Republicans set the stage for Trump. Now it’s time to disavow his racism and xenophobia.
As Donald Trump’s racism becomes more extreme, it is not enough for leaders of the Republican Party to denounce his rhetoric.
If Republican leaders are actually interested in disavowing Trump’s racism, they must refuse to support Trump if he becomes the Republican nominee.
Tell Republican party leaders: Show that there’s no place for racism in the Republican party. Take back your pledges to support Donald Trump’s candidacy if he wins the Republican party’s nomination.
When Trump proposed a ban on all Muslims entering the United States last week, his rivals and other Republican leaders were quick to denounce this plan. But what they all failed to do was renounce his candidacy. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan specifically said, “I’m going to support whoever the Republican nominee is and I’m going to stand up for what I believe in as I do that.”1
Ryan was not alone. Every Republican presidential contender remained true to the pledge they made this summer, under pressure from Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus, to support whoever ends up being the nominee. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell criticized Trump’s proposal but said nothing about his candidacy.
It’s cowardly political gamesmanship for Republicans to disavow Trump’s rhetoric but be willing to endorse him as the Republican nominee. It’s time to make clear where the party really stands.
Tell Republican party leaders: Take a meaningful stand against Donald Trump’s racist and xenophobic campaign by withdrawing your pledge to support his candidacy if he wins the Republican party’s nomination.
Trump is not an isolated phenomenon and his rhetoric, while extreme, is neither new or unprecedented. As Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid pointed out, “Donald Trump is standing on a platform of hate that the Republican Party built for him.”2
Senator Reid is right. The Republican party has a long history of using race-based rhetoric and dog whistle politics to get votes and pander to the nativist and racist elements of its base.3
In the last few years, Republicans in Congress have refused to fix the Supreme Court’s gutting of the Voting Rights Act and have blocked all attempts to pass comprehensive immigration reform. And in just the past few weeks, Trump’s rivals for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, Republicans in Congress, and Republican governors have all taken xenophobic stands against Muslim refugees fleeing horrific violence in the Middle East.
These positions and policies are in line with the beliefs of many in the Republican party’s base. A recent Bloomberg poll found that 65% of likely Republican voters support Trump’s plan to ban Muslims from entering the United States.4 Historic national polling data shows that people who identify as Republicans consistently hold more racist views about African-Americans than people who identify as Democrats.5
The leaders of the Republican party have a choice. They can pander to their party’s racist base and legitimize the politics of hate by failing to denounce Trump’s candidacy, or they can show their party is actually better than that and make clear that they will not endorse Trump if he’s the nominee.
Tell Republican party leaders: Show that your party is not a party of hate by withdrawing your pledge to support Donald Trump if he wins the Republican party’s nomination.
Thanks for taking a stand against hate today.
- Russell Berman, “A Frontrunner Republicans Will Denounce but Not Reject , The Atlantic, 12/8/2015.
- Reid: Trump Stands On Republican Platform Of Hate, Senator Harry Reid press release, 12/8/2015.
- Jonathan Weiler, “Lee Atwater and the GOP’s race problem,” Huffington Post, 1/13/2014.
- John McCormick, “Bloomberg Politics Poll: Nearly Two-Thirds of Likely GOP Primary Voters Back Trump's Muslim Ban,” Bloomberg.com, 12/9/2015.
- Nate Silver and Allison McCann, “Are White Republicans More Racist Than White Democrats?,” FiveThirtyEight Politics, 4/30/2014.