Trump on the attack
Donald Trump’s dismissive and crude language aimed at immigrants sealed the impression that he is racist. No longer does it appear that it was primarily an election pitch, but that his feelings are deeply held. For Republicans it should be a justification for abandoning Trump’s presidency. But alas, they too seem to share the sentiments of their leader.
Give Lindsay Graham and Jeff Flake credit for trying to salvage some dignity for the GOP. But for every one of them, there are 10 Republican senators who will try to bolster Trump. David Perdue and Tom Cotton especially debased themselves by denying they ever heard the remarks that almost everyone else did in the White House. Cotton, who reminds one of John C. Calhoun, the founder of Southern nationalism, represents a new sinister force in the land.
And that force is a racism that denies it is racist. The old techniques are trotted out afresh — voter suppression, interposition and states rights are very much alive. Those so-called moderates within the Republican party will, it appears, put up with the most obscene form of rhetoric to get a tax cut or some financial advantage. Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan park their conscience at the door and allow Trump to spew hatred, so they can pursue their dubious agendas.
Even Mark McKinnon, no friend of the president, pushes DACA while excoriating Democrats for not being eager to fund the wall, apparently seeing no consequences of such an act on Mexico-United States relations. Perhaps McKinnon does not see that such an act will try to appease the unappeasable. Even the most enlightened Republicans seem to want to forfeit their power in the furtherance of justice.
But they try to hold back the tide of history regardless of what damage they do to the nation. California is the nativist nightmare and the GOP has no faith in diversity as a result. Republicans have not taken the Golden State since 1988 and they blame immigrants. Indeed, Pete Wilson’s desperate attempt to slow immigration from Mexico tainted the GOP brand. Darrell Issa led the recall movement against Gray Davis in a legal putsch. Although it succeeded it led to Arnold Schwarzenegger’s election and eventually to Jerry Brown’s reascendance in 2010. In 2016, no Republican could qualify for the Senate runoff, so dead was the party.
So now the nation is their battlefield and their new chief executive is on the attack. Using his minions on the bench to defend absurd principles and relying on the radical right as his “base,” Trump tries to roll back the tide of progress. Instead of seeking compromise, he plays on fear. He is the final expression of a party who has relied on gimmicks to stay in control at the sacrifice of its founding principles.
They would profit to heed the warnings of Eric Ericsson, who is conservative in the noblest sense of the term. He sees his party as drifting into the danger zone of ethnic politics. Oh yes, the GOP has its identity wing and the weight of that relationship may yet doom the party to irrelevance.