From the election of Barack Obama until now, the Republican Party has delighted in government obstruction, fear mongering and stoking the racism of the right-wing fringe. After the 2012 election, the GOP has desperately tried to rebrand itself to appeal to minorities, women and low-income voters.
Unfortunately for the GOP, the chickens have come home to roost in the candidacy of Donald Trump.
Quinnipiac University’s poll this week has Trump at 28 percent nationally, up from 20 percent in July. Public Policy Polling has Trump leading all Republicans in New Hampshire with 35 percent. A Monmouth University poll has him at 30 percent in South Carolina, followed 15 points later by Ben Carson.
Trump has been hailed by his supporters as the iconoclast who says what we’re all thinking. The problem is this is only true if you’re white, conservative, sexist and racist.
These labels are exactly what the establishment wing of the GOP has been trying desperately to move away from. The party that claims not to be racist, sexist and classist is currently being led by a candidate who is just that.
Presidential candidates cannot win the presidency without the support of minorities and women. These are the exact voters that Trump is turning away from in the Republican Party.
According to Huffington Post, Trump referred to Mexicans and other immigrants as “rapists” and “murderers.” His comments have begun to turn off conservative Latino voters.
NPR quoted Hispanic conservative Ricky Salabarria on his feelings about Trump’s candidacy, which they refer to as “The Trump Effect.”
“Being Hispanic, being gay, it all sort of, like, makes it hard to be a part of the GOP right now,” Salabarria said. “He drowns out a lot of the conservative field, and it’s very bad for the Republican Party.”
Trump angered Republicans further with his comments about Arizona Senator John McCain.
“He’s not a war hero. He’s a war hero because he was captured,” Trump said. “I like people who weren’t captured.”
This kind of swift-boat rhetoric was started by the GOP in 2004 when the Republican National Committee attacked Democratic candidate John Kerry’s war record.
Trump is currently embroiled in a heated back and forth with none other than Conservative network Fox News over his disparaging comments about commentator Megyn Kelly. Trump implied that her menstrual state was the reason for her tough questioning at the August GOP debate, and referred to her as a “bimbo.”
For many it’s confusing how such a problematic candidate could be leading the GOP field. The fact is, Trump simply appeals to the racism and the “take our country back” rhetoric that began with the election of Obama in 2008.
In a Washington Post op-ed, Bruce Bartlett has suggested that Trump does not need the Latino vote if he appeals to the “racism” of black voters.
Bartlett says that black voters have been receptive to anti-immigrant concepts. If Trump successfully turns black voters against Latinos, he can win black votes without changing his message.
This is the kind of tone-deaf, racial ignorance typical of white pundits, who know nothing about black voter demographics, and assume that all black voters are monolithic in how they vote.
The GOP has a major problem. If Trump wins the Republican nomination, he will almost certainly lose the general election. If Trump does not win the nomination, he has threatened to run as an independent, which would split the GOP vote and they would lose.
The Republican Party has spent the last seven years creating and stoking this political climate. They’ve created a monster they can no longer control, which may end up costing them the presidency.