, the president has either done nothing or deleted the tweet with little explanation and no apology, and he’s rarely been pressed about it.
The Atlantic concluded their report with the following grim observation:
[I]n reality, the pipeline that Trump and his allies have built between hate groups and the mainstream isn’t accidental, unwitting, or merely the product of being repeatedly taken in by grifters. This is what was always promised with the refrain of “Make America Great Again,” a dog whistle that many minorities were once ridiculed for properly hearing.
And it’s clear that this pipeline is a lifeline in moments of peril for Trump. When all else fails, when associates become witnesses and the political clouds darken, Trump is always aware that the live wire at the core of Trumpism—the energies he first wielded when demanding Obama’s birth certificate—will always be there. There’s a hard base of white support that he can always activate by selling the fear that white power will be usurped. Unfortunately for those who might be purged, interned, deported, disenfranchised, or disappeared should those fears be allowed to reign, many Americans are still buying into them, and will continue to do so.
Vox concluded their report, noting that “racist rhetoric” has not historically served Republicans well electorally
In Virginia’s 2017 governor’s race, for example, Republican Ed Gillespie rode hard on NFL protests and keeping Confederate statues in place — and lost, as Democratic and independent voters were motivated to turn out in part by Gillespie’s strategy.
Not to mention that racism is inherently anathema to minority votes. A critical rise in black turnout in Alabama’s Senate special election helped push Democrat Doug Jones over controversial Republican Roy Moore. One activist told the Atlantic that black voters were responding to “the resurgence of this white conservative overtly racist rhetoric.” Bad Republican candidates also depress Republican voting. In that Alabama election, thousands of voters — including many who supported Donald Trump in 2016 — simply didn’t show up.
More important, candidates like Walker and Jones threaten to further inculcate the idea that the Republican Party is inherently susceptible to candidates who espouse racist and anti-Semitic ideas. The Republican Party is, after all, both the party of Lincoln, and the party of Richard Nixon and Lee Atwater’s Southern strategy aimed at getting racists on board without, in Atwater’s own words, “saying, ‘nigger, nigger, nigger.’”