On Wednesday, writing for The Washington Post, conservative columnist Max Boot painted a damning picture of how the Republican Party has become blinded to how it has "stoked white resentment" — and poisoned American politics in the process.
"I have a highly accomplished friend whose talented son applied to multiple universities this year. The one region where he did not apply was the South, because my friend was afraid of what would happen to an African American down there," wrote Boot.
"Her concern is entirely understandable. This month a video became public showing how Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old black man, was gunned down by two white men while, his family said, he was simply out for a jog in Brunswick, Ga., in February," Boot continued. "But it’s not as if the bacillus of racism is confined to one region; in President Trump’s America, it is as pervasive as the coronavirus." He noted that racist incidents have inflamed tensions all around America, from the suffocation death of George Floyd during a police stop to the Central Park woman, Amy Cooper, who called the police on an African-American birdwatcher for asking her to leash her dog.
"The reality of racism in the United States should not be news to anyone," wrote Boot. "People of color experience it every day, and the coronavirus is only exacerbating our racial inequality. Racism is not confined to one political party; Amy Cooper donates to Democrats. But in modern America, only one political party is devoted to stoking white resentment for political gain."
"As veteran Republican operative Stuart Stevens writes in his important forthcoming book, 'It Was All a Lie,' race 'has defined the modern Republican party' ever since Richard Nixon’s Southern strategy," wrote Boot. "Most Trump supporters, to be sure, don’t use the 'n word' or publicly defend white supremacy. But many Republicans (75 percent in a 2019 poll) are convinced that whites are victims of discrimination, and many sneer at anyone who calls out white racism or white privilege with epithets such as 'woke,' 'politically correct' and 'social justice warrior."
"Trump, who came to political prominence denying that our first African American president was born in the United States, is the master of catering to white grievances while cynically proclaiming, 'I am the least racist person there is anywhere in the world,'" wrote Boot. "The least racist person spent part of Memorial Day retweeting a vile Internet troll who specializes in racist and sexist invective. And now the least racist person is mobilizing an army of 50,000 poll watchers to suppress minority voter turnout under the guise of combating (virtually nonexistent) voter fraud."
"This blatant ploy to disenfranchise minorities provokes outrage among most Democrats and shrugs among most Republicans," wrote Boot. "As I’ve said before, not all Trump supporters are racist. But they are complicit in his racism. As my Post colleague Brian Klaas writes: 'If you’re more upset by an athlete kneeling on a sports field than a police officer kneeling on a black man’s neck until he dies, then you are the problem.'"
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