9 Things Your Republican Representative Should Do RIGHT NOW to Fight the Alt-Right
Today President Trump, in an extraordinary address, repudiated his previous statements and un-denounced the White Nationalists, Nazis, and other Alt-Right scum whose weekend visit to Charlottesville erupted in murder and mayhem. This, more than anything else Trump has said or done to date, shows the world that Trump is what he’s been saying he is: racist as hell.
Trump’s failure to condemn the Alt-Right sets him apart from virtually all the rest of his party. Many leading Republicans condemned the Nazi march and violence in Charlottesville, stating unequivocally their opposition to Nazis, the KKK, white nationalists, and other overtly racist groups. Credit where it’s earned: good for them. Only in our current political moment are such denounciations remarkable, but still.
Right now the Nazis who showed up in Charlottesville are bearing most of the responsibility, whether through imprisonment, unemployment, or public shaming. As they should. Trump, by utterly failing to condemn them, is intentionally or not taking some of the responsibility too.
Most Republicans will be rightly outraged by the President’s words tonight. Many will say so. But in doing so the Republicans are going to focus on Trump and the violent white supremacists he can’t seem to condemn. By doing this, the Republican Party keeps the focus far, far away from themselves.
By focusing on the actions of a few the GOP ignores their own culpability for the racist system they created. The GOP wins elections not by appealing to the most voters, but rather through racist propaganda and race-based voter suppression, simultaneously radicalizing their own base while effectively shrinking that of the Democrats. This started long before Trump, and, unchecked, will continue long after he’s gone. All Republicans benefit from the same racism that feeds the Nazis and Trump. All Republicans are culpable. Blaming the Nazis and Trump keeps lets other Republicans evade their responsibility for them.
Don’t let them. Don’t let the Republican Party get away with this.
I think it’s great that so many Republican leaders have issued statements denouncing the Nazis. After Trump’s performance tonight, I have no doubt many will criticize Trump too. All good; but all words. I want to know what are they going to DO.
Just in case they are having some trouble thinking of something they can do, I have a few suggestions:
1. Demand Trump purge his administration of white supremacists. There are three big ones working in the West Wing: Sebastian Gorka, Stephen Miller, and Stephen Bannon. The first is, literally, a Nazi; the second two alt-Right supporters. They all have to go.
2. Demand an end to Trump’s election security commission, and oppose, on the record, voter suppression. Ask them to commit, both in words and actions, the right of ALL Americans to vote.
3. Investigate, and fund federal investigations, into the extent of white supremacist terrorism in the U.S., including criminal prosecutions of same.
4. Pass a resolution calling for the removal of Confederate monuments from public property throughout the country.
5. Remove Confederate statues from any federal property they now occupy. The Capitol Statuary exhibit, with its statues of Jefferson Davis, Alexander Stephens, Robert E. Lee, and Joseph Wheeler, would be an excellent place to start.
6. Pass a law reinstating the preclearance requirements of the Voting Rights Act, and try and do it so the Roberts Court will have a harder time striking it down.
7. Investigate all of Trump’s appointees, especially judges, for white supremacist ties; and if found, vote against their confirmation.
8. Demand the Civil Rights division of the DOJ focus on the civil rights of ethnic and religious minorities (as it historically has, until now)
9. Pass a resolution denouncing the alt-Right, the contemporary rise in Nazism within the United States, and their inroads into the U.S. political system.
This is not meant to be an exhaustive list; I’m sure you can think of others. The bottom line: congresspersons and senators have massive leverage over the executive branch, should they choose to use it. They can block or delay appropriations; they can slow-walk DJT’s favored bills; they can delay or vote down administration appointments.
It’s time for them to start using these powers, and more, to protect America from Trump, and from the political system they created that elected him. Hell, it’s way past time.
Time to get to work.