Ben Domenech of the Federalist is worried that a surrender to Trumpism by the Republican Party would be a surrender to the sort of identity politics common to many European far-right parties.
The Party Of White Identity Politics? Hasn't The GOP Been That For Years?
August 22, 2015

Ben Domenech of the Federalist is worried that a surrender to Trumpism by the Republican Party would be a surrender to the sort of identity politics common to many European far-right parties:

Are Republicans For Freedom Or White Identity Politics?

... The rise of Trump is an epic expression of frustration with the American political system, and it is a natural outgrowth of frustrations with America’s changing demographics....

What Trump represents is the potential for a significant shift in the Republican Party toward white identity politics for the American right, and toward a coalition more in keeping with the European right than with the American.

... should his ideas prevail and win -- or if, in the most extreme scenario, Trump were to sustain his path and take the Republican nomination -- it would set America’s political path on a direction along the lines of what we have seen in democracies in Europe.

... across Europe the rise of these populist movements, whether from the left or the right, have spread to Britain, Spain, Italy, and other nations. The European experience suggests that the burgeoning administrative state, whether run by putative leftists or putative rightists, engenders a reaction against itself. That antithesis usually is illiberal and adopts an aesthetic of anger....

Domenech argues that the GOP hasn't been that kind of angry, nativist party until now. He's right and he's wrong: establishmentarians may have been the public face of the GOP for the most part, but they've coexisted with angry populists. The party may not have allowed enraged nativists to dominate, but it's long been clear that those nativists are extremely welcome. The party's establishment types have always courted angry voters -- why do you think Mitt Romney sought the endorsement of nativist sheriff Joe Arpaio in the 2008 presidential race, or Rick Santorum went pheasant hunting with Congressman Steve King, Iowa's anti-immigrant kingmaker, just before the Iowa caucuses? Why has the GOP outsourced so much of its messaging to immigration hard-liners such as Matt Drudge, Sean Hannity, and Ann Coulter? Why have establishment Republicans from George W. Bush to John Boehner allowed the immigrant-bashers to get the upper hand when immigration reform has seemed imminent?

And while we're talking about "white identity politics," why have establishment Republicans tolerated so many anti-Obama and anti-Democratic propaganda efforts that have been nakedly racist, from birtherism to the attack on Shirley Sherrod to Drudge's years-long obsession with "urban" crime?

We don't have a parliamentary system, so it's always been clear to angry nativists that splitting with the GOP to form a National Front-style party would be an act of political suicide; that's why the Tea Party was a movement within the GOP rather than a new party.

So the nativists haven't wanted to leave -- and the establishmentarians have never wanted the nativists to leave. If the GOP becomes the party of Trump, the only thing that will have changed is the establishment/nativist ratio. So sorry, Ben, but your party has been the party of white identity politics for a long time.

Crossposted at No More Mr. Nice Blog.

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