Can Republicans Still Win as the Party of Straight-Up Racism?

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.

The RNC created—and Donald Trump pinned to the top of his Twitter feed—an appallingly racist ad today that accuses Democrats of “letting in” Luis Bracamontes, a man who killed two Northern California deputies four years ago while in the country illegally. It’s widely viewed as Willie Horton 2.0, except maybe worse. So have any elected Republican officials denounced it? So far, I can find three:

  • Sen. Jeff Flake
  • Rep. Mike Coffman
  • Gov. John Kasich

Don’t @ me if I got this wrong. Maybe there are four! Or even five!

The level of desperation this shows is palpable. Trump and the Republican Party keep pulling the race lever harder and harder, but it’s not working. Trump went from 800 troops at the border to 5,000 troops to 15,000 troops. He called the migrant caravan a thousand miles away an “invasion.” He claims he’s going to end birthright citizenship even though he knows perfectly well it’s part of the Constitution and he can’t do it. The New York Times describes what’s happening:

If the 2016 election hinged in large part on a rightward shift among working-class whites who deserted Democrats in the presidential race, Tuesday’s House election may turn on an equally significant and opposite force: a generational break with Republicanism among educated, wealthier whites — especially women — who generally like the party’s pro-business policies but recoil from strident, divisive language on race and gender.

Rather than seeking to coax voters like these back into the Republican coalition, Mr. Trump appears to have all but written them off, spending the final days of the campaign delivering a scorching message about preoccupations like birthright citizenship and a migrant “invasion” from Mexico that these voters see through as alarmist.

These aren’t dog whistles anymore, they’re just straight-up racist messages that are aimed directly at Trump’s working-class white base. And that’s Trump’s problem. He’s now had to turn the volume up so far that even the center-right suburban voters who held their noses and voted for him in 2016 can’t do it anymore. They can’t pretend they don’t see it. And because no one in the Republican Party dares to criticize Trump, he’s dragging the whole party down with him. Republicans are now the party of white racism, full stop.

Sadly, they’re still going to get a lot of votes. But common decency, which took a vacation in 2016, is finally going to win on Tuesday. Trump is making sure of it.

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate