Conservative Bigotry Whack-a-Mole

Rick PerlsteinThis particular understanding of the gap between public profession and private confession is one of the five or six things most fundamental to conservative thought. The spectacle of Republicans lowering a flag could not be more public. The act of a Republican anonymously telling a pollster what she really believes about the candidate with the guts to call Mexicans what they “really” are, which is barely-human vermin, is not so public. Significantly, one of two polls that finds Trump ahead by four points was staged by YouGov, which does its polling online, without requiring respondents to talk to another, possibly judgmental, human being—about as private as a political act could be…

This is important: conservatism is like bigotry whack-a-mole. The quantity of hatred, best I can tell from 17 years of close study of 60 years of right-wing history, remains the same. Removing the flag of the Confederacy, raising the flag of immigrant hating: the former doesn’t spell some new Jerusalem of tolerance; the latter doesn’t mean that conservatism’s racism has finally been revealed for all to see. The push-me-pull-me of private sentiment and public profession will always remain in motion, and in tension.

Rick Perlstein
Down With The Confederate Flag, Up With Donald Trump!

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