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Leading Voices Capture the Fear Mongering and Racism That’s Now a Feature of the Republican Party

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The contrast between the two parties is on full display last week and this week. Republicans view America as a fearful nation in decline who are threatened by “the other.” Meanwhile, the Democrats, as evidenced by the roll out of Tim Kaine in Miami on Saturday and the lineup of speakers for the convention, view America as diverse nation working to extend equal opportunity to all, regardless of background.

See below for how leading observers characterize the GOP’s descent into gloom, doom, fear mongering and bigotry:

Henry Fernandez at Salon, “Trump’s killed the GOP: He erased covert racism from the party’s platform — by being overtly racist

No longer will the GOP be able to keep race-motivated voters in line by offering dog-whistle racism while forcing them to swallow economic policies that do nothing to benefit them.  Trump has shown a way forward for himself and other candidates who will embrace economic populism and much more direct racially biased appeals.

…Candidates now know they can win Republican primaries by appealing to this dominant constituency, so we will soon find candidates at all levels acting a lot more like Trump. Economic populism and outright racism will forever more trump trickle-down economics and dog whistles. Before it dies, the Modern Republican Party will shrink, wither, and almost certainly become uglier.

Washington Post Editorial Board, “Clinton should offer a stark contrast from the GOP’s dystopian vision

…Mr. Trump and the Republicans drew a dark portrait of an American dystopia, a blasted land paralyzed by violent crime, terrorism, killings of police, out-of-control illegal immigration and a ‘rigged’ political system. It is, as we have said, a story that draws on painful disruption in parts of our society. But in whole and in detail, it is a lie … Ms. Clinton should recognize in her convention speech the very real pain some Americans are suffering…But she also should speak truthfully about the generally peaceful and prosperous country she is seeking to govern. It remains, as she said Friday, “the strongest, best-positioned country in the world for the 21st century.” It is not, as Mr. Trump insists, “a hellhole” — and it is not in need of a strongman.

EJ Dionne at Washington Post “Can hope trump fear in Philadelphia?”:

Donald Trump’s nomination at a dark and angry convention in Cleveland and his acceptance speech embracing a racially tinged authoritarian nationalism open up a wealth of opportunities for Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

… Accentuating the positive will also be important because Trump has bet his candidacy on his ability to persuade a sufficient share of the electorate that the nation really is in the midst of a catastrophic crisis.

Here is where the minority of Americans who pay close attention to both conventions will suffer from an acute case of whiplash: Democrats will not only be arguing that Clinton offers a better future; they will be vigorously defending President Obama’s legacy.

… Clinton has to cut through the static surrounding her to persuade those whom Trump is wooing with the politics of fear that she and her party still offer a credible politics of hope.

Julia Preston at the New York Times, “For Trump, an America That Is Not a Nation of Nations

Using even darker language than he had on the campaign trail, Mr. Trump did not include even a boilerplate mention of positive contributions by immigrants. He described foreigners who came to the United States illegally and became killers of American citizens and drug dealers … Under his presidency, the American dream would be primarily reserved for Americans … Historians and legal scholars struggled to recall when a presidential candidate had departed so radically from the traditional view that America’s welcome for immigrants was a prime reason for its exceptional innovation and prosperity. Not since the restrictionist movements in the early 20th century has a leading politician tried to galvanize Americans with such an unalloyed nativist message.

Michael Cohen at the Guardian, “Trump’s vision of America is ugly and dark. Clinton should respond with hope” :

Trump’s vision of America, as expressed in Cleveland, and bolstered by all those who spoke before him, is not hopeful or optimistic. It’s a dark, bleak, foreboding place riven by chaos and lawlessness. It’s a land in which illegal immigrants walk the streets intent on snuffing out the lives of hard-working, God-fearing Americans.

…This race is now about something greater than her [Clinton’s] pursuit of the presidency. It is about destroying the sickness of Trumpism. Every American, whether they love or hate Trump, is sullied by his rise to power. The question now is: what are we going to do about it?

Maureen Dowd at the New York Times, “Donald Trump’s Disturbia”:

Like any masterly comic book villain, Donald Trump is reveling in conjuring a dystopia …Trump told the crowd that he was presenting the facts “plainly and honestly.” But his dystopia is fueled by diss-information and diss-tortion, insulting rivals with disturbing exaggerated and cherry-picked facts and unsubstantiated assertions and conspiracies … Nothing should be remarkable with Trump anymore. But it was still remarkable to see him the morning after his balloon-drop coronation as head of the Republican Party return to trolling Ted Cruz. There’s a dissonance in his bleak dystopia and his brash diss-topia as he switches from Dr. Strangelove to Don Rickles. 

Alex Vitale and Alan Aja at The Nation, “ White-Supremacist David Duke’s New Senate Campaign Fits a Pattern

Trump’s appeals to “one America” and “law and order” are opening a Pandora’s box of racism and xenophobia, neither of which is truly unprecedented in American politics. Republican leaders and the American public have to decide if they are going to embrace a politics of hate by joining the “Trump fall” or repudiate the politics of racism and fearmongering.