For many Americans the recent exposure of the racism rampant in the population is not a revelation by any means. It is true the brutal massacre by a Confederate sympathizer exposed the white supremacy infecting great portions of the South, and the Republican reaction to decent Americans demanding that the Confederacy’s symbol of racism be removed reinforced the idea that Republican racial bigotry plagues the entire nation. However, racism is not reserved for animus toward African Americans and the support for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s truly vicious remarks targeting Hispanic immigrants exposed conservative racism that permeates the Republican base.
It is true that Donald Trump is an unqualified presidential candidate and a filthy rich, vain, bigoted bloviate. But he is very popular with the Republican base for a simple reason. He, more than any Republican candidate for president, best represents the GOP’s base because unlike the rest of the Republicans seeking the presidential nomination, he is unafraid to speak for the Party and the typical Republican voter. It is why in a recent CNN national poll Trump is in second place among the GOP field, and second in recent polls from Iowa and New Hampshire, both crucial early contests.
The Republican establishment might feign sweating over Trump’s appeal to racists in the Republican base, but there is little doubt the other “professional” candidates would love to parrot the base’s views on everything from immigration to the Confederacy to President Obama’s citizenship. However, with a general election looming they can hardly say out loud what they really believe and it is why the GOP’s base sees Trump as “one of them.” It is a fact that Republicans like Santorum, Cruz, Huckabee, Walker, Jindal, and Bush may not openly endorse every crazy idea like Trump for fear of losing favor with fundraisers and necessary endorsements, but they certainly agree with every incendiary statement Trump and the base holds near and dear as hardline conservatives. Unlike the “professional” politicians, Trump has no overwhelming need to form party alliances or “build a team of party professionals,” so he says precisely what he and the Republican base believes it means to be “real Americans.”
There is more proof Trump is the ideal Republican in a couple of recent surveys, and one particularly telling news story. Republican voters hate Hispanic immigrants as a matter of course whether they are documented, undocumented, or American citizens. Some Republican presidential candidates did criticize Trump’s xenophobic and bigoted remarks about Mexican immigrants, but their true sentiments were revealed when every potential Republican candidate turned down an invitation from the nation’s largest Latino advocacy group to attend its annual convention next week.
The group, the National Council of La Raza invited every presidential candidate, Democrat and Republican, to attend their convention, but no Republican is attending. For the record, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley will attend, and Senator Bernie Sanders adjusted his schedule to attend. It is highly likely that the last thing any Republican candidate wants to be branded with is any form of outreach to the Hispanic community to conform to the Republican base’s bigotry toward non-whites. In fact, although there has been tepid criticism of Trump’s vile remarks about Hispanic immigrants, the group representing the Republican base, conservative media, has been either relatively silent or blatantly praiseworthy and supportive.
Conservative media is prone to lying profusely, but in the case of Trump’s bigotry, a fair majority of them were truthful in rallying to his defense by claiming Trump was only saying out loud what Republican professional politicians and the base knows needed to be said. For example, Fox News’ Monica Crowley said Republican voters love Donald Trump because “he’s a straight talker and he’s giving voice to what a lot of voters believe about the state of the country right now. And he’s fearlessly doing it.” According to Crowley, Trump is performing a great service for the rest of the candidates “if they’re smart enough to follow his lead; he is not caving in to the leftist intimidation tactics, and he is doing a lot of political blocking for the other candidates by saying things that need to be said.”
Sean Hannity also defended Trump and said, “We’ve got a problem in this country. Floor to ceiling drugs confiscated by people crossing our southern border. You want to talk about crime? Who’s coming from Latin America and Mexico? Are they rich, successful Mexicans, Nicaraguans, El Salvador residents? No!“ A Fox News radio host, Todd Starnes said “Trump has nothing to apologize for. He was telling the truth, people crossing the border from one country into another was called an invasion. They used to fight wars over stuff like that. But now they just play politics.” Another conservative, John Hinderaker, wrote that “Donald Trump was right. At least he understands why Americans are so angry; the Left’s effort to shut Trump up should be a teachable moment.”
Washed-up rocker, draft dodger, pedophile, and extremely popular National Rifle Association board member Ted Nugent thinks that “instead of being condemned and lampooned, Donald Trump should be given the Medal of Freedom for speaking in such a bold, honest, and straight-forward manner. I dare anybody to show me one word from Trump that isn’t accurate. What sort of denial gagged liar denies that our country is being invaded by drug runners, murderers and rapists?”
While establishment Republicans will never admit it openly, conservative media not only speaks for the Party, it speaks for the bigoted base that is not just bigoted against Latinos. The recent shameful actions in the House where Republicans balked at removing the racist Confederate battle flag from government buildings and cemeteries exposed their racism Trump espouses. Speaker John Boehner managed to table an amendment to allow the Confederate flag to be displayed at federal cemeteries and sold in gift shops, but when Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi introduced a resolution instructing the speaker to “remove any State flag containing any portion of the Confederate battle flag from any area within the House wing of the Capitol or any House office building,” California Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy pushed to table Pelosi’s resolution and won the backing of every racist Republican but one. Republicans do not have a problem with Donald Trump’s racism and bigotry, they are just concerned that their, and their base’s, true sentiments about non-white Americans is finally being exposed nationally leading up to the 2016 presidential election.
In the aftermath of the Charleston racist killing, and while there was national outrage over the murderer’s allegiance to the Confederate flag, there were only tepid calls from Republicans to remove the flag from South Carolina government buildings. The cries to remove the flag had to reach deafening proportions before some Republicans could no longer avoid offending their racist base and claimed it was a state issue. What was not the least bit surprising was a recent Gallup poll that revealed 78 percent of Republicans still viewed the racist flag as a positive symbol. Racism is alive and well among Republican voters, and Donald Trump’s vile bigotry epitomizes the sentiment that Republican politicians certainly embrace; especially after spending the past six years cultivating it for the benefit of their electoral base.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.