James Alex Fields Jr., a 20-year old from Maumee, Ohio in classic ISIS fashion, is reported to have run his car into a crowd of people in Charlottesville, Virginia, killing a women and injuring 19 others. He had previously been marching with “Vanguard America,” a White supremacist group that took to the streets of the city and the University of Virginia campus along with other Neo-Nazi and KKK groups “to unite the right” and “take America back.”
It is fair to say that this image is becoming the face of the Republican Party, the result of a process that began when Richard Nixon’s Southern Strategy inherited Jim Crow as part of a deal to realign the Dixiecrats’ political preference. Since then, Republican presidents like Reagan and Bush had to disavow the support of organizations like the Ku Klux Klan in part to counter the assumption that the Party represented their views too.
Last Saturday, the face of political and cultural bigotry in the Republican Party came into focus. On one side is Fields who is accused of murder and mayhem, and on the other, President Trump who has so far refused to call this radical Christian White supremacists groups terrorists organizations in the same way he called out the radical Islamic groups across the world.
Senator Cory Gardner was one of the first to define these groups as “evil” and called on President Trump to do the same. But even Gardner, who represents a purple state that watches very carefully what he says and does, could not bring himself to take the President to task for not doing so and instead sort of pleaded for Trump to call these terrorists what they are.
In the middle 60’s President Lyndon Johnson was in the process of leading the passage of the Great Society and its civil rights agenda at the same time that the murder of civil rights workers continued with a level of impunity in the South that not even the FBI could control. Also, the legislation did not sit well for the revolting Southern Democrats and hasten their departure to the Republican Party.
President Johnson’s agenda along with the African American and the Chicano Movements of the 60’s and 70’s caused alarm in the Republican ranks and led to a state-by-state gerrymandering focus to stay in power resulting in a vast map of red state countryside with blue urban areas. That however, is no longer enough as a demographic shift projects a loss of the White majority in less than 40 years.
Apparently, White nationalists groups, enabled by President Trump, are moving with Jihadist abandon to take up the cause of maintaining power and feel emboldened to resort to militia-type intimidating and terrorist activities to “unite the right.” David Duke, the Klan leader, also said that they are about the “fulfillment of Trump promise.”
Republicans are coming out of the woodwork to condemn the White nationalists and terrorists as they should. But their party leader does not.
It appears that Donald Trump not only highjacked the Republican Party but also had his henchmen create havoc with its ideals. He has also been denigrating the Republican political leadership as if to say that the Party no longer belongs to them or their philosophy.
Rhetoric is no longer enough as it is the time for the true believers of what the Republican Party is to stand up and do the right thing. It is sobering to think that their immediate task is to take the Party back.