Civil war within the GOP

In the aftermath of Charlottesville, the civil war within the Republican party has once more been exposed. Suddenly the party’s establishment has risen in revolt against President Donald Trump because of his embrace of white nationalists. This is a late denunciation of a man who has made racial insensitivity a hallmark of his politics. But it took three deaths in Charlottesville and klansman, not to mention American Nazis, to get the GOP bigwigs to this place.

From Willy Horton to Jesse Helms, from Hobby Lobby to Chick-fil-A, Republicans have a rights problem. Democrats are more the party of Abraham Lincoln than Republicans. Look at the field of Alabama’s Senate race where the choices were right, extremely right and ultra-right.

And although Trump’s remarks were over the top and disgusting, the politics of the so-called traditional Conservatives were little better. When Joe Scarborough lauded Vice President Mike Pence as one better suited to the White House he neglected that Trump’s partner embraced his boss’ view of Charlottesville and has not been particularly stellar on rights issues. It was a clear affirmation that Scarborough and company were using the president as a trojan horse. Better now to use Pence in the same capacity.

Which leaves us where? Pence would probably be worse on health care and infinitely more extreme on equality issues. Also, Jeff Sessions, who simply wants to suppress minority voting and bring the country back to post-Selma 1965, is coming in for particular praise. These conservatives still stick to the same agenda — Trump is too clumsy to execute the policy.

Nothing has really changed since the Republican primaries in 2016. Trump says something outrageous and the GOP gets shocked. Polls show that 80 percent of the party support Trump regardless of his antics. Then the party tries to figure out a newer method to use him to their own purposes.

Something tells one that those counter protesters in Charlottesville would not be pleased if all they got was nothing more than what should be routine denunciations of bigots and Nazis. To lose health care, voting rights and civil rights only to feast on the destruction of a few statues would be regarded as too high a price for symbolism. For Republicans, the discovery of racism in their party is as interesting as the knowledge that there is gambling in Las Vegas.

The protesters against the Alt-Right were also speaking out for social justice and not the shallow type. Heather Heyer, the martyred protester, was there because she also cared for the disadvantaged. Republicans elites such as Mitch McConnell do not care a bit for that constituency.

Trump, as awkward, outrageous and bumbling as he may be, is simply a reflection of the party that nominated him in Cleveland. To slap them on the back for doing what most decent people should automatically do is over the top. Perhaps they should demonstrate a bit more compassion the next time they convene in Washington.


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