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The Party Of Racism And Bigotry

The Party Of Trump Is Not The Party Of Lincoln

Chris Christie’s denunciations of Trump sound good— to Democrats. But he has virtually no following at all among the MAGA-fied Republican base. There are a few naive Republican politicians and GOP elites who want to turn back the hands of time on Trumpism. But 74,223,975 people were stupid enough too vote for Trump in 2020— and there is no pill to cure willful ignorance and ingrained bigotry, the dual motivating factors of Republican electoral politics.

Yesterday, Ron Brownstein wrote ernestly about what he termed the post-racial Republicans. There are 2 that he began his essay with, a couple of conservative people of color from racist South Carolina, Nikki Haley and Tim Scott (who Haley, as governor, appointed to an open U.S.Senate seat). They’re both running for president, though neither has any appreciable following outside of media and political elites. Even a new GOP poll in South Carolina shows them far behind Trump and DeSantis… and sinking.

  • Trump- 41% (down 2 since last month)

  • DeSantis- 18% (no change)

  • Scott- 10% (down 2)

  • Haley- 8% (down 2)

  • Christie- 3% (na)

  • Pence- 3% (up 2)

  • Ramaswarmy- 1% (no change)

  • Hutchinson- 1% (no change)

In the latest Real Clear Politics— a right-leaning site— average of national Republican primary polls, Haley and Scott do much worse:

  • Trump- 52.2%

  • DeSantis- 21.4%

  • Pence- 5.7%

  • Haley- 3.6%

  • Scott- 3.5%

  • Christie- 2.3%

  • Ramaswarmy- 2.0%

  • Hutchinson- 0.7%

  • Larry Elder- 0.6%

  • Doug Burgum- 0.3%

Brownstein wrote that in their presidential campaigns Scott, who is Black, and Haley, who is Indian American, “have repeatedly insisted that systemic or structural racism is no longer a problem in America. That drew a sharp rebuke earlier this month from Obama, who said the pair had joined ‘a long history of African American or other minority candidates within the Republican Party who will validate America and say, Everything’s great, and we can all make it.’ Both Scott and Haley responded by accusing Obama of treating minority voters as victims and repeating their claims that racism and structural inequities can no longer hold back anyone who will ‘work hard’ and display ‘integrity’ and ‘grit,’ as Scott told a mostly white audience at a Fox News town hall with Sean Hannity last Tuesday. ‘When I hear people telling me that America is a racist nation, I got to say: Not my America, not our America,’ Scott declared to loud applause.”

Going back to that 74,223,975 people who voted for Trump in 2020… are they all racists? Of course not. But I’d bet the number who are is closer to 74 million than to 70 million.

Brownstein acknowledged that it’s difficult to challenge the party consensus that the nation has transcended discrimination against minorities and women. Actually, it’s impossible. The GOP has done an about face as the party of Lincoln to the party of Trump, a smug KKK party.

For a Republican coalition that still relies predominantly on white voters, hearing nonwhite GOP candidates dismiss racism offers “acquittal and absolution,” says Robert P. Jones, the founder and president of the Public Religion Research Institute, a nonpartisan group that studies American attitudes toward race and culture. Such comments from figures like Scott and Haley, he told me, provide “permission” for other Republicans “to not even have to ask the questions” about whether systemic discrimination still shapes U.S. society.
Likewise, Michael Steele, the Black former chairman of the Republican National Committee, told me he believes that Scott is expressing such an absolutist rejection of racism— despite Scott’s acknowledgment that he has faced racial profiling in his own life— because he recognizes that that assertion is what the GOP’s mainly white electorate wants to hear.
Republicans, Steele told me, like finding “the Black man to put out there to say that shit to begin with. You pick someone to affirm the lie in a way that you ostensibly take your fingerprints off it. You create this artificial legitimacy around an illegitimate point.”
One of the core beliefs that binds the modern Republican coalition, particularly since the rise of Donald Trump, is rejection of the idea that racial minorities and women face structural bias in American society.
Studies of the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections conducted by the Tufts political scientist Brian Schaffner and his colleagues used the Cooperative Election Study, a large-scale national poll, to determine the factors that predicted which candidate voters supported in those races. Those studies found that in each contest, the single best predictor of who voted for Trump was the belief that systemic racism no longer exists in the U.S.; the second-best predictor was denial that systemic bias exists against women.
Within the GOP, those views command overwhelming support. In an email, Schaffner told me almost nine in 10 Republicans reject the idea that structural discrimination exists against racial minorities; about three-fourths doubt that women face entrenched bias. Fully two-thirds of Republicans say there’s little bias against either minorities or women. Only one in 20 Republicans, Schaffner found, believe that both groups still face systematic discrimination.
As Trump more overtly identified the GOP with white racial resentments, Democrats have moved in the opposite direction. Since Obama’s presidency, polls show, the share of Democrats who say that Black Americans and other minorities face structural discrimination has dramatically increased. With more Democrats describing systemic racism as a problem, the gap between the two parties on racial questions has notably widened over roughly the past 15 years.
Other surveys document a further step in thinking among Republicans. Not only do a majority of Republican voters assert that structural barriers no longer constrain women or minorities; a majority also claim that core GOP constituencies are the real victims of bias.
In PRRI polling, about two-thirds of Republicans agreed that discrimination against white people is now as big a problem as bias against minorities. In a 2022 national survey, PerryUndem, a firm that polls for progressive organizations, found that about seven in 10 Republicans agreed both that “white men are the most attacked group in the country right now” and that “these days society seems to punish men just for acting like men.”
Similarly, in a national 2021 survey conducted by a UCLA polling project, Republicans believed there to be more discrimination against white people than against other racial groups, more against men than women, and more against Christians than other religious groups, such as Muslims and Jews. “Republicans see a racial order in which historically privileged groups, like white Americans, are now the real victims,” the political scientists John Sides, Chris Tausanovitch, and Lynn Vavreck wrote in their book The Bitter End, which cited the UCLA research.
Sides, a professor at Vanderbilt University, points out that the claim that white people are the victims of “reverse discrimination” has been a rallying cry for the right since the civil-rights era. But, he told me, that long-standing conservative complaint “has become supercharged in this current climate” because of “the demographic reality that white Americans, and white Christian Americans, are not going to be as numerically dominant or as politically powerful as they used to be.”
As Obama correctly noted, both Scott and Haley are following a long line of earlier nonwhite GOP candidates who similarly declared that America has transcended racial discrimination. The late Herman Cain, a Black Republican who sought the party’s 2012 presidential nomination, insisted at the time, “I don’t believe racism in this country holds anybody back in a big way.” Ben Carson, who ran against Trump for the 2016 GOP nomination and then served as his secretary of housing and urban development, offered his audiences similar assurances. Herschel Walker, the GOP nominee last year to run in Georgia against Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock, released an ad in which he declared, “Senator Warnock believes America is a bad country full of racist people. I believe we’re a great country full of generous people.”
Scott and Haley have regularly issued similar pronouncements. Both have stressed America’s racial progress over the past several generations. Scott has pointedly contrasted his experience with that of his late grandfather, who he said had to step off the sidewalk when a white person passed. Scott’s emphasis on that progress marks a shift that his critics find jarring after his candid acknowledgments earlier in his career that he faced racial profiling from Capitol Hill police even after his election to the Senate. Scott is “kind of whistling past the point, when you want to create this impression that there’s no racism, where in the next sentence you tell us how you have been profiled by Capitol Hill police,” Steele told me.
In their campaigns, Scott and Haley have each contended that they succeeded in life because family members encouraged them to take personal responsibility for their fate and not to identify as a victim. The same path, both say, is open today to any American regardless of race or ethnicity. “The left,” Scott insisted at the Hannity town hall, refuses “to deal with America in 2023 and not 1923 because they know that the truth of my life disproves the lies of their radical agenda.”
Obama, though, in his comments on The Axe Files, a podcast hosted by his former top political adviser David Axelrod, acknowledged racial progress over his lifetime: “The good news is that I think we are closer to an approximation of the ideal than we were 100 years ago or 200 years ago.” But he said that Scott, Haley, and the other Republicans stressing individual responsibility are disregarding the persistence of wide gaps between white Americans and racial minorities on a broad array of economic and social measures. If political leaders “pretend as if everything’s equal and fair,” Obama said, “then I think people are rightly skeptical” of their commitment to ensuring equal opportunity.
Steele agrees with Obama. “I cannot give quarter to this idea that people in this country don’t hold racist attitudes, No. 1, and No. 2, the institutions that a lot of these folks built reflect that racism in a variety of ways,” he told me. Steele wants Haley and Scott to try to convince an audience of Black people otherwise. “Come to Prince George’s County, and you look Black people in the eye and tell them there’s no racism,” said Steele, who served as Maryland’s lieutenant governor in the mid-2000s. “Or let’s take that conversation to Howard University. It’s easy to do when you have 1,000 white people hooting and hollering at every word you say.”
…Republicans, whose Trump-era coalition has grown more reliant on the voters most uneasy with all the ways America is changing, have responded by digging in against these demands for new approaches. Across the red states, Republican-controlled governments are moving with remarkable speed and consistency to pass laws limiting classroom discussion of racial or gender inequities, banning books, and barring programs meant to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Republicans portray this wave of legislation as a fundamentally defensive attempt to prevent radical “woke” ideas from indoctrinating young people. But to Democrats and their allies, it’s GOP officials like Florida Governor Ron DeSantis who are seeking to suppress the nation’s diverse younger generations with restrictive new laws on voting, LGBTQ rights, and how teachers can discuss America’s racial record.
PRRI’s Jones, who has written several books on race and religion, offers a telling example of how the conservative approach to racial injustice has hardened. He notes that as recently as the 1990s, the deeply conservative Southern Baptist Convention, in a formal statement repudiating its role in supporting slavery, apologized “to all African Americans for condoning and/or perpetuating individual and systemic racism in our lifetime.”
Given the current climate on racial issues within conservative circles, Jones told me, he considers it virtually inconceivable that the Southern Baptist Convention today would acknowledge that systemic racism even exists, much less apologize for it. “The external historical reckoning the country is going through,” Jones told me, is prompting an “internal response” within the GOP that has generated a virtually lockstep rejection of racism as an ongoing problem.
There’s no question that all of these cultural causes now generate more passion inside the GOP coalition than such traditional party priorities as cutting taxes, limiting regulation, and promoting a strong national defense. “Issues related to race alongside gender identity and similar things, that’s their bread and butter,” Vanderbilt’s Sides says of GOP candidates today. “That’s what they want to talk about.”
Haley and Scott have placed themselves directly in that current. Their insistence that America has moved beyond racial inequality will surely win them loud applause from a mostly white Republican primary electorate that gets an extra jolt of satisfaction from hearing a person of color validate that view. Their endorsement of those arguments may not be enough to allow either to overtake better-known, better-funded alternatives, chiefly Trump and DeSantis, who are offering very much the same case. But echoing the claim that discrimination is in the past may be their ante for any future advancement in the Trump-era GOP.

1 則留言


the nazi party finds each uncle tom quite useful, even as their voters loathe them maybe even more than most nons (-white hetero male). the party is happy to have them attract the extra stupid voters if it means acquiring power that way.

the democrap party has found it useful to entertain the myth that they know of and fight against racist hate (and other nazi hates: all nonwhite, women, elderly, poor, kids, lgbtq, nonchristian). However, since the passage of VRA and CRA, the party has managed to REFUSE to do the fight thing while they keep CLAIMING that they will. In the cases where some progress was made, prior to trump, it was activism and/or findings in court cases.

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