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‘Welcome to the new mainstream GOP’: Conservative website delivers sobering news about Republicans’ descent into the alt-right

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- Commentary

Founded by Charlie Sykes and Bill Kristol in December 2018, The Bulwark has become a refuge for conservatives who are disdainful of Donald Trump’s presidency. And contributor Laura K. Field, in a November 27 article, delivers some sobering news to The Bulwark’s right-wing anti-Trump readers: the alt-right fringe has become the mainstream of the Republican Party.

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Most of The Bulwark’s readers probably knew that already, but Field (who has held faculty positions at Georgetown University and American University) offers a lot of evidence to drive the point home. Under Trump, Field laments, alt-right figures like Steve Bannon, Sebastian Gorka and Stephen Miller have become “the face of today’s conservatism and today’s Republican Party.”

Field demonstrates the prominence that extremists have achieved in the GOP by discussing an event held during Donald Trump Jr.’s recent book tour in support of “Triggered: How the Left Thrives on Hate and Wants to Silence Us.” The writer notes that when the tour took Trump Jr. to the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Trump Jr. and the group Turning Point USA were described as “mainstream conservatives” — and Trump Jr. was heckled by supporters of antisemite Nick Fuentes.

“This shift in language represents a victory for Don Jr., as well as for the extremists who attacked him,” Field explains. “Now that Junior has been upstaged by the neo-fascist far right, he gets to be cast as mainstream. And if Turning Point USA counts as establishment, it means that the extremists aren’t so far out there anymore. It’s a win-win for them all.”

Field goes on to say that many of the people who defined “movement conservatism” in the past have been marginalized in the modern GOP.

“You don’t have to lionize the old GOP to see that many of the think tanks, magazines and intellectuals that made up movement conservatism since the Reagan years have slid into irrelevance under Trump, while talk radio and Fox News have grown in influence,” Field observes. “Individuals and organizations dedicated to defending Trump and promoting Trumpism have prospered.”

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Field also laments that recently, “e-mails were leaked that definitively proved Stephen Miller’s white supremacy, and not a single Republican member of Congress has joined the call for his resignation.”

The leaked e-mails that Field is referring to were exchanges between Miller and journalist Katie McHugh, formerly of Breitbart News, in 2015 and 2016. Some of the e-mails show Miller recommending that McHugh use white nationalist websites like VDare and American Renaissance as sources of information.

Field wraps up her article on a troubling note, warning that extremists such as Fuentes won’t be disappearing from the GOP anytime soon.

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“The extreme environmentalists and Green New Dealers are fighting for the future of life on this planet; Nick Fuentes and his ilk want a white Christian ethnostate,” Field writes. “That conservatives today aren’t reeling at this difference tells us all we need to know about the successes of the alt-right…. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the new mainstream GOP.”

 


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