It took corporate America about four years to get the subtext of Donald Trump’s birtherism.
But when he decided to use his announcement that he was running for president to reveal his belief that immigrants are criminals and rapists, Madison Avenue was forced to recognize that they probably shouldn’t be tolerating a guy whose comments would get him kicked out of a group home — even if he is a billionaire of some sort.
One group that has suddenly realized that they had a lot more in common with Trump than they imagined is white supremacists.
WARNING: This is about to get really gross, really fast.
Genuine conservatives are fending off attacks from Trump’s very pro-white fans who label their opponents “cuckservatives,” which Buzzfeed‘s Joseph Bernstein describes as “portmanteau” of “cuckold,” a hard core porn genre in which “passive white husbands watch their wives have sex with black men,” and “conservative,” a soft core porn genre where people vote against their own interests.
Looking into the actual history of the term shows it has nothing to do with “sell outs” and everything to do with race. Specifically white supremacy. Gregory Hood at American Renaissance writes “cuckservatives” advocate positions which really humiliate them and whites (emphasis mine).
Republicans have long trafficked in color-blind tropes that seek to reverse the gains of the civil rights movements and label all government good as welfare that only helps “them.” Being confronted by the dredges of the Internet and the flies Trump’s sort of rhetoric attracts terrifies even them — especially because they see Trump as a leftist in disguise.
(The Donald’s beliefs are difficult to parse because he doesn’t seem to have an actual beliefs, which makes him the perfect blank canvas for those who believe that government should reflect their animosity toward their fellow Americans.)
Republicans like to point out that their representatives voted for the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in larger percentages than Democrats, who delivered most of the votes along with the signature of president. This is because the vote was largely regional. Southerners generally opposed civil rights the way they opposed Reconstruction. And just as Republicans paid a cost for being identified as the party of black people in the late 19th century, Democrats saw the end of their national majority before the end of the 20th century.
Demographics are now shifting rapidly and the Republican Party is adapting by going into a tailspin the way the California GOP did in the mid-90s. Governor Pete Wilson successfully used anti-immigrant fervor to win in 1994 and two-decades later, his state party mostly survives only in places it has been permitted to by gerrymandering.
Can Republicans turn 2016 into 1994 by nominating Trump and winning one last one for xenophobia? Maybe.
But there is truly a divide that must be bridged to unite this Republican Party.
When Mike Huckabee compares Obama to Hitler, he’s hitting a chord that resonates with the larger Republican Party — though not much of America or its Jews. But unabashed White Supremacists, you may be surprised to learn, aren’t huge fans of Israel. They rather prefer Adolf Hitler’s work to Golda Meir’s.
No one can say for sure how large this racist block for Trump actually is, or if they’re just trolling the Republican Party. But this isn’t the sort of discussion you want to be having when you’re gearing up to pull off the sort of “miracle with minorities” Republicans will probably need to win.
Trump’s rhetoric only differs from most Republicans in degrees. While he suggests all undocumented immigrants are criminals, Rick Perry offers a more conservative 80 percent. And the party at large now backs mass deportations of 11 million people, because nothing says smaller government like round-ups and trains filled with human cargo.
Whether they back Hitler or think Obama is Hitler, the Republican Party is catering to extremes. And, if there isn’t a huge cost to this sort of behavior, that’s an indictment not of conservatism but the American electorate.
[Image by Marc Nozell | Flickr]