In a vain effort to absolve the Republican Party from blame for the racism that is now so fashionable among Trump supporters, the Wall Street Journal's Bret Stephens wrote an article entitled, Staring At The Conservative Gutter. There, Stephens blames the Rush Limbaughs and the Mark Levins for Trump populism, rather than the founder of the modern conservative movement (W.F. Buckley) who set the tone for the last fifty plus years of Republican strategy. People are consuming a diet of populist anger, he claims, because of shortcomings in our economy (which he won't admit are a direct result of GOP policies). He forgets who made racism so acceptable in the GOP.
National Review founder William F. Buckley, a "civilized conservative," was really nothing more than a blatant white supremacist, and deep down, people like Brett Stephens should know this. Fareed Zakaria asks Krugman to reply to Stephens' editorial.
ZAKARIA: What do you think, what caused Trump?
Krugman expressed the shock he felt when reading Stephens' editorial, saying that 'I almost fell off my chair.' The allegedly 'clean conservatism' espoused by Buckley is coated with racism throughout, and for Stephens to disavow that blatant racism espoused by his party's most famous Conservative is as preposterous as their denial of responsibility for Donald Trump.
KRUGMAN: This is the Bill Buckley who wrote Why the South Must Prevail. 'Is the White community in the South entitled to take such measures that are necessary to prevail in areas in which it does not predominate numerically? Yes, because the White Community is the advanced race.'
There's no denying the unmistakable advocacy for blatant racism that the most influential spokesman of modern Conservatism espoused. Buckley's true intent was...
In other words, it was up to the white community to decide when violence was appropriate. Through its White Citizens’ Councils, the resurgence of the Klan, and the general refusal to prosecute crimes committed against black Southerners, by the 1960s the white South had made its decision. And rather than condemn it, Buckley stayed the course.
Stephens believes that his publication has been trying to help Republicans argue for free trade and has been most outspoken about Trump's form of populism. Donald Trump's economics is more representative of 'the Left,' he believes. But Krugman crushes Stephens' theories that Trump's supporters are disenchanted with economics. They are not following the man for his stance on the economy, they are attracted to his racial animus.
Further cementing his own veiled racism, he claims that there is now a toxic mix of economic anxiety and a sense that the country is being invaded by aliens. It is a common white nationalist argument that the immigrants are to blame, and Mr. Stephens lists that as a valid cause for angst among the typically downtrodden Trump supporter. While trying to absolve his party for the rise of Trump, he demonstrates the very same suspicion of immigrants that the Trump campaign embraces. The willful denial of the truth is exactly why the GOP is in such a pickle, but they obviously won't figure out their tragic flaw until it's too late for them.