With the Republican party in disarray after yet another “worst week ever” in the Trump presidency, former Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) has launched a furious attack on Republican hypocrisy in an op-ed piece in originally published in The Guardian.
Titled “How The Republican Party Quietly Does The Bidding Of White Supremacists,” the article destroys the myth that the president’s modus operandi of courting and coddling neo-Nazis is separate from the agenda of the mainstream of his party with its nationwide push for “voter suppression, renewed mass incarceration and the expulsion of immigrants.”
After calling out sanctimonious Republican leaders for sending out tweets and press releases condemning violence and bigotry without condemning Trump’s equivocation on the sources of that hatred, Feingold points out the obvious questions their behavior engenders:
“There is a direct link between Trump’s comments this week and those policies, so where is the outrage about the latter? Where are the Republican leaders denouncing voter suppression as racist, un-American and dangerous? Where are the Republican leaders who are willing to call out the wink (and the direct endorsement) from President Trump to the white supremacists and acknowledge their own party’s record and stance on issues important to people of color as the real problem for our country?
Words mean nothing if the Republican agenda doesn’t change. Governors and state legislatures were so quick to embrace people of color in order to avoid the impression, they too share Trump’s supreme affinity for the white race. But if they don’t stand up for them they are not indirectly, but directly enabling the agenda of those same racists that Republican members were so quick to condemn via Twitter.
Gerrymandering, strict voter ID laws, felon disenfranchisement are all aimed at one outcome: a voting class that is predominantly white, and in turn majority Republican.”
Tired of false equivalencies and two-faced public declamations, Feingold makes some concrete suggestions to go along with his accusations of duplicitousness.
The first is aimed at the members of the presidential commission looking into Trump’s phony claims of massive voter fraud that lead to his losing the popular vote in last year’s election. Feingold thinks that they should follow the example of the corporate leaders who resigned from Trump’s advisory panels after hearing his claims that “fine people” were on both sides of the violence in Charlottesville.
“Anyone still sitting on the voter suppression commission is enabling Trump’s agenda and that of the white Nazi militia that stormed Charlottesville to celebrate a time when the law enforced white supremacy.”
The former Wisconsin Senator goes on to propose exactly how the GOP can redeem themselves:
A good start would be with voting rights. Let’s see lawmakers like John Kasich in Ohio immediately stop the state’s intended purging of voting records. Let’s see Wisconsin lawmakers throw out their gerrymandered district map and form a non-partisan redistricting commission.
Let’s see strict voter ID laws criticized with the same vitriol that Republicans used in responding to the events in Charlottesville. Let’s see Republicans call out their own agenda, and openly recognize the connection between the agenda of the racist alt-right and that of the Republican party.
Anything short of radical change to the Republican party’s war on voters of color is merely feigned outrage. Even if the white supremacists are condemned, even if the entire Republican party rises up in self-professed outrage at white supremacists, if voter suppression and other such racist policies survive, the white supremacists are winning. And America is losing.
Sadly, Feingold is not likely to see his words fall upon anything but deaf ears amongst Republicans. Despite the morality and truth of his statements, the chances of Republicans taking any move that lessens their grip on control of the government, the government that they are continuously trying to dismantle (except for the parts that benefit themselves and their corporate overlords), are minuscule enough that the most powerful electron microscope would have a difficult time finding them.
Vinnie Longobardo is a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music and art.