June 22, 2021

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Column: The Anglo-Saxon problem of the GOP

Column: The Anglo-Saxon problem of the GOP

Last week, two of the most Trump Republicans in the House of Representatives, Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Paul Gosar of Arizona, said they were forming a new “America First Caucus” to support former President Trump’s policies during his exile in Mar-a- The fiancée.

Among the principles in his draft manifesto was this passage, under the title of “Immigration”: “America is a nation with a border and a culture, strengthened by a common respect for uniquely Anglo-Saxon political traditions.”

He said legal immigration should be curtailed because too many recent immigrants have “refused to give up their old loyalties”.

Republican House Leader Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield quickly reneged on the move. “The Republican Party is Lincoln’s party,” he tweeted, “not nativist dog whistles.” Greene and Gosar suddenly announced that they had no intention of forming a caucus, after all.

But don’t expect it to be the last we’ll hear about their abandoned manifesto.

Their views date back to a nasty strain in American history, 19th century nativism which held that the “Anglo-Saxon race”, which means white Protestants of northern Europe, was superior to all other civilizations.

As a modern electoral strategy, Anglo-Saxonism is somewhat inadequate. Taken literally, it excludes not only Black, Latin American and Asian Americans, but also Irish Americans, Italian Americans, and American Jews – at least 63% of the population.

No wonder McCarthy felt compelled to report him; the GOP is small enough not to expel Irish Americans like him.

Greene and Gosar were right, however, to think they were carrying on the Trump tradition, which fueled fear of whites, defended Confederate monuments, and called Black Lives Matter “a symbol of hatred.”

And it’s not far from there to Tucker Carlson, Fox News’ king of the ratings, who told viewers that Democrats want to increase legal immigration to “replace” white voters with “new people, more obedient voters from the Third. World. “

That call for racism was so blatant that the Anti-Defamation League denounced him as a “white supremacist” and demanded Carlson’s resignation. Fox News, which is owned by an Australian immigrant, said its executives saw nothing racist about the conspiracy without evidence that their star was selling.

Indeed, Carlson’s “replacement theory” is more dangerous than Greene and Gosar’s mad Anglo-Saxon manifesto. Night after night, he tells Fox News viewers that immigrants are participating in a deliberate plan to end the prominence of whites in American life. The perpetrators accused of several mass killings, including the 2018 attack on a synagogue in Pittsburgh that killed 11 people and the 2019 attack on an El Paso Walmart that killed 23 people, are believed to have published anti -immigration before the shootings.

And the message is falling on other receptive ears. A poll last year by the non-partisan Public Religion Research Institute found that 71% of Republicans – and 82% of those who said they trusted Fox News – believe new immigrants are “a threat to morals and customs. traditional American values ​​”. Of all Americans, only 39% share this view.

Another PRRI survey asked respondents which groups they think suffer most from racial discrimination. Among Republicans, 57% said they believe there is “a lot of discrimination” against whites – more than 52% who said there is a lot of discrimination against blacks. Similarly, 58% of Fox News viewers said there is a lot of discrimination against whites and only 36% said there is a lot of discrimination against blacks.

These attitudes put McCarthy and other Republican leaders in a kind of dilemma. Most of their loyal constituents – the “base” the GOP relies on every election day – believe immigrants are their enemy and whites are the victims.

This is probably why McCarthy’s rebuke to the Anglo-Saxon screed was milder than it could have been. He did not call for the expulsion of the caucus organizers from the GOP conference, as a dissident representative. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) He did it. He did not call nativism “evil” and “malicious hatred”, as a noun. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) He did it. All he did was state that his group shouldn’t indulge in “nativist dog whistles”.

I asked the spokesperson for the GOP leader if McCarthy wanted to expand on his comment. He did not reply.

So I can only describe what I see: McCarthy doesn’t want his party to look racist, but he feels the need to make it welcoming to voters and congressmen who hold racist views. Whether or not that makes the GOP a racist institution, it has chosen to be pro-racism. Republican politics, including the noisy version that appears on Fox News, looks like a series of attempts to normalize white nationalism.

So far it doesn’t work very well. One of the reasons Trump lost his re-election campaign is that his nativist rhetoric turned college-educated white voters away. It could also be one of the reasons why the percentage of voters who consider themselves Republicans dropped to 25% in the Gallup poll, a nine-year low.

As the non-Anglo-Saxon part of the electorate grows, staying comfortable with white nationalism will be a losing strategy for the GOP.