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The Republican Frankenstein

Peter Segall

Posted on February 9, 2016 14:54

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Many are praying for Donald Trump to go away, not least of all many in the GOP establishment. Yet his popularity surprises no one — angry white-nationalists have long been courted by the GOP, and now that they're center stage, Republicans have no one to blame but themselves.

The Republicans have created a monster. They're angry with each other about how long Trump's candidacy has lasted, but they're not surprised at his popularity. That's because they've long been cultivating an environment in which someone like Trump will thrive.

As the results of the New Hampshire primary are barreling down on us, everyone seems to be waiting with bated breath to see if the outsiders triumph. Republicans have more at stake than the Democrats do.

Cruz's win in Iowa was a surprise to many, but a win for Trump in New Hampshire could signal that Iowa was just a fluke. For many Republicans, Trump is an embarrassment. For others, he's an existential threat.

Many GOP stalwarts breathed a slight sigh of relief when Cruz took Iowa, in spite of the fact that Cruz is not loved among many in the Republican establishment. His win was a victory in the sense that any win against Trump was a win for the party.

Many in the GOP are fearing a Trump resurgence pending a New Hampshire victory and dreading the possibility that he will be the Republican candidate. In the days leading up to Iowa, the Republican establishment was throwing accusations at one another, casting blame for not having stopped Trump earlier.

They have no one to blame but themselves. By courting a dangerous ideology and cultivating xenophobic rage in much of its base, the GOP establishment enabled Trump's rise.

For decades, stretching back to the Nixon years, Republicans have known they would eventually have to reach out to Latino voters. Instead of embracing this demographic, the party has resorted to rallying more white voters by stirring anger and scapegoating outsiders.

The Latino vote is only a symptom of the larger problem. The Republicans need to focus on ideology rather than identity. Ronald Reagan once said that Latinos were Republicans, they just didn't know it yet.

In a way, Reagan was not wrong. There is much within the conservative platform that appeals to Latino voters, but they've been kept away by the xenophobic white-nationalist branch of the party. It's not just hard-line policies on immigration that are keeping Latinos away, it's the GOP's rhetoric.

Were GOP politicians to approach immigration with more nuanced language instead of the siege-mentality incendiary rhetoric that excites the white righteous-indignation demographic, they would find themselves appealing to more minority voters.

Instead, the GOP uses phrases like 'real Americans' and refuses to call a stop to the so-called 'Birther' movement, the narrative behind which is 'you're not one of us.'

Republicans tire of defending themselves against accusations of racism and accuse the left of race-baiting, but the fact is that racial animus is a huge part of Republican strategy.

When Trump declared his candidacy and directly spoke the language of the angry white nationalist, in terms many have been using among themselves for years, no one should be shocked at his popularity.

The claim that Trump 'says what everyone is thinking' is damning evidence that the GOP has been cultivating this rhetoric for years but trying to keep it under control, assuming that addressing racism and xenophobia directly would be political suicide.

When a sentiment that has been brewing just under the surface for so many years suddenly burst out onto main stage, the GOP should not be looking around and saying 'what happened?'

They know damn well what happened. The vicious dog broke the chain and is running through the streets with its owner running behind trying to tie it up again.

The GOP needs to take a lesson from the LGBT movement, and I say that with no irony. The LGBT movement changed its tactic from 'we're here, get used to it' to 'we're just like you, we want what you want'.

They took a softer approach, seeking to integrate themselves rather than cast themselves as outsiders and demand acceptance. They, like Civil Rights activists, used empathy as their weapon and have made massive strides.

The GOP have used anger as their weapon, and now they're surprised that they have shot themselves in the foot.

Peter Segall

Posted on February 9, 2016 14:54

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Source: Politico
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