Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Conservative apologizes for ignoring racist evangelical takeover of the GOP — which led to Trump


In a series of tweets, a prominent conservative critic of Donald Trump offered up a mea culpa for standing by for years as the Republican Party he proudly belonged to was taken over by Christian fundamentalists, racists and “gun nuts” which culminated with the party embracing Donald Trump.
On Twitter, Tom Nichols — a professor at the Naval War College — responded to a commenter who claimed he left the Republican Party due to the “Christian right wing (American Hezbollah).”
“The Christian right wing (American Hezbollah) is the principle reason I will never vote for Republican again,” the commenter who goes by the Twitter name of LogJammin’ wrote. “They now have 4 of 9 members of Supreme court maybe 5 if you include Roberts although I think he’s a serious jurist. They are the most insidious force in America.”
That set off a confession from Nichols, who detailed what he saw as the decline of the GOP over a period of decades that made him leave the party.
“This comes up a lot, along with the usual liberal carping about the ‘Southern strategy’ and it’s worth a moment of comment, especially since I am stuck in an airport,” Nichols tweeted. “No arguing that mod-con GOPers like me treated the southern evangelical wing of the party with a shrug. I think many of us figured: Meh, we’re stuck with them, not just because of their racial views, but because they were conservative Christians not welcome among the Dems.”
From there Nichols described how more mainstream conservatives like himself let their party be taken over.

“For people like me, the Southern strategy wasn’t a strategy. It was really just a ‘keep them in the tent and harvest their votes by default’ strategy. This was Reagan’s approach, and it definitely pissed off the evangelicals, as GOPers knew back in 1984,” he wrote. “But I always assumed that the GOP was a prudent, rational, conservative party that would never let the wingnuts (as opposed to the mainstream conservative Christians) gain actual power within the party. I was wrong. There were plenty of warnings that it was going to happen.”
He then added, “People like Pat Robertson were canaries in the coal mine. I admit that I brushed this off, as something so irrational and so obviously self-destructive that I really didn’t think it had a future. I did not think the GOP would commit suicide for the fringiest evangelicals.”
“The victory of the hard-core evangelicals is now the election and unbending support of one of the most decadent and un-Christian GOP politicians ever,” he continued. “I knew the political evangelicals were hypocrites; I did not realize they would go to the wall this way.”
You can see his tweets below:
No arguing that mod-con GOPers like me treated the southern evangelical wing of the party with a shrug. I think many of us figured: Meh, we’re stuck with them, not just because of their racial views, but because they were conservative Christians not welcome among the Dems. /2
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For people like me, the Southern strategy wasn’t a strategy. It was really just a “keep them in the tent and harvest their votes by default” strategy. This was Reagan’s approach, and it definitely pissed off the evangelicals, as GOPers knew back in 1984. /3
126 people are talking about this
But I always assumed that the GOP was a prudent, rational, conservative party that would never let the wingnuts (as opposed to the mainstream conservative Christians) gain actual power within the party. I was wrong. There were plenty of warnings that it was going to happen. /4
436 people are talking about this
People like Pat Robertson were canaries in the coal mine. I admit that I brushed this off, as something so irrational and so obviously self-destructive that I really didn’t think it had a future. I did not think the GOP would commit suicide for the fringiest evangelicals. /5
272 people are talking about this
Ironically, this is why I did not fight with those evangelical GOPers, or shame their choices. I simply did not take them seriously enough as a force in the party. (These earlier mistakes are a reason I think shame needs to make a comeback.) /6
155 people are talking about this
Even more ironically, the victory of the hard-core evangelicals is now the election and unbending support of one of the most decadent and un-Christian GOP politicians ever. I knew the political evangelicals were hypocrites; I did not realize they would go to the wall this way. /7
396 people are talking about this
A lot of us in the GOP should have seen this death spiral coming a lot earlier: more power in the south and west, a smaller base, more evangelical and gun nut influence...lather, rinse, repeat. But I, at least, did not think that was possible. Oops. /8
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So the people who carp at us that “we should have seen it coming“ may have a point, but it is important to remember how insane it seemed - at least to me - even 25 or 30 years ago that these people would overtake the base of the GOP. /9
196 people are talking about this
If you want to accuse us who have left the GOP of anything, it is not that we condoned or encouraged these folks, it’s that we didn’t take them seriously enough to try to stop them back when we should have. /10x
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