Mitt Romney said Donald Trump could engender “trickle-down bigotry” … but Trump is the GOP’s nominee precisely because the party’s bigotry has trickled up. (More)

“All these things are extraordinarily dangerous to the heart and character of America”

Romney tried to rebuke Trump in a CNN interview yesterday:

“I don’t want to see trickle-down racism. I don’t want to see a president of the United States saying things which change the character of the generations of Americans that are following. Presidents have an impact on the nature of our nation, and trickle-down racism, trickle-down bigotry, trickle-down misogyny, all these things are extraordinarily dangerous to the heart and character of America.”

It’s a self-excusing myth that implies most GOP leaders are not racist, bigoted, or misogynist.

Oh sure, a GOP-led House committee held hearings on birth control without letting any women testify. But that wasn’t misogyny; the hearing was about ‘religious freedom’ for employers.

Yes, Rep. Steve King (R-IA) said that for every immigrant valedictorian there are 100 with “calves the size of cantaloupes” from smuggling drugs and House Republicans voted to block President Obama’s efforts on immigration reform. But that wasn’t racism; it was about ‘the rule of law.’

Okay, so North Carolina Republicans banned Charlotte and other cities from protecting LGBTs from discrimination, while Republican leaders in 11 states are suing to overturn Department of Education and Department of Justice guidelines on discrimination against transgender students and Rep. Steve King sponsored a bill this week to block trans-inclusive policies in federal buildings. But those aren’t bigotry; Republicans just want to ‘protect women and girls’ from mythical predators.

“By a three-to-one margin, Republicans deemed Trump’s comments not racist”

Republican leaders and candidates have been whispering hints of racism, misogyny, and bigotry for decades, and right-wing bloggers and talk-show hosts rarely bother to whisper or hint. Trump merely says what most Republican voters already believe:

Republican voters, on the other hand, were judging Trump’s diatribe. And far more favorably. A poll found that, by a three-to-one margin, Republicans deemed Trump’s comments not racist. Once again, for all the nervousness he has engendered among the conservative elite, the people who vote Republican side with Trump. Unlike Ryan, whose job approval is underwater among Republicans, Trump is a popular and almost unifying figure among the rank and file. He has already secured support from 85 percent of Republican voters – nearly the same number as Romney had soon after he’d become the presumptive nominee, and slightly above the levels enjoyed by John McCain in 2008 and George W. Bush in 2000. Ryan’s clarification that Trump’s racism would not preclude his endorsement was a confession that Trump holds the whip in their relationship. Ryan’s policy proposals – deregulating Wall Street, reducing taxes on the highest earners, cutting social spending – have never attracted voters to his party. What has attracted them are the social values Trump represents. Ryan’s goals require Trump’s voters. The converse does not hold true.

Romney, Paul Ryan, and other self-styled ‘moderate’ Republicans apparently live in a bubble where they echo each other on abstract ideals about ‘limited government.’ And because they discuss their policies in terms of those abstract ideals, they convince themselves that those policies – which almost always hurt people of color, women, LGBTs, etc. – aren’t about racism, misogyny, or bigotry. As they see it, it’s merely a coincidence that their platform is an aggrieved white male wet dream.

And when progressives point out that coincidence, we’re playing ‘identity politics.’ We’re the ‘real racists,’ the ‘real sexists,’ the ‘real bigots.’

No, Mitt Romney, a Donald Trump presidency would not spawn “trickle-down racism, trickle-down misogyny, trickle-down bigotry.” The racism, misogyny, and bigotry have been bubbling up through your party for years … even if you haven’t noticed.


Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images


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