The Republican Party has a major problem and it is not Donald Trump. He is a symptom of the problem. His successful candidacy to date is telling. The problem is rampant racism and xenophobia. Trump has been demonizing Mexicans, Muslims and immigrants in his campaign speeches and favorably retweeting comments by neo-Nazis. Although he disavowed an endorsement last week by David Duke, a Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Clan (KKK), he did not disavow an endorsement by the organization. Instead, he claimed that he did not know anything about it and would have to do some research before deciding what to do about the endorsement.
Trump’s derogatory comments elicit thundering cheers rather than boos. This feature of his campaign speeches reminds me of Adolph Hitler who rose to power in Germany in the early 1930s by demonizing Jews and minorities. The formula is simple. Blame the nation’s troubles on a minority group and promise to solve the problem by rooting out its cause. Hitler rounded up 6 million Jews, confined them in concentration camps, and externinated them in gas chambers. Trump has promised to round up 11 million illegal Mexican immigrants and deport them.
Encouraged by Richard Nixon in the early 1970s, the Republicans embraced southern racist democrats outraged by the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights act of 1965 and the SCOTUS decision in Brown v. Board of Education to desegregate public schools. Over time the racists morphed into the Tea Party and took over the Republican Party. Then they commenced a great cleansing of the party by requiring Republican candidates to sign a loyalty oath adhering to Republican principles opposing abortion and same sex marriage.
Today’s Republican Party represents right wing extremist views and we see those views expressed enthusiastically at every Trump campaign appearance. This is frightening.
Mitt Romney spoke out against Trump yesterday afternoon urging Republicans not to support him. He warned Republicans to vote for other Republican candidates. Unfortunately, that suggestion would only treat the symptom, not the disease.