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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Saturday, June 6, 2020

GOP Leaders and Bigotry

In Defying the Odds, we talk about the social and economic divides that enabled Trump to enter the White House.

This week, the GOP made progress when Steve King lost his primary.  But other party leaders are dragging the party backward.

Naomi Andu, Clare Proctor, and Miguel Gutierrez, Jr. at Texas Tribune:
On Friday morning, Texas’ top Republican officials, including Gov. Greg Abbott, had condemned four GOP chairs for proliferating conspiracy theories on Facebook. The posts, from chairs of some of the largest counties in Texas, suggested George Floyd’s death was staged to erode black support for President Donald Trump. Meanwhile, a fifth chairperson posted a racist image of a Martin Luther King Jr. quote next to a banana.
On Friday afternoon, The Texas Tribune identified similar posts from seven more GOP chairs across the state. Some of these posts suggested people who have been protesting Floyd’s death across the state and the country were being paid by Jewish billionaire George Soros — an oft-used anti-Semitic trope.
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Charles Blain, the president of Urban Reform, a conservative public policy nonprofit based in Houston, used Twitter to call for reflection within the party: “I’ll say more on this later but the fact that in one day 4 Texas GOP chairs have come under condemnation for racist remarks — including MY county — should make it CLEAR AS DAY that we have a problem in this party and y’all need to talk to more black people.”
The original five chairs — Cynthia Brehm in Bexar County, Sue Piner from Comal County, Jim Kaelin of Nueces County and Lee Lester from Harrison County, as well as Harris County GOP chairperson-elect Keith Nielsen — faced backlash from Democrats and Republicans alike over their social media posts.
But many of the GOP officials who criticized Brehm’s social media posts as inexcusable did not return calls from the Tribune seeking comment about the more recently identified posts from the seven other chairs across the state. Nor did they comment about Facebook posts by Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller that included calls to “start the race war.”
Republican state senator in Virginia known for courting controversy and who is running for governor in 2021 is facing backlash from members of her own party after she said that the removal of Confederate statues is an "overt effort to erase all white history."
Sen. Amanda Chase, whose majority-white district is just west of the capital, Richmond, made related comments in a fundraising email and a video shared Wednesday on Facebook live — a day before Gov. Ralph Northam, a Democrat, announced that statues of Gen. Robert E. Lee and four other Confederate leaders along Richmond's Monument Avenue will be dismantled.
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During a five-minute video on Facebook, Chase said Virginia's "Socialist Democrats" were making a mistake if they did something similar.
"There is an overt effort here to erase white history. That's what they're looking on doing," Chase said. "Listen, our grandfathers were guilty of slavery, and that is wrong. And I denounce that. I feel like slavery is wrong, it is evil. We should never own another human being. But that's not the only thing that Lee and others are known for. They did other things."
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Virginia Senate GOP leaders, including Minority Leader Thomas Norment Jr., denounced Chase's comments in a statement Thursday while also supporting her larger message that the monuments must remain.
"Attempts to eradicate instead of contextualizing history invariably fail," Senate GOP leaders wrote. "And because of this Governor's personal history, the motivations of this decision will always be suspect. Like Senator Chase's idiotic, inappropriate and inflammatory response, his decision is more likely further to divide, not unite, Virginians."
Kevin Valine in The Modesto Bee:
The Latino Community Roundtable is calling for Ted Howze to end his campaign for California’s 10th Congressional District over inflammatory comments on his social media accounts, denigrating Latinos, Muslims, the Black Lives Matter movement and others.
The roundtable issued a news release last week calling for Howze to leave the race and for the local officials who endorsed him to rescind their support and to denounce the hateful statements. The roundtable works to improve the political, social and economic well-being of Stanislaus County Latinos.
“As leaders in our community, we strongly condemn hate speech that degrades Latinos or any other identity group, and we expect the elected officials who represent us to do the same,” states the news release. “The derogatory statements made by Mr. Ted Howze on his social media pages over a period of several years are deeply disturbing and do not reflect the values and diversity of the district that he seeks to represent.”