April 28, 2019


Another Act of White Supremacist Terror. When Will GOP Leaders Say Enough? (David Atkins April 28, 2019, Washington Monthly)

As older, whiter, more male and more socially conservative voters decline as a portion of the electorate, the Republican Party has become increasingly hostile to democracy itself. Gerrymandering, census manipulation, poll taxes, power grabs against branches of government they don't control, voter suppression, and legislative intimidation against voter registration can all be done with little public fanfare to help them delay the inevitable.

But violent acts of terrorism by their own base are much harder to sweep under the rug. And vague statements of general condemnation against violence won't cut it as these despicable acts continue to increase, and as the Republican Party becomes increasingly associated with it. Whatever remains of the mushy middle of American politics is allergic to conflict, extremism and violence-and as conservative politics are increasingly associated with violent extremism, Republican room for electoral maneuvering decreases.

Conservative infotainment on cable news and the AM radio can maintain their radicalized audiences longer than the Republican Party can sustain its position: after all, a small population can keep conservative media in business much longer than it can continue to deliver majoritarian wins for one of America's two major political parties, even buoyed by political affirmative action for older, rural white voters. But conservative media has its own problem: advertisers. Corporate America knows where its future customer base is, and it's not with the Fox News audience. So ultimately even the likes of the Murdoch family, Clear Channel and Sinclair Broadcast Group will feel the hit from the abandonment of advertisers.

And that is all just tactical. Morally, how long can whatever is left of decency among Republican opinion leaders sustain the current trends as its base descends into radical violent extremism? We certainly haven't hit rock bottom yet. Maybe there isn't one, but common sense dictates that at least some portions of conservative intelligentsia must have a breaking point.

At what point, either out of moral revulsion, sense of patriotic duty or sheer self-preservation, do Republican leaders start to try to put out the fire instead of fanning the flames? How many more deaths will it take?

Posted by at April 28, 2019 7:17 AM