Monday, February 29, 2016

Is this how the party of Lincoln dies?

I don't like Joe Scarborough very much. In fact, I disagree with this former Republican congressman and current cable TV/talk radio host about most things.

But I certainly agree with his latest remarks about Donald Trump's refusal to distance himself from the Ku Klux Klan and other white supremacists:
...MSNBC host Joe Scarborough asked if "this is how the party of Abraham Lincoln dies," in a column for the Washington Post on Monday.

Scarborough, who has been repeatedly criticized for his apparent on-air coziness with Trump, wanted to know how the billionaire real estate mogul couldn't know who Duke was.

"The first question is why would Trump pretend to be so ignorant of American history that he refused to pass judgment on the Ku Klux Klan before receiving additional information?" he asked. "What kind of facts could possibly mitigate a century of sins committed by a violent hate group whose racist crimes terrorized Americans and placed a shameful blot on this nation’s history?"

Trump has repeatedly bragged about having the "world's greatest memory" so it's hard to believe Trump doesn't know what the KKK stands for, he wrote.

"The harsher reality is that the next GOP nominee will be a man who refused to condemn the Ku Klux Klan and one of its most infamous Grand Wizards when telling the ugly truth wouldn’t have cost him a single vote," Scarborough said.

He concluded: "So is this how the party of Abraham Lincoln dies?"

During his Monday morning broadcast, Scarborough said Trump's supposed lack of knowledge of Duke and the KKK were "disqualifying."

He's wrong about one thing. Today's Republican Party is no longer "the party of Abraham Lincoln." The GOP abandoned Abraham Lincoln - and any claim to his name - when they adopted their 'Southern strategy' of deliberately wooing white racists.

The whole point of that strategy was to take the South - all of those racist Dixiecrats who'd been solidly Democratic since the slave-owning days of Lincoln - from the Democrats. It worked, too. It worked remarkably well.

Politically, it was hugely successful. The GOP attracted a lot of northern racists, too, especially when they managed to convince working-class whites to see economic issues in terms of race (thus getting their support for tax cuts for the rich).

And have you seen the absolute hysteria since the election of our first black president? The Republican party is no longer the party of Lincoln. Donald Trump is just a symptom of that, not the cause.

Still, he's a pretty remarkable symptom, don't you think? Can you imagine a candidate for President of the United States needing to think about it for awhile before repudiating the Ku Klux Klan, needing to think about it before rejecting the support of white supremacists?

Of course, what that means is that his supporters will understand, when Trump eventually came out against white supremacy, that he was forced into it by 'political correctness' and the 'liberal media.' His delay will make that perfectly clear.

So now, Trump can claim that he (eventually) made the right decision, while racists will remain convinced that he actually agrees with them. It's just that that hated political correctness forced him to say otherwise. That's a winning argument in the Republican Party. And it might even work for the general electorate - or, at least, the especially clueless among us.

Joe Scarborough said something else about Trump in his broadcast this morning:
“I mean is he really so stupid that he thinks Southerners aren’t offended by the Ku Klux Klan and David Duke? Is he really so ignorant of Southern voters that he thinks this is the way to their heart — to go neutral, to play Switzerland when you’re talking about the Klan?"

Hmm,... will Southern white Republicans really be offended by this? I don't know. These people were wooed into the Republican Party in the first place by racism. But let's just see how much support Donald Trump loses from this, shall we?

If he loses any support at all...

PS. Here's Joe Scarborough's editorial in the Washington Post. It's short, but in some ways, it's even better than as excerpted above. For example, he also says this:
The day I hung up on Donald Trump, I asked on air, “Is this what Germany looked like in 1933?” Later, I warned Republicans that Trump’s rhetoric could lead to a brokered convention where “the party will kill itself.” But it looks like I overestimated primary voters in the early GOP contests. A brokered convention is now just the fantasy of Republican elites and Marco Rubio fans.

Yes. Just imagine that. He compared his fellow Republicans to the Nazis and ended up overestimating them. How often does that happen?

PPS. Rachel Maddow also has an editorial in the Washington Post. She talks about the white supremacists who've been making robocalls for Donald Trump. Then, she continues:
The racist American Freedom Party is technically running its own candidate for president on a “Stop White Genocide” ticket, but its heart is clearly with Trump. A statement from the group announcing that first round of racist robocalls in Iowa called Trump “The Great White Hope.”

Before the first votes were cast this year, Trump’s candidacy was also being hailed and welcomed by the American Nazi Party, the KKK-affiliated “Knights Party,” the skinhead and neo-Nazi online forum “The Daily Stormer” and former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke.

Duke started praising Trump on his radio show during the summer, saying that Trump’s campaign was doing “some incredibly great things,” but he stopped short of fully endorsing Trump’s candidacy. Now, Duke is overtly calling on his supporters to join the Trump campaign: “Voting against Donald Trump at this point, is really treason to your heritage. . . . I am telling you that it is your job now to get active. Get off your duff. Get off your rear-end that’s getting fatter and fatter for many of you every day on your chairs. When this show’s over, go out, call the Republican Party, but call Donald Trump’s headquarters, volunteer. They’re screaming for volunteers. Go in there, you’re gonna meet people who are going to have the same kind of mind-set that you have.”

Call the Republican Party, call Donald Trump's campaign headquarters, and there you'll find people with the "same kind of mind-set" as KKK members. Yup, I guess so.

Donald Trump could have repudiated this - I mean, clearly repudiated this, right from the start. He didn't. He made it clear - to these white supremacists, at least - that he welcomed their support. He has, in effect, made it clear that he agrees with them.

You see, the very fact that the 'liberal media' had to pressure Trump to (very reluctantly) repudiate the racists, however half-heartedly, just demonstrates to the racists that Trump agrees with them. As I say, it's just the 'political correctness' - which every right-winger loves to hate - of the 'liberal media' - which they hate even worse - which has forced him to say otherwise.

That's exactly what these racists want to hear.

But this still isn't how the party of Lincoln dies, because the Republican Party is no longer the party of Lincoln. That died a long time ago.


Jim Harris said...

I assumed Trump was hesitant because he's building a coalition of extremists and he didn't want to be seen as excluding any of them. Republicans will go to any means to get votes. And doesn't building a wall to keep out Hispanics and creating laws to exclude Muslim mark Trump as a racist already? Isn't he already targeting voters who are philosophical cousins to David Duke?

WCG said...

Yes. And as I noted above, Jim, Trump wins with racists and he wins with people who don't want to think that he's a racist.

After all, he did reject David Duke eventually. His supporters are already pointing to that.

On the other hand, racists will recognize that he does agree with them, but that the 'liberal media' forced the retraction. Just another example of 'political correctness' tyranny, huh? They'll eat that up.

I don't know if he planned that, but it's win/win, especially since racial minorities aren't going to vote for Trump, anyway.

Jim Harris said...

How could Trump, the candidate of the racists start discriminating against any particular type of racist?

WCG said...

Sorry, I don't know what you mean, Jim.