Steve King, Trump, and the Republican white nationalist party

The sky has fallen on Iowa Republican Congressman Steve “Cantaloupes” King for the latest in his long train of racist rantings. “White nationalist, white supremacist . . . how did that language become offensive?” he queried.

Maybe because “white supremacy” means black inferiority, “white nationalist” means black subordination. And because such words were connected with putting African people in chains and into ships to enslave them. And with barbaric lynchings to terrify African-Americans into submission for the denial of their citizenship and human rights. That, Mr. King, is how such language became offensive to any decent person.

But my point is not to call out Steve King, which many others have done, including the Republican House leadership. They’ve condemned and punished King, as though his sentiments have no place in the party of Lincoln. It’s this hypocrisy I’m calling out. The party of Lincoln (my own former party) has now become the party of Trump — and of Steve King, whose words actually reflect its true nature. Trump has been silent about King. Today’s Republican party is, above all else, the white nationalist party.

A Chicago Sun-Times column by Laura Washington is headed, “GOP condemns Steve King’s racist remarks — and ignores Trump’s.” His racism is just one small notch below King’s. Here is a compendium of it: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/01/15/opinion/leonhardt-trump-racist.html.

This is by no means incidental to the Trump phenomenon, but of the essence. His presidential campaign actually grew out of his leadership of birtherism — the racist lie that President Obama was born in Kenya (where his mother never set foot). Careful analysis of polling data has shown that the one factor most closely correlated with Trump support is white racial resentment. It’s what got him elected. And his behavior in office shows his understanding that this (in the guise of the immigration issue) is the one supervening concern in his base that he dare not trifle with. His presidency’s bottom line.

If the people at our southern border did not have brown skins, we would not be hearing the word “wall,” and the government would not be shut down today.

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