Sunday, July 17, 2016

This Should Fool No One

The New York Times' Alexander Burns and Jonathan Martin maintain "Republican leaders agree that a wrenching struggle is coming" when in defeat they will have to choose between the "party of white identity politics" represented by Donald Trump and "a broader political coalition by repudiating Mr. Trump’s ideas."

Hogwash.  Or as Steve M. puts it

There isn't going to battle for the soul of the Republican Party after November. The party's just going to be what it was prior to Trump, which was already most of the way to Trumpism, except with a veneer of deniability. The only battle will be over how many coats of veneer should be reapplied now that Trump has stripped them off -- if any.

Even the Republicans who advocate a different approach than Trump's testosterone-fueled white nationalism are trying to tell us that, if we would but listen. For instance

Representative Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, a youthful military veteran who has eyed higher office, said he would “push back really hard” on any effort on the right to harden the party’s line on immigration after a Trump defeat.

Mr. Kinzinger said the party would have to reintroduce itself to the American people in less bluntly divisive terms. After 12 years without a Republican president, he said, Republicans would have to “take our conservative principles and re-explain what they are, and attract people that don’t necessarily traditionally vote Republican.”

Reconfigure the rhetoric and improve the branding, Kinziger is arguing.  Reconsideration of ideology is unnecessary, for the Party merely must "re-explain" its conservative principles so that they are less conspicuously inimical to the interests of ethnic minorities, women, and the middle classes.

Burns and Martin point out that Arizona Senator Jeff Flake

suggested a purge of racists from the party that would recall the expulsion of the John Birch Society, a fringe nationalist group, from Republican ranks a half-century ago.

“Those who want a Muslim ban, those who will disparage individuals or groups — yes, we ought to, we need to,” Mr. Flake said.

But he is an outlier, even as many Republicans fear running for office in 2016 while the head of the ticket disparages Muslims, immigrants, and women. However, no criticism has been heard from Republican now that Trump has pivoted to a theme of hate which is not explicitly hostile to persons on the bais of religion, ethnicity, or gender.

"I am the law and order candidate," Donald Trump declared after a black sniper murdered five police officers in Dallas at the tail end of a Black Lives matter demonstration.

After police in Baton Rouge shot and killed 37-year-old African-American Alton Sterling, tension between the community and the Police Department soared. Today, at least three police officers have been murdered there in an apparent ambush and Donald Trump- with few facts yet known- responded "we demand law and order."

After approximately four decades in the public eye and twelve months as a presidential candidate, Donald Trump has discovered the need for "law and order."   He has done so amid crime rates which have been dropping for nearly a quarter of a century, a fact which would be inconvenient were it not convenient for the mainstream, GOP-leaning media to ignore.

With a backdrop of rising street crime, race riots, and disorder at the Democratic National Convention, Richard Nixon parlayed "law and order" to victory in 1968.  The Vietnam War played a role but probably less than the appeal to racial resentment Nixon so skillfully made.

Nonetheless, little note has been taken of this aspect of Donald Trump's effort to stoke fear and hatred, suggesting the emptiness of any belief that Trump's approach will stir a re-examination of the GOP's approach more lasting the Party's "autopsy" following the 2012 elections.

Paul Ryan provides the strongest evidence. When Donald Trump argued that federal judge Gonzalo Curiel, presiding over the Trump University civil suit, could not be objective because of his Mexican heritage, the House Speaker denounced Trump for "sort of like the textbook definition of a racist comment."   Soon after, he assurred us that he still supports the racist.

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