The Mainstreaming of Republican Racism.
Don’t misunderstand the title of this post as suggesting that most Republicans are racist. Most are not. However, racism has now become an accepted, or at least tolerated, element of the party. Openly racist statements and acts are no longer confined to fringe elements and strong condemnation of racism is rare.
There is no more obvious example than the Republican Party Presidential nominee, and eventual winner of the Presidential election. Now President President Trump was twice sued by the United States Department of Justice for housing discrimination against blacks, had a casino fined for racist employment practices, found himself reluctant to condemn the KKK, and condemned an Indiana born American judge because “he’s a Mexican.” Perhaps most deplorably, a President whose first reaction to a Nazi running down many people, and killing one, is to blame both sides equally.
Jeff Sessions, the person Trump appointed to run that Department of Justice, that twice sued him, was once rejected by Congress for a Federal judgeship because of racist comments he made.
The President’s Chief Strategist, Steve Bannon, ran the racist Breitbart.com and was a key leader of the white supremacist alt-right movement. Even the ultra-conservative Federalist described the alt-right as “a rebranded version of racist nationalism.” Bannon described Breitbart under his rule as “the platform for the alt-right.” The person who coined the phrase “alt-right,” that Bannon adopted, is Richard Spencer, an unabashed white supremacist perhaps best remembered for his “Heil Trump” speech, to resounding responses of the same, shortly after Trump’s election.
Watch that video, that is the man that Bannon’s Breitbart (yes, he ran it at the time) described as one of the “leading intellectuals” of the alt-right movement that Bannon declared his publication “the platform” for. Bannon’s Breitbart gushed that “Spencer founded AlternativeRight.com, which would become a center of alt-right thought.”
If you are wondering the context of that statement, hoping it makes things better, I recommend following the link to the Chief White House Strategist’s publication. In context it was rebutting the notion that alt-righters, specifically including Spencer, are “skinheads … low-IQ thugs driven by the thrill of violence and tribal hatred.” The article compliments Spencer and his alt-right ilk as “a much smarter group of people” (“dangerously bright” per the article) suggesting that is “why the Left hates them so much.” I think you can watch the video and see that it’s really all about “tribal hatred.”
Recently, United States Congressman Steve King of Iowa posted the following on Twitter.
My, my, what can he possibly mean by “somebody else’s babies”? What makes “somebody else’s babies” inherently less civilized than other babies? I’ll let you figure that out.
If you are wondering if Representative King is repentant at all about that tweet, the answer is absolutely not. He has subsequently defended it stating he “meant exactly what I said.” Working hard to remove any confusion at all as to what he meant, he added “I’d like to see an America that’s just so homogenous that we look a lot the same.” That my friends, was said by a United States Congressman, in America, today.
King’s tweet reflects a pattern of racist comments by this United States Congressman. King was an Obama “Birther” claiming Obama’s birth certificate was a fraud. He has defended racial profiling as “an important component of legitimate law enforcement.” Then, there is this gem of a quote at the Republican National Convention where he suggests non-whites have nothing to contribute to society:
“This whole ‘old white people’ business does get a little tired, Charlie. I’d ask you to go back through history and figure out where are these contributions that have been made by these other categories of people that you are talking about? Where did any other subgroup of people contribute more to civilization?”
If that language sounds familiar, go back and replay the Richard Spencer video above and you will see why. Start around the 1:05 mark of the Spencer video above and hear these words echoing those of Representative Steve King:
“To be white is to be a striver, a crusader, an explorer and a conqueror. We build, we produce, we go upward. And we recognize the central lie of American race relations, we don’t exploit other groups, we don’t gain anything from their presence. They need us and not the other way around.”
Why is Representative King able to continue making openly racist comments as a member of the United States Congress? Because the people of his district continue to overwhelmingly elect him. King has won his last two elections with over 60% of the vote.
Racism is no longer fringe in this country, it has gone mainstream, and it is a main stream of the river that is the Republican Party, and the river is accommodating it.