Earlier this year, I joked that the outrage of NeverTrumpers would lead them to be calling for Republicans to check their white privilege by November.
Little did I know that the NeverTrump candidate would actually base his campaign on a similar premise.
“Donald Trump made it ever more clear that there is a serious problem of racism in the Republican Party. That is the problem,” presidential long-shot Evan McMullin told the Washington Examiner’s Byron York in an interview last week.
To McMullin, the only problem with the GOP, as it is, is racism. He sees no problems with the policies associated with the present party — like entitlement reform, free trade championing and foreign interventionism — and would only like to add minor adjustments such as criminal justice reform. He hopes there’s either a thorough purging of the party of its Trumpists, or a new conservative party is formed in the election’s aftermath.
The reason why there needs to be such a drastic measure is so the center-right can win over minorities and young people. Without these voting demographics going red, the GOP is doomed to electoral oblivion. To win them over, according to McMullin, the GOP must change its “tone,” embrace immigration reform, champion non-economic issues that are popular with the black community and then deliver a stunning denunciation of… crony capitalism.
Yes, crony capitalism — the favored bugaboo of Beltway conservative wonks but not a hot-item with the rest of America.
This is the future desired for the party of American conservatives, as advanced by McMullin. His chief adviser, political consultant Rick Wilson, echoed this vision in an interview on Jamie Weinstein’s podcast and reiterated how conservatives down the road can win national elections by eliminating racism and challenging “crony capitalism.” (RELATED: NeverTrump Strategist Laying Ground Work For New Conservative Party)
It would be a big problem with the GOP if racism was dominating the party and preventing Republicans from resolving the oh-so important crisis of our time: defunding the Export-Import bank.
But the racism deplored here by McMullin and his campaign seems to be the views of a large number of average Republicans. Wanting a reduction in immigration is racist. Thinking a moratorium on Muslim migration is a good idea is an expression of abject bigotry. Opposing criminal justice reform just means you want to jail innocent African Americans.
That’s the implication of thinking there’s a major problem of racism in the GOP. Certainly, many conservatives see Trumpism as a problem and would not like the populist-nationalism ushered in by The Donald to become the dominant ideology of the Republican Party. But to go ahead and say the Trump supporting rank-and-filers are racist goes much further than believing the GOP should choose a different path.
It means Republicans, or the center-right party, doesn’t want the so-called “Middle American Radicals” that have served as the base for Trump’s candidacy — even though they comprise at least a third of the GOP. The new, “positive” center-right vision means no more respect for those who express interest in Muslim moratorium — even though it is supported by nearly 70 percent of Republicans and half of the general public. (RELATED: Americans Have Grown To Like The Idea Of A Temporary Ban On Muslims)
Basically, Republicans must show contempt for reliable voters and make it clear that they will not deign to acknowledge their interests in order to open up relations with solid Democratic voters. There’s no better way to alienate your own voters then to call them racists for not wanting more immigration.
It’s one thing to not want these supporters to dominate the party message. It’s quite another thing to ostracize them in pursuit of other demographics.
This condescending posture is not likely to play out well at the ballot box if it became a predominant theme of party leaders and conservative pundits. If in the unlikely chance the GOP did pursue this idiotic rhetoric, it would also not likely result in significantly more minorities voting red. And certainly not enough to compensate for demanding working-class whites to check their white privilege.
Non-whites don’t vote Republican just because of the party’s alleged “racism” — they’re also not fans of the policies championed by the likes of Paul Ryan. Let’s take Hispanics, as an example. A Pew Research Forum study found that Hispanics overwhelmingly favor big government to limited government, 75 percent to 19 percent. That’s a far larger number than the general population, which is about evenly split on the matter.
One of the core issues of the modern Republican Party is repealing Obamacare. However, Hispanics support the healthcare initiative by a strong majority, unlike the rest of the population, according to a recent CBS poll. It also remains doubtful Hispanics care as much about crony capitalism and the unimaginable horrors of e-cigarette regulations as do the Beltway conservatives cheering on McMullin’s candidacy.
Additionally, it’s highly unlikely African Americans and Hispanics are more open to entitlement reform than the rest of America. Polling shows that over two-thirds of Americans want entitlements like social security kept the way they are with no cuts.
So the new conservative message banks on the hope that a change in tone (translation: no more statements left-leaning journalists find offensive) and a thorough purging of the party will lead to electoral success, with no shred of evidence to support that.
Moreover, the impact of outreach policies such as amnesty and criminal justice reform on America don’t seem to be considered. They are just adopted for the explicit purpose of wooing minority voters.
The lack of actual non-white support for this strategy is evidenced by McMullin himself. The one state he’s competing in the moment, Utah, is not particularly known for its racial diversity. An African-American outreach event he spoke at this week was packed with an almost entirely white crowd, as noted by the black moderator of the event.
It appears the only places this message plays well are lily-white enclaves.
Rather than being a legitimate platform for a more appealing center-right party, the McMullin campaign is simply the manifestation of long-held conservative movement delusions — now with a social justice warrior twist.
At least the message is music to the ears of journalists who’ve longed for a conservative to give voice to their worst stereotypes of Republicans.
But it is unlikely to prove a winning message for Republicans in the years to come.