Trump’s GOP: The party of white griev­ance?

The Week (US) - - News -

Be­fore Don­ald Trump, Repub­li­cans pri­mar­ily ap­pealed to racially big­oted whites through code words and sym­bols, said Je­lani Cobb in NewYorker .com. “With Trump, the racism is out in the open.” Con­sider the vic­tory last week of Mis­sis­sippi Repub­li­can Cindy Hyde-Smith in the state’s runoff elec­tion for a U.S. Se­nate seat. Hyde-Smith won over Demo­crat Mike Espy, who is black, de­spite a video show­ing her telling a sup­porter she’d gladly sit “in the front row” of a pub­lic hang­ing. Vot­ers also learned that Hyde-Smith—who was en­thu­si­as­ti­cally en­dorsed by Trump—grad­u­ated from a pri­vate “seg­re­ga­tion academy” set up to cir­cum­vent Brown v. Board, and called Jef­fer­son Davis’ old home “Mis­sis­sippi his­tory at its best!” Out­side Mis­sis­sippi, said Sa­muel Sinyangwe in Vox .com, other Repub­li­cans also “ran on racism.” Flor­ida Gov.–elect Ron De­San­tis warned that his black op­po­nent, An­drew Gil­lum, would “mon­key up” the state. In Ge­or­gia, Gov.-elect Brian Kemp boasted that he drives a pickup truck so he can round up “crim­i­nal il­le­gals.”

No­body spots racism like a lib­eral who’s lost an elec­tion, said Wes­ley Pru­den in Wash­ing­ton Hyde-Smith is “a nice lady with a gift for say­ing grace­less things”—her quip about hang­ings was just a clumsy joke. Yet Democrats sought to por­tray her and ev­ery white sup­porter as mod­ern­day Klans­men. It’s Democrats, in fact, who’ve been “only too happy to po­lar­ize the elec­torate along racial lines,” said The Wall Street Jour­nal in an ed­i­to­rial. Gil­lum com­plains that he lost the Flor­ida gu­ber­na­to­rial race “be­cause he is black.” Then why did he do worse among black vot­ers than the state’s pro­gres­sive Se­nate can­di­date, Bill Nel­son, who’s white?

Deny the ob­vi­ous if you like, said Max Boot in The Wash­ing­ton Post, but “neo­cons” are tak­ing over the GOP. Not neo­con­ser­va­tives, mind you— “neo-Con­fed­er­ates.” Hyde-Smith may seem like an ex­treme case, hav­ing once dressed as a Con­fed­er­ate gen­eral and waved a Con­fed­er­ate bat­tle flag. But Corey Ste­wart, the de­feated GOP can­di­date for Se­nate in Vir­ginia, called Con­fed­er­ate his­tory “what makes us Vir­ginia”; Kemp re­cently re­fused to take down “the big­gest Con­fed­er­ate mon­u­ment in the world,” and the fla­grantly racist Rep. Steve King of Iowa—a state that fought for the Union—has dis­played a Con­fed­er­ate flag on his desk. Even when not wav­ing the Dixie flag, Repub­li­cans have signed on to Trump’s strat­egy of “pan­der­ing to white griev­ances.”

Hyde-Smith: Fond of the Con­fed­er­acy

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