This week, there were few images sadder or more pathetic than the sight of moderate Republicans desperately clinging to the hope that they could somehow, against all odds, stop Donald Trump and not have him be the GOP nominee.
Moderate Republicans refused to accept the reality that this is what happens when you associate yourself with bigots for decades on end. Yes, eventually the bigot becomes your flag bearer.
Of course, refusing to accept reality has been a hallmark of the GOP for a while now. In the conservative mind, Iraq did have WMDs, climate change is a hoax, and Obama was born in Kenya.
So Marco Rubio riding to the rescue and winning the nomination at the last second was another naive fantasy, the latest in a long line of truthiness. It was Republicans yet again insisting that reality would bend to their wishes, and the world would be the way they wanted it to be, rather than the way it actually is.
And this brings us to the biggest truthiness of them all, which is the Republican insistence that their party is not attractive to racists.
“No,” they shriek. “That is a liberal lie.”
Well, somebody better tell all those white supremacists and neo-Nazis who are celebrating Trump’s victory that they are mistaken. Clearly, the Democratic Party is the place for them.
Now, let’s be clear about this, because it always bears repeating. The vast majority of Republicans are not racists. In fact, the vast majority of Republicans want nothing to do with racists.
However, to deny that there is a virulent strain of bigotry in the GOP is to once again deny reality. And as Exhibit A, I give you their presidential nominee, a man so prejudiced that members of his own party regularly call him out on it.
And we’re not even getting into the infamous Southern Strategy and the dog-whistles that have helped the GOP build a base of white resentment, all while moderate conservatives held their noses and rationalized it.
Strangely, it is now — when all doubt has been removed about the bigotry in their ranks— that conservatives have indulged in the most far-fetched of all scenarios, which is that racism is not only nonexistent in their party, but in America as a whole.
Cops aren’t killing unarmed black men, and Latinos aren’t the targets of hate crimes, and Muslims are absolutely beloved, and on and on.
Hey, I’m trying to be sympathetic. It’s psychologically disturbing to say that America has a racism problem, and that if you’re conservative, you’re enabling it.
But let’s not kid ourselves. There is a very strong practical and political reason for this denial. Basically, if the Republican Party continues to insist racism is not a serious problem, then they don’t have to do anything about it. After all, why would you solve a problem that was already taken care back in 1968?
It is this mindset that has given us the modern Republican Party. I have to wonder if the GOP will do anything about it, or if conservatives will just insist that everything is fine.