Douglas M. Bloomfield
Douglas M. Bloomfield

Is the GOP becoming the WPP?

With only a few token Blacks, Jews, Asians and other minorities on its side of the aisle in Washington, the GOP is looking like the WPP — the White People’s Party.  Or as Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, the QAnon congresswoman from Georgia, prefers, America First.  She wants to create a new caucus to promote “Anglo-Saxon political traditions” and “drive President Trump’s America first agenda” by following in his “footsteps.”

She bungled the launch of the America First Caucus, which is another buzzword for White supremacy, but she’ll be back. That’s because it is part of her climb into the leadership of Donald Trump’s MAGA movement in a political party in which where the lunatic fringe is growing.

The far-right Freedom Caucus may have said it was too extreme for them, but that’s more about institutional rivalry than ideology.  It’s more of internecine warfare among GOP/WPP extremists. America First is the phrase historically used by racists, nativists, xenophobes and anti-Semites

Trump didn’t introduce racism to the GOP; he just made it comfortable to bring it out in the open. And he didn’t create the America First movement, despite his incessant boasting.

Since at last the 1920s, the Ku Klux Klan has put it on signs carried in their marches.

By 1940 it was the name adopted by the pro-Nazi, anti-Semitic isolationist movement working to keep America out of World War II.

America First leader Charles Lindbergh told followers, “Jews will not replace us.”  Sound familiar?  It should; that was the chant of neo-Nazis and white nationalist demonstrators at Charlottesville in 2017 who Trump called “fine people.” And it is echoed in the “replacement” rants today by Fox News’ Tucker Carlson.

Replacement rantings led to the enactment of the 1924 National Origins Act drastically limiting immigration.  A leading proponent was the virulently segregationist Senator Ellison “Cotton Ed” Smith of South Carolina, who said was essential to preserving America’s “pure, unadulterated Anglo-Saxon stock.”

That attitude could be seen again this week in the House of Representatives, where Republicans voted unanimously against statehood for the District of Columbia, which just happens to be overwhelmingly non-White and Democratic (that link was reinforced by this vote).  Make no mistake, the issue is race and everything else a smokescreen.

That same appeal to bigotry is echoed today by Republicans in more than 350 bills moving through Republican-dominated legislatures across the country.  They call it election reform, but it is really voter suppression to protect the GOP from an increasingly diverse electorate.  It matters little to them that Trump’s attorney general, William Barr, said he could find no evidence of fraud that would have changed the outcome of the 2020 election.

The real purpose of the so-called “reform” bills is to return to the Jim Crow era and to erect roadblocks for black, brown, immigrant, minority and other citizens who might vote Democratic.  Trump is still spreading the lies about a rigged election, despite having lost by more than 7 million votes with no credible evidence of fraud; in fact, Republicans have lost the popular vote in seven of the last eight presidential elections.

One in five of all voters in 2020 said racial inequality was the deciding factor in how they voted, and of those 92 percent said they cast their ballot for Joe Biden, according to the New York Times exit poll. Overall, Donald Trump took 58 percent of the White vote but only 27 percent of the non-White votes in a population split 67-33 White.

In the current 117th Congress, 83 percent of Democrats are ethnic and racial minorities, compared to 17 percent of Republicans.  That includes 25 Jewish Members of the House plus two Jewish Republicans.  None of the 10 Jewish senators is a Republican.

The two parties today are divided by “policy and a broader clash between white, Christian conservatives and a liberal, multiracial secular elite,” political scientist Lilliana Mason told the New York Times.

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell has spent years blocking civil rights and voting rights legislation passed by the House. He has said reparations for the “sin of slavery” are unnecessary because everyone responsible for black bondage is dead and the slavery issue was resolved by fighting the Civil War, electing a Black president and passing landmark civil and voting rights bills in the 1960s.

It makes one wonder whether those historic civil rights laws could pass today, or McConnell and Republicans would try to filibuster them to death.

Former President George W. Bush described today’s Republican Party as “isolationist, protectionist and, to a certain extent, nativist.”  He decried the “harsh rhetoric” about immigration.

He made no mention of Greene’s America First Caucus, Trump or the culture wars, but his call for more bipartisanship sounded closer to Joe Biden than today’s GOP/WPP.

The party known for its 3 G’s — Guns, Gays and God — now has a new 3 G’s — Greene, Gosar and Gaetz.

Greene, a self-promoting conspiracy theorist considered anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim, will be remembered for discovering the Jewish space laser that was used to ignite California’s forest fires.

Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Arizona) was originally reported to be Greene’s partner but when criticism erupted he bailed.  It would have been a good fit. He insisted he’s been “championing” “America First work” for years. In last year’s election, seven of his siblings denounced him for his “deceit and anti-Semitic dog whistle.”

Most of Greene’s colleagues may be in denial for the moment but one had the courage to quickly enlist in her cause, which has been dubbed the Ku Klux Kaucus, “I’m proud to join,” tweeted Rep. Matt Gaetz. “We will end wars, stop illegal immigration & promote trade that is fair to American workers.”

Gaetz is making other news these days as the libidinous Trump wannabe under Justice Department investigation over a possible sexual relationship with an underage girl.

Others on the lunatic fringe who initially indicated they were considering joining Green’s group with have since fled the scene.

She insists her Anglo-Saxon caucus wouldn’t be racist because it’s open to “every American, of every race, creed and color.”  As long as they’re white and Christian like her, I presume. The term Anglo-Saxon is defined as white, English-speaking gentiles, just as America First has historically provoked thoughts of pro-Nazi, anti-Semitic isolationism.

Sen. McConnell accused Greene of being a “cancer” on the GOP and spreading “loony lies and conspiracy theories,” but in a party whose House delegation includes the likes of Gaetz, Gosar, Louie Gohmert, Barry Moore, Andy Biggs, Lauren Boebert, Mo Brooks, Madison Cawthorn and Jim Jordan she’s got a lot of company.

Is the GOP becoming the WPP?

About the Author
Douglas M. Bloomfield is a syndicated columnist, Washington lobbyist and consultant. He spent nine years as the legislative director and chief lobbyist for AIPAC.
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