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“No One Wants To Speak At The GOP Convention”: Trump’s Toxicity Is Swaying Top Republicans From Even Attending

Seemingly no one wants to speak at the Cleveland convention that will elect Donald Trump as the Republican Party’s presidential candidate:

New York Rep. Elise Stefanik, a rising star who helped to write the GOP platform at the 2012 convention, “will be in her district working for her constituents and not attending the convention,” said a spokesman. Oklahoma Rep. Steve Russell, a former Army lieutenant colonel who helped capture Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, “has no plans to be a speaker at the convention,” said his office. North Carolina Rep. Richard Hudson, who’s frequently talked about as a potential future statewide candidate, “won’t be at the convention.” Mia Love, the charismatic Utah rep seen by many as the GOP’s future, is skipping Cleveland for a trip to Israel. “I don’t see any upsides to it,” Love told a reporter on Friday. “I don’t see how this benefits the state.”

Reporters at Politico reached out to “more than 50 prominent governors, senators and House members to gauge their interest in speaking” there and found almost no takers. So, I took a look at the list of speakers at the 2012 Republican National Convention, and guess what I found?

Pretty much anyone who was anyone had a speaking slot there, from Speaker John Boehner, to House members like Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Marsha Blackburn, to up-and-comers like Mia Love, to senators across the ideological spectrum, to pretty much every major Republican governor in the country.

Romney made sure that Latino governors Susana Martinez of New Mexico and Brian Sandoval of Nevada were given primetime slots. Govs. Scott Walker, Chris Christie, Mary Fallin, Bob McDonnell, and John Kasich all made appearances, most of them prominent.

Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire spoke four years ago, but this time around she’s not even going to attend the convention.

The convention is being held in Ohio, and that’s awkward.

Ohio Sen. Rob Portman will attend the convention and host several events in Cleveland over the course of the week. But a spokesman, Kevin Smith, said “no announcements” had yet been made on whether he would speak. A spokesman for Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a Trump primary rival who has pointedly refused to endorse the presumptive nominee, declined to comment on whether he wanted to deliver a speech.

I don’t want to be a “nasty, nasty guy,” but it’s pretty evident that Trump is toxic.

Even the GOP leaders in charge of maintaining the party’s congressional majorities — Mississippi Sen. Roger Wicker and Oregon Rep. Greg Walden — wouldn’t say whether they’d take the podium…

…“Everyone has to make their own choice, but at this point, 70 percent of the American public doesn’t like Donald Trump. That’s as toxic as we’ve seen in American politics,” said Stuart Stevens, a longtime Republican strategist who helped to craft the party’s 2012 convention. “Normally, people want to speak at national conventions. It launched Barack Obama’s political career.”

Just to give an idea of the scope of the problem, in primetime of the first night of the 2012 convention, there were 18 separate speakers and a video. I don’t know how Trump is going to replicate their firepower.

 

By: Martin Longman, Political Animal Blog, June 27, 2016

June 28, 2016 Posted by | Donald Trump, GOP, Republican National Convention | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“The Exceptions”: How To Be A Walking ‘Confirmation Bias’ (Role Model: Mia Love)

Representative Mia Love, Republican of Utah, appeared on the January 4 edition of the ABC News program This Week With George Stephanpoulos to defend House Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana in the wake of revelations that he once addressed a white supremacist group.

Have you ever been in a debate with your right-wing uncle and when you ask him for proof of his wild claims, he pulls up a Fox News article? Instinctively, you roll your eyes. Of course he sought out Fox News as a source—it’s a haven for people like him. Everything he already thinks about minorities, LGBTQ people, Muslims and single moms is there. Automatically turning to Fox News to search for information that he knows will affirm what he already believes is called a confirmation bias.

On December 29, news broke that Representative Steve Scalise of Louisiana, the new House majority whip, had addressed a white supremacist group in 2002. Former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke founded the European-Unity and American Rights Organization, or EURO, in 2000, and Scalise, then a member of the state legislature, rallied the support of EURO members to oppose a proposed new tax. Amid critics’ demands that Scalise be pushed from his leadership role in the House, his fellow Republicans half-heartedly expressed support for him, calling his appearance before the group a “mistake,” while Democrats offered a mixed response. The most vocal support from inside Congress, however, came from Mia Love, who represents a district in Utah.

Love recently made history by being the first black woman elected to Congress as a Republican. Despite her personal history as a child of Haitian immigrants, she holds extremely right-wing views on immigration and now, apparently, white supremacy. Congresswoman Love essentially gave Scalise a pass, saying that he should stay in his new leadership position. “He has been absolutely wonderful to work with. He’s been very helpful for me and he has had the support of his colleagues,” Love said on the January 4 edition of ABC’s This Week.

What Love and other black conservatives like Ben Carson and Allen West may not realize is that their very presence serves as every racist’s confirmation bias. When blacks and other people of sound mind decry Scalise over associating with a racial hate group, right-wingers can point to Love and say, “See? Good black people are totally cool with a top elected official palling around with white supremacists!”

Members of minority groups who seem to be blind to racism—or purposefully ignore it—are either looking for political gain or have internalized society’s bigotry. It is likely that Love and others like her desire the approval of their white peers and have bought into the idea that they’re “not like the others” of their own racial or ethnic group. They’ve bought into the dominant culture’s bias against their own people, and deemed themselves to be righteous exceptions to the trumped-up rule.

Writing off Mia Love and Allen West as out-of-touch right-wingers is easy, but the truth is that these very visible blacks hurt the cause—the ongoing quest for equality. As long as they continue to disregard racism, and side with those who would pander to white supremacists, racists with an agenda will always have a valuable token to confirm their biases.

 

By: Nathalie Baptiste, The American Prospect, January 7, 2015

January 13, 2015 Posted by | GOP, Racism, Steve Scalise | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Long Read; The GOP’s Offensive Defense”: The Scalise Scandal Is Like A Grain Of Sand On A Very Big Beach

The firestorm over House Majority Whip Steve Scalise’s 2002 decision to speak at a white supremacists’ conference might have skipped a news cycle or two over the New Year’s holiday, but it’s not going away anytime soon.

On Monday, the White House got into the act during press secretary Josh Earnest’s daily briefing. Though he said his boss, President Barack Obama, is mum on whether Republicans should kick the Louisiana congressman to the curb, Earnest played up Scalise’s own words and the GOP leadership’s decision to give him rank:

“[Obama] believes it is their decision to make. But there’s no arguing that who Republicans decide to elevate into a leadership position says a lot about what the conference’s priorities and values are. Mr. Scalise reportedly described himself as David Duke without the baggage, so it will be up to Republicans to decide what that says about their conference.”

Over the weekend, however, one new lawmaker simultaneously defended Scalise and helped the GOP subtly push back against its image as a party dominated by white men, despite evidence to the contrary. But incoming Rep. Mia Love of Utah – the Republicans’ first African-American woman elected to the House, and a woman The Washington Post declared is the party’s “racial conscience” – may have done more to remind people of the GOP’s problems than help them forget Scalise.

Post reporter Nia-Malika Henderson argues that Love’s appearance on ABC’s “This Week” made her Scalise’s most powerful defender; she swatted down calls for his dismissal from leadership and vouched for his character. Her rejection of accusations that Scalise is a racist, Henderson writes, “is an argument that tends to carry more weight when it’s made by a minority, which gets at why Love will continue to be so important to the GOP, beyond whatever day-to-day work she does for her Utah constituents.” She goes on:

[Love] is Exhibit No. 1 for Republicans’ claim to be a diverse party at the federal level, a role that makes her the new racial conscience of her party – along with Sen. Tim Scott (S.C.) and perhaps Rep.-elect Will Hurd (Tex.), another newly elected black Republican. (Neither of them have commented on Scalise so far).

But there are also limits to how helpful she might be. So far, she has been unwilling to directly address the perception problem that many of her fellow Republicans are raising in discussions about Scalise.

Their worry is not so much about proving whether or not Scalise is a racist, but that the GOP’s brand might take a further hit because of Scalise’s actions more than a decade ago. Colin Powell, for instance, in the past has talked about the “dark vein of intolerance in some parts of the party” – a strain not checked enough by party leaders, according to Powell. (He has also not commented on the Scalise incident).

Henderson’s right: Republicans aren’t engaging in a debate on whether Scalise is a good legislator and fit to serve. House Speaker John Boehner, the top Republican in the chamber, is standing solidly behind Scalise, which for most purposes means his majority whip isn’t going anywhere – unless, of course, some more race stuff surfaces in the next few weeks.

What’s interesting about Henderson’s article, however, is how it indicates the GOP is really concerned about the matter, and how that means we’re likely to see more of Love, a heretofore unknown freshman:

Republicans, or at least the ones who put together the Republican National Committee’s Growth and Opportunity Project memo, are very aware of their brand problems among minorities.

“Public perception of the Party is at record lows. Young voters are increasingly rolling their eyes at what the Party represents, and many minorities wrongly think that Republicans do not like them or want them in the country.”

Love’s best answer for this brand problem – described in very stark terms – seems to be simply moving on and trusting that Scalise had no ill intentions. And when it comes to earning that trust, Love clearly has a role to play.

The project memo not surprisingly gives the GOP the benefit of the doubt by declaring that minorities wrongly think that Republicans hate them. There’s plenty of evidence that African-American and Latino hostility toward Republicans stems from the party’s policies, stated and otherwise – its positions on immigration, affirmative action and voting rights come immediately to mind – and not just its demographics.

Henderson concludes:

But how do you convince minorities that they are wrong about Republicans, with Scalise and his associates as the most recent evidence? That’s a much harder problem to solve, with Love’s presence and voice serving as a very small part.

That – given that the GOP leadership is almost exclusively white and male, and its constituency is older and white – is perhaps the greater issue. Putting Love in front of the cameras smacks of tokenism, and that tends to remind minorities of the GOP’s much deeper problems, like the mythical Southern strategy, or maybe the Shelby County vs. Holder case.

When it comes to its problems with minority voters, the Scalise scandal (“Klangate,” maybe? “White Wash”?), seems like a grain of sand on a very big beach.

 

By: Joseph P. Williams, Washington Whispers, U. S, News and World Report, January 6, 2015

January 7, 2015 Posted by | GOP, Republicans, Steve Scalise | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Meet The GOP’s New Black Friend”: What Exactly Does Mia Love Represent For The Republican Party?

When Allen West was defeated in the 2012 election and Tim Scott was appointed to serve out the term of retiring South Carolina senator Jim DeMint, that left Republicans back where they had usually been in the past, with not a single black Republican in the House of Representatives. This is something they aren’t particularly pleased about, which is why in the coming year you’re going to be hearing a lot about Mia Love, a candidate from Utah’s 4th district. Barring some shocking scandal, come November she’ll be bringing that number from zero up to one, and she’s going to become a right-wing celebrity. Mia Love is the Republicans’ New Black Friend.

You may remember Love from the 2012 Republican convention, where she gave a not-particularly-memorable speech. She couldn’t beat Jim Matheson, the conservative Democrat who represented the district, despite the fact that Mitt Romney won there by a 37-point margin. But now Matheson has just announced that he’s retiring, which makes Love’s election in what was supposed to be a rematch all but certain. So get ready: Mia Love is going to be the most famous Republican House candidate in the country. She’ll be on Fox News more often than Sean Hannity. She’ll be touted by all the conservative radio hosts. I’m betting they’ll put her on the cover of National Review. Because that’ll show those liberals.

I guess the question conservatives might ask is, “What’s wrong with that?” Lots of politicians are elevated by their party because of something that their personal story is supposed to represent. But the question is, what exactly does Mia Love represent for the Republican party? It’s not like she’s the first of a coming wave of black Republican leaders, and certainly not female black Republican leaders. That isn’t going to happen. It’s not like she is a harbinger of a change in the Republican approach toward African-Americans and other minority groups. Maybe she’ll turn out to be some spectacular talent who will rise to untold heights, but she hasn’t yet shown that she’s that, either.

Conservatives might also say, “Didn’t liberals love Barack Obama because he was black?” It’s true that Obama’s race was part of his appeal to the left. The difference is, first, that it was only part of it, while you could probably ask a hundred Republicans what they know about Mia Love and 99 of them would only be able to tell you one thing. But more importantly, in 2008 the elevation of an African-American presidential candidate was a genuine reflection of liberal values and history. Liberals are the ones who have always advocated for civil rights and continue to do so. Their party is the multicultural, multi-ethnic, multiracial one. They did want Obama’s nomination to say something about themselves, but it was something true. What do conservatives want Love’s election to say about them?

I suppose it’s possible that blacks (and members of other minority groups, too) will see all the attention Love will get and say, “Hmm, maybe those Republicans are changing.” Or they might think just the opposite, that they’re trying way too hard with her, and its a kind of tokenism that only reinforces their basic problem. That being said, there isn’t necessarily anything wrong with the GOP making Mia Love a star. There are black female conservatives out there—not many, but some. It’s only questionable if they try to use her election as evidence for an assertion that is otherwise without support, like “We’re not just the party of white people.” When nearly nine in ten of your voters are white, you are. Even if you elect one black Republican from Utah.

 

By: Paul Waldman, Contributing Editor, The American Prospect, December 20, 2013

December 21, 2013 Posted by | Politics | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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