All the GOP Has Left is Racism & That’s a Lie, Too
White supremacy promoted as pseudo-science is a lie, and the racist politics that flow from it are poison in the bloodstream of our republic
In the 2020 election, the Republican Party chose not to even publish a party platform. They literally had no list of things they’d like to accomplish or do for the American people.
As Axios recently reported after attending a meeting between Mitch McConnell and wealthy donors: “Republicans should be 100% focused on Democrats and all the ‘terrible’ things they're doing to the country, McConnell said.” We’ll find out what Republicans support, we’re told, only after they regain power.
In a bizarre parody of Seinfeld, the GOP appears to have become the Party of Nothing.
Nothing about getting the lead out of our water supply, or child-brain-damaging pesticides out of our food.
Nothing about strengthening Social Security or expanding Medicare to include glasses, hearing and teeth.
Nothing about helping young families make it through those first five demanding years in their children’s lives with low-cost pre-K.
Nothing about fixing the student debt crisis that’s crippled 45 million Americans ability to fully enter the economy.
Nothing about making healthcare and pharmaceuticals more available and affordable.
Nothing about cleaning up our environment and stopping global warming.
Nothing about turning our public schools back into the world’s finest, as they were from Eisenhower’s big post-Sputnik 1950s investments until Reagan took an axe to them in the 1980s.
Nothing about giving working people better pay, raising the minimum wage, and strengthening workplace protections.
Nothing about paid sick leave and family leave.
Nothing about rebuilding America’s infrastructure that’s been crumbling since Reagan’s supply-side funding cuts in the 1980s.
Nothing about getting low-cost/high-speed broadband into the homes of every American family to make America internationally competitive.
Nothing about taking on the corruption of politics by the dark money the Supreme Court authorized with Citizens United.
Nothing about making voting safe, easy and secure for every American.
But there is something that the white Republican base holds tightly: their belief in white racial superiority. And the GOP is quite happy to pander to and exploit that awful idea.
Racism was used to justify centuries of slavery, was relabeled “scientific racism” in the 19th century to promote withholding medical care from Black people, and was openly used by politicians to maintain legal racial segregation up until the 1960s.
It still reigns in the GOP (since Democrats abandoned it in 1964), and now animates Republican voter suppression tactics and underlies many of their political strategies.
Racism explains their embrace of the #2 guy in the Republican House Caucus, Steve Scalise of Louisiana, after he was quoted saying that he was “David Duke without the baggage.”
Racism explains Reagan’s Education Secretary, Bill Bennett, saying, “If it were your sole purpose to reduce crime, you could abort every Black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down.”
Racism explains Republican defense of Confederate flags, statues and names on military bases…and their supporters waving that traitorous flag while assaulting our democracy on January 6th.
Racism explains their support for Trump banning immigration from “shithole countries” and how his campaign kickoff speech calling Mexicans rapists and murderers cemented his place in the GOP’s primary lineup.
Racism explains why Republican appointees on the Supreme Court were so enthusiastic to gut the Voting Rights Bill — twice.
Racism explains why the states that most supported Trump are also the states where larger percentages of white citizens claim racial discrimination is a thing of the past or is now directed at white people.
Racism also explains their hysteria about quotas, their love of “race neutrality” and their constant complaining about what they call “reverse discrimination.”
Racism explains their love of white supremacist militias and their embrace of both Nazi and Confederate iconography.
Racism explains why they’re working so hard to prevent people from voting in cities with large Black and Hispanic populations like Atlanta, Houston and Dallas.
Racism explains why, “Around eight in ten Republicans (79%), compared to 40% of independents and 17% of Democrats, believe that killings of African Americans by police are isolated incidents.”
Racism is why Newsweek would report: “About half of white registered Republican voters in [Southern] states say more attention needs to be given to discrimination against white people in their communities.”
Racism explains why, one after another, Republican-controlled states are trying to end the teaching of the racial history of America in our public schools.
Racism explains Tucker Carlson’s and the Klan’s “Great Replacement Theory.”
And that racism not only works for them politically but is now being pushed to a new generation.
Dylan Roof says he was first inspired by the Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC), what the Southern Poverty Law Centers calls a white supremacist group, that has been regularly addressed by literally dozens of Republican politicians for decades including, most recently, Mississippi Republican Senator Roger Wicker.
He wrote in his manifesto, “There were pages upon pages [on the CCC website] of these brutal black on White murders. I was in disbelief. At this moment I realized that something was very wrong.”
“CCC President Earl Holt III has donated some $65,000 to candidates in recent years, including GOP presidential hopefuls Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and Rick Santorum. Holt’s contribution records read as a who’s who of conservative candidates in recent years…”
Before Roof murdered nine people at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in downtown Charleston, South Carolina, he proclaimed: “Negroes have lower IQs, lower impulse control, and higher testosterone levels in general. These three things alone are a recipe for violent behavior.”
That brutally racist — and demonstrably wrong — sentiment is not just one demented white guy: it’s a core belief across the white base of the GOP and across the militia movement, groups that are increasingly melding together. It’s repeated today on millions of websites and social media groups.
In my 70 years on this planet, I’ve seen that lie used to justify racist drug laws and policing policies, heard it from numerous white people in routine conversation (particularly when we lived 13 years in Atlanta), and remember it as a justification for segregation and red-lining.
Differences in skin or hair color and facial features have nothing to do with intellect or any other dimension of our shared humanity. They are literally “just on the surface.”
The Bell Curve and other attempts to revive modern justifications for institutional or “scientific” racism have been thoroughly debunked, although its author is still praised by Republican politicians including Rand Paul, Jeb Bush and Paul Ryan.
White supremacy promoted as pseudo-science is a lie, and the racist politics that flow from it are poison in the bloodstream of our republic.