Thursday, October 11, 2018

A conservative rejects the racist Republican Party

The Republican Southern Strategy

Max Boot in The Washington Post:

...It would be nice to think that Donald Trump is an anomaly who came out of nowhere to take over an otherwise sane and sober movement. But it just isn’t so. Upon closer examination, it’s obvious that the history of modern conservatism is permeated with racism, extremism, conspiracy-mongering, isolationism and know-nothingism. 

I disagree with progressives who argue that these disfigurations define the totality of conservatism; conservatives have also espoused high-minded principles that I still believe in, and the bigotry on the right appeared to be ameliorating in recent decades. 

But there has always been a dark underside to conservatism that I chose for most of my life to ignore. It’s amazing how little you can see when your eyes are closed!...

Most Republicans in Congress voted in 1964 and 1965 for landmark civil rights legislation, but not Goldwater. In his 1960 bestseller “The Conscience of a Conservative,” Goldwater wrote that “the federal Constitution does not require the states to maintain racially mixed schools.” 

Goldwater was not personally a racist — he had integrated the Arizona Air National Guard — but, like his GOP successors, he was happy to make common cause with racists in order to wrest the South from the Democrats...

In 1964, the GOP ceased to be the party of Lincoln and became the party of Southern whites. As I now look back with the clarity of hindsight, I am convinced that coded racial appeals had at least as much, if not more, to do with the electoral success of the modern Republican Party than all of the domestic and foreign policy proposals crafted by well-intentioned analysts like me. 

This is what liberals have been saying for decades. I never believed them. Now I do, because Trump won by making the racist appeal, hitherto relatively subtle, obvious even to someone such as me who used to be in denial...

The Republican Party will now be defined by Trump’s dark, divisive vision, with his depiction of Democrats as America-hating, criminal-coddling traitors, his vilification of the press as the “enemy of the people,” and his ugly invective against Mexicans and Muslims. The extremism that many Republicans of goodwill had been trying to push to the fringe of their party is now its governing ideology.

That’s why I can no longer be a Republican, and in fact wish ill fortune on my former party. I am now convinced that the Republican Party must suffer repeated and devastating defeats beginning in November. It must pay a heavy price for its embrace of white nationalism and know-nothingism. 

Only if the GOP as it is currently constituted is burned to the ground will there be any chance to build a reasonable center-right party out of the ashes. But that will require undoing the work of decades, not just of the past two years.

Coot Cover
Neocons Paved the Way for Trump. Finally, One Admits It.

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