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Rancher Cliven Bundy gestures at his home in Bunkerville, Nevada April 12, 2014. U.S. officials ended a stand-off with hundreds of armed protesters in the Nevada desert on Saturday, calling off the government's roundup of cattle it said were illegally gra
The GOP's most recent grassroots hero
It would be funny if it weren't so disturbing. Republicans, their propagandists and their enablers have been whining about Republicans being called on their racism. Which was particularly revealing in the context of attempting to defend having accused President Obama of racism. All of which was the opening act to Republicans falling all over themselves in gushing support of a locked and loaded, ostensibly anti-government deadbeat social welfare recipient, who just shockingly—shockingly!— turned out to be a frothing racist.

Now, to be clear, as DCCC Chair Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY) recently graciously admitted, not all Republicans are racists. But Republicans do continue to pursue racist political policies. And Republican leaders do have a problem confronting the overt racism festering within their party. And Republicans do continue to make systematic efforts to prevent black people from voting. Whether it's using the zombie lie of voter fraud as an excuse to legislate disenfranchisement or the Republican-appointed Supreme Court majority gutting the Voting Rights Act to make it easier to legislate disenfranchisement or whether it's straight up voter intimidation, Republicans use every available means to try to prevent African Americans from participating in representative government. Republicans use every excuse to prevent immigrants from becoming citizens.

But this is about so much more than policy. It's about who these people are. It's about values. It's about projecting their own lack of humanity on others, and attempting to use their historical and institutional privileges to enforce it. No matter their excuses for their racist policy positions, they reveal themselves by their repetitive habit of what too often are excused as verbal gaffes, too often excused with half-assed apologies and almost always excused as isolated incidents that are emblematic of nothing. But they are not isolated instances. They are part of a repetitive pattern. They keep happening. And they reveal the real animus behind the policy positions that do not but coincidentally hurt minorities.

Join me over the fold for more. Much, much more.

Not all Republicans are racists, but what follows is but a brief recap exposing some who are. Not all Republicans are racists, but not all Republicans who are racists are as clumsily overt or politically inept as those in these examples. Not all Republicans are racists, but the party is permeated with racists, it is saturated with racists. Its racist policies must be read in the context of that saturation.

This list could go on. No doubt, many readers could offer their own additions. And this behavior will go on. It has gone on. As I wrote just three months into the Obama presidency:

They hated President Clinton, and tried to destroy him. But one of their elected governors didn't talk secession. They didn't talk revolution. They didn't attempt (and miserably fail) to launch nationwide protests against him. Bill Clinton was a lot of things. He was not black.
Which I had to update, because even as I was posting it, the Georgia State Senate, by near unanimous vote, was threatening to secede. But this is the modern history of the Republican Party, from its greatest supposed heroes on down. As I wrote in 2010, this behavior is neither accident nor coincidence, it is a design feature:
Nixon's Southern Strategy was designed to capitalize on the evolving loyalties of racists, and segregationist George Wallace ran for the American Independent Party and won five southern states in the 1968 presidential election; still, changes in party affiliation continued to lag. Reagan cynically and despicably launched his 1980 campaign by invoking "states' rights" in racist fire zone Philadelphia, Mississippi. That helped his party quite a bit, as more and more conservative Southerners finally made the switch. In the 1988 presidential election, the kinder, gentler Poppy Bush nakedly race baited his way to victory. The last major wave came early in the Clinton administration. After that, the transformation was largely complete. Some may not remember, but modern Republican stalwarts Phil Gramm and Richard Shelby first went to Washington as Democrats. They always belonged in the Republican Party, but it had been very hard for some Southern conservatives to make that leap. No longer.

The increasing polarization of the political parties has been a long time developing. In some ways, it has been a natural realignment along ideological grounds that was forestalled only by the bitter vindictiveness of Southern racists, including those who like to pretend that their bitter vindictiveness isn't about racism. But it is. And the now obviously racist undercurrent of so much modern Republican politics and right wing media should not be a surprise. Racism is not incidental to the modern conservative movement. It has been one of its defining characteristics.

In a nation with shifting racial demographics, the Republican strategy wasn't the smartest, and the moral vacuity is now revealing itself in the ever more desperate Republican drive to the extremes, but the process wasn't accidental. This is the political grave the Republicans have dug themselves. They and their enablers in the traditional media can and will do all they can to distract from the truth, but the history is there. The facts are there. The rabid anger of a disintegrating demographic is proof of its desperation. And it is every bit as desperate as it is rabidly angry. Certainly not all Republicans are racists, but the Republican Party deliberately exploited and exacerbated racial tensions for political gain for decades. Those Republicans now being shoved to the party's new margins have no standing to complain. Where were they when they and their party were benefitting from the extremism that now is taking control of their party? Where was their sense of civic duty and basic morality? In the short term, politics can take strange turns, but in the long term the Republican Party's decades of embracing racists has doomed it. Hoist on its own political petard, the current Republican Party is experiencing the unintentional consequence of its intentionally debased design.

It cannot be rationalized or excused. It cannot be dismissed as mere partisan sniping. The record is long and the record is clear. It will continue. This is the shadow that speaks to the real motives behind Republican policies. The racism at the core of the Republican agenda is neither accident nor coincidence. If the Republicans and their propagandists and their apologists genuinely want people to stop calling Republicans racists, whining and denying won't succeed. If the Republicans and their propagandists and their apologists genuinely want people to stop calling Republicans racists, the Republicans need to stop being racists.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Sun Apr 27, 2014 at 07:20 AM PDT.

Also republished by Citizen Journalism, Boston Kossacks, Black Kos community, Barriers and Bridges, and White Privilege Working Group.

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