The main problem with the Republican Party, as I see it, is it
doesn’t have enough actual Republicans in it. The party is infested by re­ac­tio­nar­ies and xenophobes and truly ignorant, hateful individuals whose rhetoric colors the entire party as fascist. If more people in the Republican Party were willing to stand up and denounce the hate speech the GOP could rebound as a reasonable alternative to Democrat liberalism.

Ignorance As A Political Strategy

As with most Aaron Sorkin productions, HBO’s The News­room is likely smarter than its audience. Unlike his network cult favorite, The West Wing, The Newsroom doesn’t need to land 20 million viewers in order to stay on the air; a million or three will do nicely. Even so, Sorkin (and others) should be embarrassed to put out nine episodes and call that a “season.” This clip, from The Newsroom’s first season, has Jeff Daniel’s cable news anchor Will McAvoy brand the Tea Party as “The American Taliban,” as he goes on to explain that the extreme right actually are not Republicans at all.

These men and women rarely speak to Black America because they know we’re not listening. We are not listening because theirs is demonstrably the party of intolerance and hate; so much so that, increasingly, mainstream Republicans are embarrassed by their own lunatic fringe, many of them becoming registered independents. This is a problem because, as the sane people are either cowed into submission or pushed out of the Republican Party, there are increasingly fewer people willing to stand up to the Tea Party crowd. Perfectly rational, well-educated political figures now rou­tine­ly embarrass themselves trying to spin lunatic fringe rhetoric like the hysteria over Jade Helm 15, a presumed U.S. military occupation of Texas. Of Texas. Rather than calling this notion insane, we’ve got GOP candidates getting whiplash trying to spin their responses in a way that will least offend the mouth-breathing lunatics who believe such a thing.

And that, as I see it, is the real problem—not just for the GOP but for America. America needs at least two parties; at least two rational governing philosophies. We haven’t had that in a long time. We’ve had the Obama Administration and people who believe we’re planning to invade Texas. I believe the president had profited immensely by not having had to run against a credible rival in two elections. John McCain destroyed his own brand by pandering to the far right and then by naming Sarah Palin as his running mate. Mitt Romney was simply a liar; so desperate to win at any cost that he literally took whatever position that would appease whatever group he was speaking to at the time, changing positions often in the same day. How could I possibly vote for Romney? I had absolutely no idea whatsoever what the man stood for.

So, you’d think the GOP would have figured it out by now. Jeb Bush seemed to throw down the gauntlet by declaring he would not pander to the right, even if it cost him the nomination. But he’s stacking so much cheese in his war chest that he’s afraid to actually announce—which would severely curtail his fundraising activities. Ironically, Romney now polls higher than any of the GOP field. If Romney would stand up and give a mea culpa for past sins, and run *as* Mitt Romney (as opposed to whoever the heck that was in 2012), he’d likely give Hillary a run for her money.

But I honestly don’t think Hillary could lose unless she set fire to a flag or bitch-slapped the Pope. Pay absolutely no attention to all the partisan whore mongering going on: women will come out in overwhelming numbers for Clinton. I suspect virtually every female voter will either vote for Hillary or want to vote for Hillary. Not because Clinton would make such a good president, but because it is simply time. Actually, it’s way, way past time. I don’t know if America needs Hillary Clinton, but I believe America needs this moment: the first female U.S. president—and Clinton is the only person qualified to stand in this shadow of history.

The Newsroom: Telling it like it is.

The Solution: More Black Republicans

So, what’s the GOP to do? Party Chairman Reince Priebus laid out a sound strategy after their 2012 presidential loss. Whatever happened to that? Right-wing extremists continue to freely use intolerant dog whistles to flatly blame blacks and other minorities for the nation’s woes while baldly employing racism as a political weapon to further divide the nation, and supposedly “mainstream” GOP candidates pander to these people and refuse to call them on their behavior. As a result, many blacks see the GOP as the party of hate, while missing the point that these men and women aren’t really Republicans. In fact, they despise Republicans just as they despise government in general and factually despise the American people. They are not politicians so much as zealots and ideologues.

Ironically, this embarrassment of pandering to ignorance and hatred could be stopped if there were more black Republicans; if more people in the Republican Party were willing to stand up and denounce the hate speech—including Dr. Ben Carson routinely assignating himself with the most ridiculous and putrid anti-Obama hate speech (including Nazi references)—the GOP could rebound as a reasonable alternative to Democrat liberalism. The main problem with the Republican Party, as I see it, is it doesn’t have enough actual Republicans in it. The party is infested by reactionaries and xenophobes and truly ignorant, hateful individuals whose rhetoric colors the entire party as fascist. I imagine many if not most Black Americans have no idea what Republican values are; all they can hear is the hate. For that matter, most of us couldn’t articulate what Democratic values are; we just know the Republicans hate us and refuse to even try to engage us in any meaningful way. That doesn’t mean we’re all democrats, even if the overwhelming majority of us will be voting for Democratic candidates. We are not necessarily voting *for* someone was we are repudiating the hatred being shown us by a national institution.

I don’t see the GOP increasing their numbers because I don’t see the GOP finding the will to stand against the Koch Brothers (who fund virtually all of the lunatic fringe and who, de facto, own the Republican party) or the Statue of Liberty Foam Hat crowd shouting “Niger Nigger!” under their breath. As an American institution, the GOP is now a national embarrassment if not a national disgrace, mainly because of good men and good women who chose to do nothing rather than stand up and condemn their party’s hate tactics. If even some small fraction of Black America swung to the Republican Party, the GOP would be forced to stop its hateful promotion of racism as a political tool. As of now, however, they know they have nothing to lose: blacks are a write-off for them, and none of their political stars will take an ethical stand against them.

The likely end result is that, absent some dirty tricks, the GOP will continue to lose the White House while continuing to own Congress because the liberals and the kids are too lazy to show up for the midterms. This is, of course, a recipe for gridlock, which is virtually all we’ve had since Obama’s election.

A Ridiculous Choice

I do pray for Mrs. Clinton, not because I’m a Democrat (I’m not) or even a huge fan of the former Secretary of State. I pray for her because, with my eyes wide open and absent any political bias, she is provably best qualified and best equipped to lead. Were Joe Biden in the race, I’d still be hopeful for Secretary Clinton because, despite his superior credentials, I don’t believe Biden can win. Should she become the Democratic nominee, 2016 will become a historic moment. Millions of conservative women will shout out epitaphs and claim to despise her, but I suspect some large percentage of them will nonetheless seize this moment, regardless of ideology; which makes the GOP’s choice to continue to run their sad, hateful playbook all the more pathetic.

Christopher J. Priest
7 June 2015

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