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Despite More and More Reminders, GOP Still Standing By Their Man
Each week offers new evidence that Donald Trump and his presidential campaign are mainstreaming odious ideas and memes promoted by white nationalists and neo-Nazis.
Beyond the lens of partisanship and the 2016 elections, this is a disturbing development for American politics and society. As Trump meets with Republicans on Capitol Hill today, GOP leaders and elected officials who stand by, instead of denouncing Trump, will be forever defined by their capitulation to a man who wants to take America in a dangerous direction.
Below, we highlight excerpts from recent commentaries of voices and observers reminding us that what is at stake in 2016 is much larger than which party will control the White House:
Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt Washington Postop-ed, “Trump Must Reject Racists’ Support”: “The fact that these individuals have used the Trump phenomenon to spread their bigotry is not a thing of Trump’s own creation; these racists and anti-Semites surely existed before Trump ever announced his candidacy. But the campaign’s repeated flirtation with these elements — retweeting their content and quoting their heroes — has helped to mainstream their ideas … this mainstreaming of hate threatens to undermine the social progress of the postwar era … Opposing the hate coming out of the Trump campaign or its supporters isn’t a liberal or conservative issue. It’s an American issue … We must not write this off as ‘politics as usual’ because it isn’t. We must make our voices heard and use our collective power to condemn anyone who traffics in this bigotry. Doing that is the only way we can show them and the world what really makes America great.”
Republican strategist Rick Wilson, during interview on MSNBC’s“All In with Chris Hayes”: “Donald Trump understands who these people are. I`ve come to believe that, as I said in the piece, it`s not a bug, it`s a feature. This is a guy who understands that the center of his play is this deeply resentful, edge case group of people who really believe that the Jews control the world and that this is – that white nationalism is the future of American politics … This is a guy where racism is baked in the cake … So good job Reince, good job everybody else who has endorsed this guy, because you`re going to get the stink of his continued flirtation with the scuzzier parts of the anti-Semitic internet and the racist internet all over you.”
Former Republican Senator Norm Coleman (R-MN) StarTribune op-ed, “I Will Never Vote for Donald Trump”: “I also won’t vote for Donald Trump because of who he is. A bigot. A misogynist. A fraud. A bully … And any man who declines to renounce the affections of the KKK and David Duke should not be trusted to lead America. Ever … It is said that our leaders are a reflection of who we are. If we believe that, then people like Donald Trump will fall. If not, then people like Donald Trump will rise up, and like every fascist before them, will lead a nation to its doom.”
Slatechief political correspondent Jamelle Bouie, “Our Political Culture Doesn’t Know What to Do With Trump’s Explicit Prejudice”: “This is how ideas and symbols that were once considered beyond the pale become less so. They leave the realm of taboo and enter the world of partisan combat, where ethics and meaning are a function of tribal identity. People who wouldn’t have backed this rhetoric now defend it. And even those who don’t, like House Speaker Paul Ryan, decline to change their political commitments. In short order, the boundaries of political speech expand to include outright bigotry. Right now, Trump is showing his dedicated following of white supremacists that you can deny the humanity of other people and still thrive in mainstream politics. If this all feels dangerous—like the beginning of a new, more frightening kind of politics—that’s because it is.”