It’s almost as if Trump is determined to destroy the Republican Party

Let me summarize the Republican platform for the coming election:

  • We are the party of white racial grievance. We believe
  • those marching in Black Lives Matter protests are “thugs.”
  • We see the term “systemic racism” as an unfair attack on white people.
  • We support keeping Confederate monuments on their pedestals, and
  • we have no idea why anyone would consider Confederate flags a problem.
  • We are equal-opportunity racists.
  • We see Latino immigrants as “bad hombres.” And
  • we believe that using the racist term “kung flu” to describe covid-19 is hilarious, not least because
  • we are convinced the covid-19 pandemic is basically over, anyway.
  • Who cares what pointy-headed “experts” might say — we know in our hearts that patriotic Americans don’t wear masks.

Those are some of the views Republicans endorse by uncritically embracing and supporting President Trump. He is leading his party down a sewer of unabashed racism and willful ignorance, and all who follow him — and I mean all — deserve to feel the mighty wrath of voters in November.

I’m talking to you, Sen.

  • Susan Collins of Maine. And you, Sen.
  • Cory Gardner of Colorado. And you, Sens.
  • Thom Tillis of North Carolina,
  • Martha McSally of Arizona,
  • Joni Ernst of Iowa,
  • Steve Daines of Montana,
  • Kelly Loeffler of Georgia and
  • John Cornyn of Texas.

And while those of you in deep-red states whose reelection ordinarily would be seen as a mere formality may not see the giant millstones you’ve hung around your necks as a real risk, think again. Sen. Lindsey O. Graham of South Carolina and even Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, you should look at the numbers and realize you are putting your Senate seats — and the slim GOP majority — in dire jeopardy.

You can run and hide from reporters asking you about Trump’s latest statements or tweets. You can pretend not to hear shouted questions as you hurry down Capitol hallways. You can take out your cellphones and feign being engrossed in a terribly important call. Ultimately, you’re going to have to answer to voters — and in the meantime you have decided to let Trump speak for you. Best of luck with that.

It is not really surprising that Trump, with his poll numbers falling and his reelection in serious jeopardy, would decide to use race and public health as wedge issues to inflame his loyal base. That’s all he knows how to do.

Most politicians would see plunging poll numbers as a warning to try a different approach; Trump takes them as a sign to do more of the same — more race-baiting, more authoritarian “law and order” posturing, more see-no-evil denial of a raging pandemic that has cost more than 120,000 American lives.

Racism is a feature of the Trump shtick, not a bug. He sees the nationwide protests sparked by the killing of George Floyd as an opportunity not for healing and reform, but to stir anger and resentment among his overwhelmingly white voting base. Trump wants no part of the reckoning with history the country seems to crave.

This week, city officials in Charleston, S.C. — the place where the Civil War began — took down a statue of John C. Calhoun, a leading 19th-century politician and fierce defender of slavery, from its 115-foot column in Marion Square and hauled it away to a warehouse. Also this week, Trump reportedly demanded that the District’s monument to Confederate Gen. Albert Pike, toppled last week by protesters, be cleaned up and reinstalled exactly as it was.

Trump went to Arizona not just to falsely claim great progress on building his promised border wall, intended to keep out the “hombres,” but also to delight fervent young supporters by referring to covid-19 as “kung flu.” Weeks ago, Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway said that racist term was clearly offensive and unacceptable. But since Trump has made it into a red-meat applause line, Conway now apparently thinks it’s a perfectly legitimate way to identify the virus’s country of origin.

All the other Republicans who fail to speak up while Trump runs the most nakedly racist presidential campaign since George Wallace in 1968 shouldn’t kid themselves. Their silence amounts to agreement. Perhaps there’s enough white bitterness out there to carry the Republican Party to another narrow win. But that’s not what the polls say.

Trump’s antics are self-defeating. He’ll put on a racist show for a shrinking audience, but he won’t wear the masks that could allow the economic reopening he desperately wants. He may be able to avoid reality, but the Republican governors — including Greg Abbott of Texas and Ron DeSantis of Florida — scrambling desperately to contain new outbreaks cannot.

It’s almost as though Trump is determined to destroy the Republican Party. Let’s give him his wish.

Here’s the best thing the media can do when reporting on ‘antifa’

Right-wing extremists committed 74 percent of the 372 politically motivated murders recorded in the United States between 2007 and 2016. Left-wing extremists committed less than 2 percent.

 .. Meanwhile, one white supremacist and Ku Klux Klan leader, Chris Barker, said last month that his movement would destroy immigrants: “We killed 6 million Jews the last time. Eleven million is nothing.” As Paul Blest wrote in the Outline, “To pretend that the alt-right and Antifa are comparable is like equating the danger of playing Russian roulette with taking a walk.”
.. “Who is the Corey Stewart of antifa?” (Stewart is the Virginia politician who unfurled Confederate flags at rallies as he ran unsuccessfully in the recent Republican primary for governor and who says he will challenge Sen. Tim Kaine next year.)
.. There certainly was no question that the alt-right had political ties — at the highest level. Stephen K. Bannon, the chairman of Breitbart News, who would would become Trump’s chief strategist, once described his news organization as the “platform for the alt-right.”
.. The best thing journalists can do is to relentlessly explain the beliefs, scope and scale of antifa, and to resist conflating it with liberal groups

Trump, Neo-Nazis and the Klan

He did not come to the White House with any moral authority. And unlike some other presidents, such as J.F.K. and Ronald Reagan, he did not embody our aspirations.

He was simply a rough instrument to smash the capital. Republican nihilism and Democratic neglect and arrogance had bred a virulent strain of nihilism in the electorate. Many voters wanted to tear down the house.

There will be a lot of pain while this president is in office and the clock will turn back on many things. But we will come out stronger, once this last shriek of white supremacy and grievance and fear of the future is out of the system. Every day, President Trump teaches us what values we cherish — and they’re the opposite of his.

.. When Trump buoyed the Ku Klux Klan and the neo-Nazis who had marched in Charlottesville with Tiki torches, Confederate flags, Nazi slogans, swastikas and banners reading “Jews will not replace us” — even as one of their leaders told a Vice News reporter how disgusting it was that Trump’s “beautiful” blond daughter was married to a Jewish man— the president made it clear which category he is in.

.. For all the things he thinks make him a tough guy — his macho posturing, his Twitter bullying, his swaggering and leering talk, his vulgar references to his anatomy — he’s no tough guy if he can’t stand up to the scum of the earth.

Steve Bannon, Controversial Aide to Trump, Leaves White House Staff

Chief strategist pushed president toward nationalist, populist agenda

President Donald Trump’s chief strategist Steve Bannon left his position Friday, the White House announced, as the newly minted Chief of Staff John Kelly sought to bring order to an administration riven by infighting and power struggles.

Mr. Bannon’s departure marks the fourth senior White House official to leave the president’s administration in the past five weeks, which has yet to see a major legislative victory despite serving with a Republican-controlled Congress.

..  Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement Friday, “White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and Steve Bannon have mutually agreed today would be Steve’s last day. We are grateful for his service and wish him the best.”

..  the breaking point came after liberal political magazine American Prospect published an extended interview in which he referred to white supremacist groups as “clowns,” said the president’s pro-business advisers were “wetting themselves” and—contrary to the president’s public positions—dismissed the potential for military action in North Korea.

.. Mr. Bannon’s allies said he didn’t intend his discussion with the American Prospect to be on the record.

 ..  Jared Kushner and his daughter Ivanka Trump. Both have played behind-the-scenes roles in important staff decisions in the past. For example, they believed Anthony Scaramucci’s hiring as communications director would help to force out then Chief of Staff Reince Priebus.
.. He texted and emailed with colleagues around the clock, and was known for his unkempt appearance and for dropping obscure quotes from John Wayne movies or ancient philosophers into casual conversation.
.. Breitbart has published such articles as “Hoist It High And Proud: The Confederate Flag Proclaims A Glorious Heritage.”
.. Inside the White House, Mr. Bannon had argued against issuing Monday’s “white supremacists” statement, telling the president that he would be criticized in the media for changing this position
.. Later in the week, Mr. Trump doubled down on another of his chief strategist’s recommendations: lamenting the removal of statues commemorating Confederate leaders by likening it to a whitewashing of American history.
..  there are deep concerns about the former Breitbart CEO’s ability to influence the administration from the outside
.. they worry about the president moving toward the political center without Mr. Bannon involved in policy fights
.. “I see New York Democrats and generals in ascendancy, and that is not what we ran on in 2016,” the person said. “So it worries me.”
..  Rep. Mark Meadows (R., N.C.) pushed back hard against the idea of getting rid of Mr. Bannon, according to a person familiar with the matter. Conservatives from the tea party movement have viewed him as a crucial link to the White House.

Trump Defends Confederate Statues in Wake of Charlottesville Violence

“Whatever personal qualities they might have had, Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee are known to history for one reason: and that is they lead the armies of the Confederate States of America,” said Melvin Ely, a history professor at William & Mary, in Williamsburg, Va.

Washington and Jefferson, for all their flaws, achieved many things in their careers which have proved crucial to the development of the United States as a democratic republic,” he said.

.. While defenders laud the statues as testaments to Southern bravery and memorials to lost lives, detractors consider them inseparable from the violent movement to fracture the U.S. and keep African-Americans in bondage.

 .. Many of these local decisions have followed acts of violence. In the aftermath of the Charleston, S.C., mass shooting in 2015, for example, Nikki Haley, the state’s governor at the time, helped lead a move to remove a Confederate flag from the state Capitol grounds.
.. Each state gets to display two statues to commemorate notable people. There are about 10 Confederate soldiers and politicians in the Capitol, including a statue of Lee, placed in the Statuary Hall collection by Virginia.
..Two great-great grandsons of Confederate Gen. Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson urged the mayor and monument commission to remove the statues in a letter Wednesday.

“Last weekend, Charlottesville showed us unequivocally that Confederate statues offer pre-existing iconography for racists,” wrote William Jackson Christian and Warren Edmund Christian.

“Confederate monuments like the Jackson statue were never intended as benign symbols,” they wrote. “Rather, they were the clearly articulated artwork of white supremacy.”

Trump Gives White Supremacists an Unequivocal Boost

President Trump buoyed the white nationalist movement on Tuesday as no president has done in generations — equating activists protesting racism with the neo-Nazis and white supremacists who rampaged in Charlottesville, Va., over the weekend

.. angrily asserting that so-called alt-left activists were just as responsible for the bloody confrontation as marchers brandishing swastikas, Confederate battle flags, anti-Semitic banners and “Trump/Pence” signs.

.. But members of the president’s staff, stunned and disheartened, said they never expected to hear such a voluble articulation of opinions that the president had long expressed in private. National Economic Council Chairman Gary Cohn and Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin, who are Jewish, stood by uncomfortably as the president exacerbated a controversy that has once again engulfed a White House in disarray.

.. And of the demonstrators who rallied on Friday night, some chanting racist and anti-Semitic slogans, he said, “You had a lot of people in that group that were there to innocently protest and very legally protest.”

Since the 1960s, Republican politicians have made muscular appeals to white voters, especially those in the South, on broad cultural grounds. But as a rule, they have taken a hard line on the party’s racist, nativist and anti-Semitic fringe. Ronald Reagan, George Bush and George W. Bush roundly condemned white supremacists.

.. In 1991, the first President Bush took on Mr. Duke, who was then seeking the governor’s seat in Louisiana, saying, “When someone has so recently endorsed Nazism, it is inconceivable that someone can reasonably aspire to a leadership role in a free society.”

.. But his unifying tone, which his staff characterized as more traditionally presidential, quickly gave way to a more familiar Trump approach.

No sooner had he delivered the Monday statement than he began railing privately to his staff about the press. He fumed to aides about how unfairly he was being treated, and expressed sympathy with nonviolent protesters who he said were defending their “heritage,” according to a West Wing official.

.. Mr. Trump prides himself on an unapologetic style he learned from his father Fred Trump, a New York City housing developer, and Roy Cohn, a combative lawyer who served as an aide to Senator Joseph McCarthy in the 1950s.

.. The president was about to revert to his initial, more defiant stance. As Mr. Trump approached the microphone in the lobby of Trump Tower on Tuesday, aides winced at the prospect of an unmediated president. With good reason.

.. the hiring of Mr. Kelly, who was to impose discipline on a chaotic West Wing.

.. He added that efforts by the president to equate the actions of the counter-protesters, however violent they may have been, with the neo-Nazis and the driver of the car that murdered a protester were “unacceptable.”

“There’s no moral equivalence,” Mr. Cantor said.