The Truth About the GOP Can No Longer Be Denied

Brian BeutlerSometimes it’s difficult to conjure a clear memory of US political life before Donald Trump. But one of its most salient oddities was that the establishment elite considered it crass (if not outright slanderous) to suggest, in ideologically mixed company, that only one of the two major parties drew upon the support of bigots for political power.

In quarters where racism wasn’t denied or diminished, it was regarded as a diffuse problem, delinked in most ways from the biggest political flash points of the day. Homophobia, while more identifiably political, was frequently characterized as misunderstood religiosity, or as an eroding anachronism of well-meaning but old-fashioned geriatrics. Vitriol toward Mexican immigrants was interpreted as a response to labor competition from unskilled, undocumented workers — an outgrowth of zero-sum economics rather than of xenophobia.

This was true until about a year ago. That’s when Trump, who makes a habit of repurposing neo-Nazi propaganda for messaging on social media, began his march to the Republican Party’s presidential nomination, and Occam’s razor finally sliced through the more strained explanations.

—Brian Beutler
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4 thoughts on “The Truth About the GOP Can No Longer Be Denied

  1. “Nightly Show” — which I love more every day — had a really inspired bit of silliness on this. It’s about two minutes into this video. One Trump staffer claims the tweet wasn’t anti-semitic, merely a star he found in “Microsoft Shapes.” So Wilmore interviews a source close to Microsoft Shapes. It’s wonderfully deranged:

    • I do think that Wilmore is particularly silly. He has that Schopenhauer smirk going on that indicates a general sense and acceptance of the absurdity of life. The segment was good. Although I always used the dog. I did once use the cat, but its clawing the screen bothered me.

      I’m glad to know The Nightly Show is getting better, because The Daily Show has gotten distinctly worse. If they didn’t have Trump (who they are allowed to make fun of), I don’t know what they would do. If Clinton wins in November, I question if the show will last another year. But maybe its ratings are great. I don’t know. It just isn’t much of a political show anymore.

      • Noah’s a gifted performer and obviously bright, but for this type of show — political humor — I think it really helps for the head writer to be a little older. In one recent panel discussion on “TNS” they were talking about groups remembering past wrongs, and Wilmore mentioned growing up in a neighborhood with Armenian friends. Being older means he has a bigger storehouse of experience to draw writing and comedy from.

        Plus I love his delivery. He’s very sly and offhand how he reads jokes, almost “take it or leave it, it amused me.” That’s just my style of humor. My favorite funny stories aren’t the ones where people say “you gotta hear this one, it’s great” — I like the stories that are interesting first, then the teller puts an unexpected comic twist on them. But everyone has their favorite style of humor.

        • When I first saw Wilmore on The Daily Show, I didn’t really like him. But very quickly he became my favorite — probably because he’s so different than I am. Of all the comedians on the show, I felt most of a kinship with Wyatt Cenac. The way he performs is the way I feel most of the time. I’d much rather be like Wilmore, but “calm” isn’t something I’m good at. In my writing, it is more along the lines of the straight silly like the two tall white guys who used to be on the show — one of them is Samantha Bee’s husband.

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