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“Republicans Created Trump, They Must Stand Up To Him”: They Must Reckon With What Their Party Has Become

Donald Trump made one of the most stunning political statements in recent memory yesterday when he called for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.”

Campaign spokespeople quickly clarified that Trump was referring not only to a blanket ban on Muslim immigrants, but also to preventing Muslims from coming to the U.S. as tourists and possibly even preventing American citizens who are traveling or living abroad from returning home. (He generously made an exception for Muslim members of the military.)

Trump continues to be the frontrunner in the Republican presidential primary. It’s time for party officials to reckon with what they have created.

Trump is the product of a party that has for decades thrived on stirring up fears of a scary “other” — from the Southern Strategy to Willie Horton to the persistent rumors that President Obama is a secret Muslim or Kenyan or both. The Republican establishment has for years tolerated its candidates rubbing shoulders with the most extreme elements of its base, whether it’s the white nationalists who have spoken at CPAC or the parade of extremists at each year’s Values Voter Summit.

But there are certain things leading Republicans have largely been careful not to say out loud. Until now.

Trump, building off the Right’s campaign to paint undocumented immigrants as dangerous invaders, launched his campaign by announcing that Mexican immigrants were rapists, drug dealers and other criminals. Then, when the news cycle shifted, he shifted his bigotry. He has spent the last several weeks repeating the objectively untrue claim that “thousands and thousands” of Muslim Americans in New Jersey took to the streets to celebrate the 9/11 attacks. He suggested shutting down some mosques and refused to rule out the possibility of a national database of American Muslims.

Trump’s relentless stream of bigotry isn’t turning away the far-right base of the GOP. Instead, he remains at the top of Republican presidential polls.

It’s not enough for Trump’s rivals and the party’s leadership to say they disagree with his absurd plan to bar Muslims from the country. They must reckon with what their party has become and, if they don’t like it, speak out forcefully on behalf of the American values of freedom, liberty and pluralism. It’s not enough for them to reject one outrageous plan. They must speak out against bigotry and prejudice. And they must make clear that even if Trump were to become the party’s nominee, he would be on his own.

The Republican Party created Trump. Now it’s time for them to take responsibility and, if they don’t like what Trump is saying, take a strong stand for what is right.

 

By: Michael B. Keegan, President, People For the American Way, The Blog, The Huffington Post, December 8, 2015

December 16, 2015 Posted by | Donald Trump, GOP Establishment, GOP Voters | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“This GOP Civil War Is So Much Fun!”: Donald Trump Has Ripped The Conservative Coalition Asunder

Whom to root for when the Dallas Cowboys play the New England Patriots? The most obnoxious franchise in all of American professional sports versus the most rancidly cheatingest (and I mean really—read this; if this is all true, they should have their franchise license revoked and Belichick should be thrown out of the game). As the old joke has it, you root for a plane crash (relax, it’s a joke).

This is kind of where I am as I watch this blood feud erupt between the National Review Online and the Trump loyalists who started the #NRORevolt hashtag over the weekend. If you missed it, here’s the sitch. Last Friday, subscribers to Jonah Goldberg’s NR newsletter, the G-file, found his latest in their in-boxes, a protracted jeremiad that ran under the title “No Movement That Embraces Trump Can Call Itself Conservative.”

“If this is the conservative movement now,” he wrote, “I guess you’re going to have to count me out.”

So Trump partisans started doing exactly that, and in droves. Commenters on the article were venomous: Go ahead, you RINO-quisling-sellout (or, occasionally, you dastardly Jew), who needs you anyway? This comment was representative, and even a little quasi-poetic: “So Blow and Rage, Jonah, Blow into the winter night, strut and fret your rabid slobber onto the stage, idiot-like until you are flattened by the Trump steamroller—of course we will be forced to hear more of your shout and flabberting, but it won’t mean a thing. I hope the Republican Party collapses so we can get on with partnering with something that is not so diseased that its internal organs are melting into a pus-fulled [sic] syrup that is oozing out of every…whatever.”

In short order, the now-famous hashtag arose as a venue for kindred sentiments. It seems safe to say that not many National Review subscribers are probably involved in this effort. As near as these things can be determined, it may have been launched by a guy named Ricky Vaughn, who describes himself on Twitter as a “right-wing nativist.” You see the word “cuckservative” tossed around a lot in these tweets, a word that the Southern Poverty Law Center says has roots in white nationalist and anti-Semitic circles. And of course the word sounds the way it sounds for a reason, evoking both “cock” and “suck” in a way that is definitely not intended as a compliment.

Well, for people like me, this is definitely pass-the-popcorn time. What better entertainment could there possibly be than watching American conservatism being wrecked by a bunch of white nationalists?

American conservatism has spent decades winking at these kinds of groups and voters—denouncing them very occasionally when caught red-handed playing in the same sandbox, as when a white Southern Republican is forced to explain that gosh, he didn’t know the local citizens’ council was a white supremacist group; but for the most part courting these voters and stoking their anxieties through means sometimes subtle, sometimes not. So, let them tear each other apart.

The amusing thing is, Goldberg actually makes some good points in his newsletter piece, mainly that Trump isn’t much of a conservative on a number of issues. About that, he is correct.

But if he can’t instantly grasp how modern conservatism made Trump—and not only Trump, but even more important, the people who are now his rabid supporters—then I doubt it can be explained at a level of remediation that will sink in. But it’s pretty simple. When Steve King jokes about people crossing the border with their cantaloupe-sized calves full of bags of weed, he’s creating Trump and Trump’s backers. And multiply that times 300 for every crazy-borderline racist comment in recent years by Michele Bachmann and Rush Limbaugh and all the rest of them, and you get a party and a movement whose nudges at that kind of thing have done far more to create Trump and his supporters than the occasional faux-solemn and perfunctory denunciations have done to thwart them. So this problem of white nationalism bubbling uncomfortably close to the surface is one the Republican Party and the conservative movement have deserved to have for a long time now.

Mind you I don’t think liberals should be gloating too much about this yet. It’s way too hard to predict what all this will mean for the election. In all likelihood, Trump won’t have the votes to win the nomination, John Kasich or Marco Rubio or Jeb Bush will, and the Trump voters will mostly start getting themselves worked up about the looming menace of President Hillary and come out and vote for the sellout RINOs they’re now repudiating at #NRORevolt.

But let’s say that at some point, we do see a real civil war in the Republican Party over all this, and the time comes when GOP leaders need to own up to a Joe McCarthy kind of moment—that is, a moment when they are finally forced to step forward and say, Donald, we don’t want you or your more extreme supporters. The National Review itself did a version of this, of course, back in the old days under Bill Buckley, when it said much the same to John Birch Society types.

But the Review was just a magazine. It lost some subscribers, I’m sure, but not the White House. For a political party the stakes are a little higher, and I don’t think today’s GOP would have the stones to do it. The party is stuck with Trump and his backers. It created them.

 

By: Michael Tomasky, The Daily Beast, September 9, 2015

September 10, 2015 Posted by | Conservatism, Donald Trump, GOP | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“Is Donald Trump Leading A Proto-Fascist Movement?”: Trump’s Political Message Is Uncut Xenophobia If Not Outright Racism

With the increasingly unsettling success of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, I am beginning to wonder: Does America have a fascism problem?

That may sound like an inflammatory question, but the point isn’t to say Trump is the next coming of Hitler. So what do I mean by fascism? Robert Paxton, in an excellent book about the subject, summed it up this way:

A form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation, or victimhood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion. [The Anatomy of Fascism]

The first half of the definition fits the Trump movement pretty well. His slogan “Make America Great Again” isn’t too far from the average political bromide, but its intention is much different than, say, Reagan’s “Morning in America.” Reagan did deal in his fair share of veiled race-baiting, but Trump straight-up rants about how non-white foreigners are ruining the country. From claiming unauthorized Mexican immigrants are drug dealers and “rapists,” to saying he wants to deport 11 million people, to arguing that China is “killing us” on trade, Trump’s political message is uncut xenophobia if not outright racism — all of which is coupled with how he, as a very masculine tough guy who will never back down, is going to fix everything. Just watch him give the bum’s rush to the most famous Hispanic journalist in the country!

This has been an enormous political success, with hundreds of thousands of people enthusiastically flocking to the Trump banner (just look at the people in this picture). With the exception of Bernie Sanders, Trump is now drawing bigger crowds than any other candidate. That mass basis is a key foundation of fascism — without the delirious crowds, the fascist demagogue is little more than a deranged street preacher. Many of those supporters are out-and-proud white nationalists, as documented in a fascinating New Yorker investigation.

So we’ve got the victim complex, the incipient personality cult, the mass nationalist support, and the obsession with purifying the polity (like this Trump fan arguing that the government should pay a $50 bounty to murder people crossing the border).

However, on the second half of the definition, Trump is clearly not there. Paxton demonstrates that nowhere did fascists come to power by themselves; instead they relied on support from elite conservatives who feared left-wing populist movements. But today, there is not much sign that the Republican establishment is ready to team up with Trump, and neither is there a socialist party on the verge of electoral victory. On the contrary, the GOP brass has clearly been trying to get rid of Trump, and the most left-wing challenger in the presidential race is a moderate social democrat who is far behind the centrist front-runner.

Trump has also not proposed any wars of aggression, or the abolition of democratic principles. Cleansing wars of conquest and a scorn for democracy were both signature fascist ideas.

But I also think it’s fair to call Trumpism a proto-fascist movement, not in line with Hitler, but with the likes of Benito Mussolini, who was at the forefront of European fascism. Before the Nazis, he was regarded as a somewhat clownish dictator with an unusual degree of mass support. He was a racist, authoritarian warmonger, but nowhere close to the genocidal maniac that Hitler was.

Who’s to say where we’d be under different conditions? If the American economy were as bad as it is in the eurozone, and if Bernie Sanders was cruising to easy victory in the Democratic primary, loudly promising confiscatory tax rates, Trump might well be a genuinely terrifying figure.

 

By: Ryan Cooper, The Week, August 28, 2015

August 31, 2015 Posted by | Donald Trump, Fascism, Racism | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“Never Patriotic”: The Real Meaning Of The Confederate Flag

In the intensifying national debate over the Confederate flag, important clues about the seditious symbol’s true meaning are staring us in the face. Dozens of those clues were posted by an angry, glaring Dylann Storm Roof on the “Last Rhodesian,” website, where the alleged Charleston killer pays homage to certain flags – notably those of apartheid-era South Africa and Rhodesia, as well as the old Confederacy – while he enthusiastically desecrates another.

Pictures of Roof burning, stomping, and spitting on the Stars and Stripes are interspersed among the photos of him grasping and waving the Confederate battle flag, sometimes while holding a gun. “I hate the sight of the American flag,” he raged in a long screed on the site. “Modern American patriotism is an absolute joke.”

What this racial terrorist meant to express, in crude prose and pictures, is a lesson that the diehard defenders of the Confederate flag should no longer ignore: To uphold the banner of secession is to reject patriotism – and has never meant anything else.

For many years after the Civil War, the symbols of the Confederacy were not much seen outside local museums and burial grounds. The late general Robert E. Lee, a reluctant but justly revered war hero, rejected any post-war fetishizing of the Stars and Bars, which had actually originated as the battle flag of his Army of Northern Virginia. Lee believed it “wiser…not to keep open the sores of war, but to follow the examples of those nations who endeavored to obliterate the marks of civil strife and to commit to oblivion the feelings it engendered.”But such admonishments were cast aside by the exponents of white supremacy, whose own patriotism was certainly suspect. When the Ku Klux Klan and the Knights of the White Camelia were revived as racial terror organizations in the 1930s and 1940s, carrying out a spree of cowardly lynchings, their grand wizards found natural allies among the leaders of the German-American Bund — whose funding and fealty were eventually traced to Nazi headquarters in Berlin. Indeed, the Klansmen burned their towering crosses alongside swastika banners at rallies sponsored by the Bund to attack President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

In the years following the Second World War, the Dixiecrats led by South Carolina politician Strom Thurmond – and the “uptown Klan” known as the White Citizens Councils that supported Thurmond’s movement – appropriated the Confederate flag as their own standard. Among its greatest enthusiasts was a young radio reporter (and future U.S. senator) named Jesse Helms, whose fawning coverage of Thurmond’s 1948 third-party presidential bid marked him as a rising star of the segregationist right.

As for the White Citizens Councils, those local groups were ultimately reconstituted into chapters of the Council of Conservative Citizens – a notorious hate group that has embarrassed many Republican politicians caught fraternizing with its leaders, and that ultimately inspired Roof with its inflammatory propaganda about black crime and the endangered white race. Headquartered in St. Louis, MO, the CCC festoons itself and its works with the Dixie flag, as does the neo-Confederate League of the South, which still openly advocates secession.

Meanwhile, racist, anti-Semitic agitators such as David Duke and Don Black — both Southerners prominent in Klan and neo-Nazi organizations for decades — have never ceased to manifest their reverence for the Confederacy. Stormfront, the notorious neo-Nazi website founded by Black, continues to promote the mythology and symbolism of the Southern cause, declaring in a June 23 podcast that the Civil War had nothing to do with slavery — and that “the attack on southern symbols and heritage such as the Confederate Flag are actually part of an overall Jewish-led attack on European Americans.” Owing to Duke’s influence, in fact, the Confederate flag has served as a substitute for Nazi banners in demonstrations, often violent, by “white nationalists” in Europe — where the symbols of the Third Reich are widely outlawed.

Obviously, not every American who has displayed the Dixie flag endorses the treason and bigotry that it now represents to so many other Americans. There are sincere patriots, like former senator James Webb of Virginia, who still insist that it is only a remembrance of the valor of their ancestors. But over the decades, its appropriation by traitors and bigots has provoked little noticeable protest from the more innocent exponents of respect for Southern heritage. Today, the Charleston massacre has left it standing irrevocably for the most brutal and criminal aspects of that heritage – and it is more deeply irreconcilable with American patriotism than ever.

 

By: Joe Conason, Editor in Chief, Editors Blog, The National Memo, June 26, 2015

June 28, 2015 Posted by | Confederate Flag, Domestic Terrorism, Hate Crimes, Patriotism | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Why Does Bigot Pat Buchanan Still Wield Influence?

For a number of years, Patrick J. Buchanan was considered “The Man” in the conservative movement; he took a back seat to no one. He ran for the GOP’s presidential nomination and attracted a large following; he hosted and appeared on several cable news shows, including being one of the original co-hosts of CNN’s “Crossfire”; his books have been bestsellers; and, perhaps most famously of all, Buchanan’s “Culture War Speech” at the 1992 Republican Party convention both enthralled his followers and chilled a good part of the rest of the nation.

In a recent column about the events in Norway, after a perfunctory condemnation of the bombing and murder spree unleashed by Anders Behring Breivik, Buchanan was classic Buchanan suggesting that, “Breivik may be right.”

Over the years, as Jamison Foser recently pointed out at Media Matters for America, Buchanan has expressed an, “almost unbelievable dislike of Nelson Mandela and Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.”; took up the cause of John Demjanuk, who was”convicted earlier this year of complicity in the murder of tens of thousands of Jews while serving at a Nazi death camp”; defended the white supremacists beliefs of Nixon’s Supreme Court nominee, Harold Carswell; and,”praised Klansman David Duke for his staunch opposition to ‘discrimination against white folks.'”

In a June column posted at CNSNews.com, titled “Say Goodbye to Los Angeles”, Buchanan commented on the June soccer match at Pasadena’s storied Rose Bowl that saw the Mexican team beat the U.S. He wrote that fans rooting for Mexico should consider returning there and they should”let someone take his place who wants to become an American.”

Buchanan pointed out that “By 2050, according to Census figures, thanks to illegals crossing over and legalized mass immigration, the number of Hispanics in the U.S.A. will rise from today’s 50 million to 135 million.” Never one to miss an opportunity to be excessively dramatic/hyperbolic, Buchanan concluded: “Say goodbye to Los Angeles. Say goodbye to California.”

When Pat Buchanan spoke, many may have turned their heads, but his core audience, anti-immigrant, white nationalists perked up and listened, and later echoed his remarks.

Despite the reams of “culture war” commentary, including anti-immigrant, anti-Semitic and anti-gay rage, for some inexplicable reason, the Washington Beltway crowd has always considered him”a good old boy.”

“A cutting edge figure among a significant sector of extreme paleoconservatives”

“Although Buchanan doesn’t have the influence he did in the 1990s when he commanded a following inside the Republican Party, he remains an influential, even cutting edge figure among a significant sector of extreme paleoconservatives,” Leonard Zeskind, president of the Institute for Research & Education on Human Rights told me in a telephone interview.

“His ideas may not be adopted outright, but they find their way into the mouths of others, that do have a following,” Zeskind, author of the invaluable Blood and Politics: The History of the White Nationalist Movement from the Margins to the Mainstream, added. “Think of him as a cutting edge figure, with a following on television news and an influence on others who have larger followings,” said Zeskind.

Buchanan Hearts Breivik

Buchanan’s column about Breivik may in part be an attempt to grasp renewed relevance. The piece, “A fire bell in the night for Norway,”which was posted at WorldNetDaily, maintained that Breivik is an, ” evil … though deluded man of some intelligence, who in his 1,500-page manifesto reveals a knowledge reveals a knowledge of the history, culture and politics of Europe.” Breivik, perhaps unknown to Buchanan, also revealed an ability to purloin a chunk of the manifesto from other published sources and claim them as his own.

“He admits to his ‘atrocious’ but ‘necessary’ crimes, done, he says, to bring attention to his ideas and advance his cause: a Crusader’s war between the real Europe and the ‘cultural Marxists’ and Muslims they invited in to alter the ethnic character and swamp the culture of the Old Continent,” Buchanan maintained.

Now that the “atrocious” deed has been done, Buchanan is, as many other conservatives have been doing, attempting to disassociate Breivik from the conservative movement in the United States and Europe: “His writings are now being mined for references to U.S. conservative critics of multiculturalism and open borders. Purpose: Demonize the American right, just as the berserker’s attack on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson was used to smear Sarah Palin and Timothy McVeigh’s Oklahoma City bombing was used to savage Rush Limbaugh and conservative critics of Big Government.”

But, Buchanan wrote, the left will not get away with “guilt by association,” a methodology Buchanan charged, “has been used by the left since it sought to tie the assassination of JFK by a Marxist from the Fair Play for Cuba Committee to the political conservatism of the city of Dallas.”

While Buchanan admitted that there are, “violent actors or neo-Nazis on the European right who bear watching,” he declared that “native-born and homegrown terrorism is not the macro-threat to the continent.”

According to Buchanan,”Europe’s left will encounter difficulty in equating criticism of multiculturalism with neo-Nazism. For Angela Merkel of Germany, Nicolas Sarkozy of France and David Cameron of Britain have all declared multiculturalism a failure. From votes in Switzerland to polls across the continent, Europeans want an end to the wearing of burqas and the building of prayer towers in mosques.”

Buchanan concluded by pointing out that “Breivik may be right,” in asserting that “a climactic conflict between a once-Christian West and an Islamic world that is growing in numbers and advancing inexorably into Europe for the third time in 14 centuries,” is coming down the pike.

Buchananism “will live long after [he] has departed this mortal coil’.

“Buchanan’s brand of Christian nationalist xenophobia has been picked up by others, guaranteeing it will live on long after Buchanan has departed this mortal coil,” Rob Boston, Senior Policy Analyst at Americans United, told me in an email. “That’s his true legacy. … The trail he blazed is now well traveled by Ann Coulter, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Dinesh D’Souza and a host of others.”

Boston noted that: “The Breivik shooting is a textbook example of what’s wrong with today’s cultural warriors of the far right. An angry and hate-filled man killed more than 70 people — many of them young — in cold blood. Yet so many on the right seem unable to condemn this without adding a ‘but.’ That we have come to this pass — and that so few public commentators have the guts to stand up and call the right out for the cranks that they are — is a telling indicator of the great moral confusion these so-called guardians of public virtue have spawned.”

Leonard Zeskind pointed out that while Buchanan is not the Buchanan of the past, he still has a following: “Even if he does not have three million votes behind him, he still has [many] people who listen to [him] everyday. At the same time, he has been eclipsed by the Tea Partiers, who embody, in part, his constituency of yesteryear.

The Tea Partiers are the Buchananites of the past, moving into the future.”

By: Bill Berkowitz, Talk To Action, AlterNet, August 5, 2011

August 8, 2011 Posted by | Bigotry, Birthers, Conservatives, GOP, Human Rights, Ideologues, Ideology, Immigrants, Republicans, Right Wing, Teaparty, Terrorism | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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