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White Nationalist Bookclub? Steve King Recommends Reading Steve Bannon’s Favorite Racist Novel

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Yesterday, Steve King continued to demonstrate his overtly white nationalist worldview and offered reminders why Republicans’ refusal to disavow King is a stain on the party of Lincoln.

Steve King advocates for shockingly racist novel

On a conservative radio show yesterday, Rep. King laid out a zero-sum game view of race and America, noting that blacks and Hispanics “will be fighting each other” before overtaking whites in population. King concluded the radio appearance by recommending that listeners read the book “The Camp of the Saints” – he shockingly racist French novel that Steve Bannon cites approvingly and that depicts hordes of migrants destroying Western Civilization

For a recap of “The Camp of the Saints” see this summary by the Southern Poverty Law Center. For a recent HuffPost story on Steve Bannon’s embrace of the book, see here.

Rep. King’s latest revealing comments on race once again underscore why it matters that those sharing his worldview are now in power, as a new editorial from the New York Times and column from conservative writer Max Boot remind us. See below for key excerpts:

A blistering New York Times editorial, entitled “Into the Void with Steve King,” recaps why Steve King’s comments, and the ascendant white nationalist worldview they represent, matter:

Mr. King has been at this for years. He has proposed an electrified border fence, to shock migrants like cattle. He said young immigrants have calves like cantaloupes, from hauling marijuana over the border. His foreign babies tweet is more of the same: doomsaying with a side of hate.

It’s also a dot. The dots have been piling up. There are so many, they are starting to connect themselves. The picture is of a Republican president waging a toxic campaign of ethnocentrism and xenophobia, based on the lie that foreign hordes threaten our existence. The lie emboldens extremists like Mr. King and taints the entire G.O.P. Mr. King has long been a leader of the “hell no” caucus, a handful of far-right House Republicans who trolled Congress over immigration reform. They couldn’t remake the system on their own, but during the George W. Bush and Barack Obama years, with the collusion of congressional leaders, they shut down everyone else’s attempts to fix it.

Now Donald Trump is in power, and Mr. King is enjoying a moment of ideological solidarity. A few in his party have condemned his latest rant, but most Republicans and the White House have been silent. Mr. King’s worldview harmonizes nicely with that of Mr. Trump and the architects of his anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim policies, Steve Bannon and Stephen Miller, and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who was among the hardest of Senate immigration hard-liners. Together they are pushing an old nativists’ dream: a “self-deportation” strategy, also called “attrition through enforcement,” which envisions making America whiter by making life intolerable for nonwhite unauthorized immigrants. Their antipathy to foreigners is broad, attaching not only to those here illegally but also to refugees, asylum seekers, even students and guest workers.

…Meanwhile, the damage is piling up. Bomb threats terrorize mosques and synagogues; vandals attack Jewish cemeteries; confused racists attack South Asians. In these conditions, hate effloresces. In the United States, intolerance is in full breakout. That is why Mr. King — and his journey from the fringe — matters.

Writing for Foreign Policy, conservative Max Boot assesses Steve King’s comments and their implications in a piece titled, “The GOP Is America’s Party of White Nationalism”:

…This is how the Bannons and Kings view the modern world: The West is threatened by hordes of swarthy outsiders, especially Mexicans and Muslims, and they are lonely defenders of the white Christian race against this insidious threat. There is no evidence that Trump has given this matter as much thought as they have, but, based on his public pronouncements, he has reached similar conclusions. That helps to explain why the administration is building a border wall, expanding deportations, and trying to keep out citizens of as many Muslim countries as possible. This isn’t about fighting terrorism or crime; it’s about fighting changing demographics. And it’s premised on an unspoken assumption that only white Christians are true Americans; all others are ‘somebody else.’

This is ugly stuff. It is directly at odds with the way the Founding Fathers defined our country — as a nation bound together not by common blood but by common ideals. They thought it ‘self-evident’ that ‘all men are created equal.’ Of course that vision was always contested; even the Constitution initially enshrined slavery and throughout our history organizations such as the Know-Nothings, the Ku Klux Klan, and the America Firsters have anathematized racial, ethnic, and religious minorities. (Ironically, Catholics like Bannon and King were often victims of discrimination in the past.)

…The Bannons and Kings appear intent, with Trump’s help, on undoing much of that progress toward a more inclusive society. They are pursuing a vision they share with foreign far-right leaders such as Wilders and Marine Le Pen. They want to turn the Republican Party into a ‘blood and soil’ nationalist party and the United States into a white-supremacist stronghold.

…As the Des Moines Register notes, the Republican establishment in Iowa has supported King for re-election in the past and will likely do so again in 2018. The de facto acceptance of King as a mainstream Republican speaks volumes about what the Republican Party is becoming — and how far removed it is from Reagan’s vision of a borderless world and the ‘brotherhood of man.’