Brodie Farquhar: Are all Republicans racist?
The racist trope of “why don’t you go back to where you came from” did not originate with Donald Trump, who recently threw that statement at four Democratic congresswomen of color. Three were born in this country, and the fourth is a naturalized citizen, who has been a citizen longer than Melania Trump.
Trump’s terrible trope has been heard before on schoolyards, streets, bars, back alleys and probably corporate boardrooms. It is used by people who want to emphasize their native, insider status by pointing out the outsider status of others. It has been heard by blacks, Hispanics, Asians, Irish, Italians, Poles, Greeks, Germans, Jews and Catholics, uttered by Know-Nothings, Tea-Partyers, and yes, Ku-Klux-Klaners.
About the only people in North America with the historic right to use this trope are Native Americans against virtually everyone else.
“Go back where you came from” is used by the intellectually lazy and the ignorant, which includes Trump.
Which brings me to ask whether all Republicans are racist? I don’t think so, but certainly the GOP does seem to tolerate racists within their ranks. Have you heard Rep. Scott Tipton or Sen. Cory Gardner criticize Trump over racist Tweets? Me neither.
The irony is that the Republican Party was founded by abolitionists who wanted to get rid of black slavery. Indeed, liberal Republicans — yes, Virginia, they actually existed — helped pass civil rights legislation in the ’60s.
All that changed with Nixon’s Southern Strategy to attract the then-Democratic, southern, white segregationists into the Republican camp. Ronald Reagan continued the strategy by kicking off his 1980 presidential campaign in Philadelphia, Mississippi, where three young civil-rights workers were murdered by the Klan in 1964. Reagan also talked endlessly about black welfare queens driving Cadillacs. Poppy Bush’s infamous Willie Horton ad attracted support from racists.
Then there’s Trump, who after after years of pushing birtherism against Obama, blasted invading Mexicans, who he said rape and rob and kill “real” Americans — meaning white victims.
I can only conclude that racism in the Republican Party is not a bug but a deliberately manufactured and cultivated feature.
It is ugly. It is divisive.
It may be the only way Republicans can win national elections. That plus gerrymandering, voter suppression and extreme judges.
That’s shameful and may kill democracy itself.
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