Before Trump “won” the 2016 election, it was obvious that even if he lost, the Republican Party had irrevocably shifted from the party of dog whistle racism to the party of open white nationalism. After the election, the question wasn’t “if” they would start fielding candidates that openly used white nationalist hate speech as part of their platform, but “when?”
Now we know.
Meet Paul Nehlen, a proud Trump supporter that has recently decided to stop pussyfooting around and go full Nazi:
When my mother-in-law bragged about voting for Trump and I told my wife that I wouldn’t be speaking to her mother again for the rest of her life, she didn’t understand why. I had to explain to her that it doesn’t matter who white nationalists say they hate today, sooner or later, they’ll always come for her Jewish husband and her Jewish children because we’re not “pure” enough to live among them. This is what the first stages of that look like.
Last year, Nehlen was much more careful about his bigotry, sticking with the usual right wing standbys of hating Muslims and immigrants. He primaried Paul Ryan as part of the alt-right but didn’t go all in on the white nationalist language.
But now that Trump has given his presidential seal of approval to white nationalism, Nehlen has dropped any pretense of being your average, run-of-the-mill bigot and he wants Trump’s followers to know that he’s really one of them.
Lately, Nehlen’s been tweeting “It’s okay to be white” which is what white nationalists have been telling themselves because they like to pretend that white people are “under attack” for being white. The reality is that white right wingers are under attack for being racist assholes but they live to feel persecuted so good luck convincing them otherwise. Now, however, as John Podhoretz puts it, Nehlen has come out of the Nazi closet:
Oh look. Nehlen literally comes out of the Nazi closet. https://t.co/k7CZqXtK2l
— John Podhoretz (@jpodhoretz) December 19, 2017
As we get closer to the midterms, more of these kinds of candidates are going to come crawling out of the shadows to challenge Republicans they feel aren’t racist enough (try to wrap your head around that). After the blue tidal wave of 2018 and the full collapse of the Trump administration, Republicans are going to flail about for a quick fix like they did with the Tea Party. Nehlen and his fellow white nationalists, with generous backing from Steve Bannon (or whoever the billionaire Mercers replace him with of he keeps losing), will be there with their energized base to fill that void.
Nehlen and his hate speech are not an outliers, they’re a sign of things to come. Republicans allowed white nationalism to take root and flourish in their party and they haven’t even begun to harvest that bitter crop. When they do, their already weakened brand will become radioactive, driving away everyone unwilling to be associated with people that openly venerate Hitler and that will be the end of the Republican Party. But before that happens, they’re going to hurt a lot of innocent people on their way to being driven from the public square. Monsters never go quietly.
I’m a stay at home dad, father to a special needs son and a special daughter, a donor baby daddy, a militantly pragmatic liberal, the president of the PTA, a hardcore geek and nerd and I’m going to change the world. Or at least my corner of it.