Magazine article Newsweek

How Donald Trump's Politics Will Gut the Republican Party for Decades; an Open Letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan on the Difference between Racism, Xenophobia, Protectionism, Nuclear Proliferation, Torture, War Crimes, Fanboy Support-And the GOP

Magazine article Newsweek

How Donald Trump's Politics Will Gut the Republican Party for Decades; an Open Letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan on the Difference between Racism, Xenophobia, Protectionism, Nuclear Proliferation, Torture, War Crimes, Fanboy Support-And the GOP

Article excerpt

Byline: Kurt Eichenwald

Speaker Ryan:

This presidential campaign has raised a few crucial questions, ones you are uniquely qualified to answer: What does the Republican Party stand for? And how much damage is it willing to inflict on itself--and the country--to put Donald Trump in the White House?

Let's start with the reality that has led the GOP to the crisis it now faces: Trump is not a Republican. Sure, he appears on the ballot with an R next to his name, but you are supporting a candidate who has hijacked your party. This is my fourth open letter urging you to withdraw your endorsement of Trump, and at no point have I suggested that my efforts are in support of Hillary Clinton; instead, these missives were written to preserve the two-party system and to save the GOP and its rational supporters from the toxin of Trumpism. I have already written to you about my experiences with Trump, dating back decades, that convinced me he will govern as recklessly as he has campaigned; I have also reviewed for you his repeated lies under oath and discussed the disturbing ruse of his "religious commitment." Now I will address what, for you, Mr. Speaker, may be the most important point here: Trump will poison the Republican brand for decades because he embodies the racist, xenophobic, angry faction your party has exploited for the past eight years.

The high point for the modern Republican Party may have been the 1984 GOP convention. Ronald Reagan was riding toward his 49-state romp over former Vice President Walter Mondale, and the mood at the convention was upbeat, with party leaders looking to expand what was being called "Big Tent Republicanism" to make the GOP appealing to all Americans. That message was hit throughout the GOP gathering in Dallas, perhaps with the strongest moment coming during the keynote address by Reagan's U.S. treasurer, Katherine Ortega, who spoke to voters outside the party by saying, "Nuestra casa es su casa."

Related: Donald Trump's History of Lying Under Oath

Our house is your house--a powerful message for Hispanics and all nonwhite voters, as well as others who previously might not have felt welcomed by the party.

The GOP's low point is now. In the eight years building up to this election cycle, the party has made foolish, self-destructive decisions that showed contempt for voters who are not traditional Republicans. The birther nonsense--contending that Barack Obama is not an American--was subtly, and sometimes explicitly, encouraged by Republican politicians. Conservatives are now acknowledging that the effort was, as Republican Senator Jeff Flake said, "a fantasy."

Republican strategist Matt Mackowiak was more blunt in a series of tweets. He bemoaned the rise of Trump and tied it to the birthers. "We knew Obama wasn't born in Kenya. But for some conservatives, we liked seeing Obama being forced to answer questions and provide documentation.-- Republicans had a chance to do the right thing, and many passed. Many Republicans didn't want to offend their base, which despised Obama for taking the country far left. But the base was wrong."

The enterprise was built on racism, and minorities throughout the country know it. Add to that the GOP's refusal to fix the Voting Rights Act to address concerns raised by the Supreme Court, its grotesque efforts to gerrymander congressional districts on what the courts have found to be intentionally racial lines, and its pumping up of another fantasy of your base--voter fraud--that courts have also found is designed to make it harder for minorities to vote, and the message is clear: People in the fastest-growing demographics are not welcome in the Republican Party. In fact, they are an enemy that must be stopped.

There is no "Nuestra casa es su casa" message anymore. Instead, phrases like "Fuck that nigger!" are yelled (on camera) at Trump rallies. Hispanic citizens of the U. …

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