Opinion | GOP fights to preserve white America | II
December 20, 2019
When the Republican Party rebranded as the “party of fiscal responsibility,” social conservatives believed the “family values” GOP was dead. The party would focus on tax reform and curbing government spending and would forget about issues like abortion and legalized gay marriage.
Today, GOP legislative priorities no longer indicate they are the party that once championed fiscal responsibility. Their tolerance of the president evinces they no longer are the Reagan party of family values. This begs the question, “What does the modern Republican Party hope to accomplish?” Although the preface may have put the cart before the horse, it is clear: The modern GOP seeks to stop American demographic change.
The language was once subtle. Small things, like memorializing the Confederate flag or refusing to condemn white supremacists, served as dog whistles suggesting the party may be prioritizing the goals of white America over other groups. But during the era of Trumpism and hyperpartisanship, this messaging has become far more overt.
Fox News hosts with powerful platforms slowly leaned into anti-diversity rhetoric. It began with Bill O’Reilly, who would casually make problematic comments like slaves who built the White House were treated well; that a black guest looked like a cocaine dealer or sharing his surprise upon witnessing that a black restaurant was not chaotic, but was well-mannered like “an Italian restaurant in an all-white suburb.” His show, once the most popular program on cable, would embody a more subdued version of “other” resentment.
In his absence, the network’s popular hosts have evolved his brand of racism with a new, more xenophobic bent. This new style is far more blunt and succinct.
Laura Ingraham rightfully faced pushback for airing a segment regarding how massive demographic change, through legal and illegal immigration, has perverted America. Tucker Carlson aired a segment begging the rhetorical question, “how is diversity a strength?” Sean Hannity has continually defended the President and his supporters, even when that requires defending the “send her back” chants about a American-born Muslim Congresswoman or silence on Charlottesville.
Fox News hosts are not the same thing as Republican operatives, but when they run in the same social circles, endorse the same values and appeal to the same audiences, it is safe to say they personify the attitudes of the new American right.
The White House employs a similar amount of troublesome personalities. Sebastian Gorka, Deputy Assistant to the President, has been accused of being a Nazi sympathizer due to his sympathy for far-right European groups harboring similar views as the Nazi party and his fashion accessories that originate from a Hungarian subgroup of the Nazi party.
Despite circumstantial connections to Nazism, he is not the White House’s most controversial figure. Stephen Miller, senior adviser to the president who is responsible for crafting much of the administration’s immigration policy, harbors views that are blatantly anti-immigrant. Numerous stories regarding Miller connect him to a white nationalist agenda and an alt-right ideology.
Or perhaps the most chauvinistic character in the White House is the Commander-in-Chief himself. The founder of birtherism, who launched his presidential campaign with colorful language on Mexicans, has a track record of demonstrating disdain for non-white Americans.
From allegedly characterizing Haiti and African nations as “shithole countries” to supporting the death penalty for the all-black Central Park Five, exonerated by DNA evidence, Trump has demonstrated a very robust social-dominance orientation.
But if the results are truly what matters and not rhetoric, as some of the President’s allies proclaim, the argument only grows stronger. First the party attempted to mitigate illegal immigration based on bunk crime statistics.
Then Steven Miller and the rest of the administration worked tirelessly to dismantle the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, better known as DACA. Today, the administration strives to slow down legal immigration and prevent the very demographic change it so clearly fears.
And it is not just the administration. The party’s systemic disenfranchisement, including racial gerrymandering, voter ID laws and voting to reject the reinstatement of key parts of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, has specifically targeted minorities. One court even ruled that the North Carolina GOP gerrymandered maps “targeted African Americans with surgical precision.”
The consequence of a ruling party using more overt anti-immigrant rhetoric is that these ideas have been integrated into the political mainstream. A political environment in which Tucker Carlson feels secure criticizing American diversity is a toxic one. America has never fully engaged the “melting pot” ideal properly, however, it is probably time the founders’ dream was realized.
Please GOP, for the sake of the country, return to the party of “fiscal responsibility.”
Andrew is a sophomore in LAS.