Tag: nikki haley
Byron Donalds

For Republicans, Turning History Upside Down Is The Point

It turns out Nikki Haley stumbling over the cause of the Civil War was not a one-off.

The topsy-turvy twisting of American history, as it applies to Black Americans — their resilience and contributions despite injustice — is a tactic, a well-planned cynical one. And recent perpetrators don’t even have the decency to make a half-hearted attempt at backtracking, as Haley eventually and reluctantly managed to do after being called out on her amnesia about slavery.

Now politicians are standing proudly as they try to co-opt the language and history of the Civil Rights movement, which fought for equal rights for all and forced America to take a step toward living up to its ideals.

Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is a master, presenting himself as a billionaire victim and inviting his supporters to follow. But dishonest is too mild a word for politicians when they do everything but break into a chorus of “We Shall Overcome” to sideline the legacy of Americans who truly had to.

In the Florida of Gov. Ron DeSantis, it was not a surprise when the state’s Transportation Department told cities that if they chose to light up their bridges at night, the only acceptable colors would be red, white and blue. The prohibition, set to last between Memorial Day and Labor Day, was widely seen as using an aura of patriotism to preempt the tradition of displaying rainbow colors during June for Pride Month.

But did DeSantis have to label it a part of the state’s “Freedom Summer,” a name that powerfully resonates in American history?

Freedom Summer, also known as the Mississippi Summer Project, was a 1964 voter registration drive — the brainchild of Bob Moses of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee — that brought hundreds of white volunteers to join with African Americans to register Black voters in the state. The intimidation and violence they faced led to international attention, outrage and the eventual passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

For DeSantis — who has gerrymandered Black voters out of representation, thwarted voters’ efforts to restore voting rights to former felons and fought against having just such history taught in Florida schools — his version of “Freedom Summer” was no doubt intentional.

Staying in Florida, Republican U.S. House member Byron Donalds has been making the rounds defending statements he made at a Philadelphia event designed to attract Black voters to the GOP.

“You see, during Jim Crow, the Black family was together. During Jim Crow, more Black people were not just conservative — Black people have always been conservative-minded — but more Black people voted conservatively,” he said, as reported by The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Rather than explain away his comments, Donalds should travel to Mims, Fla., for a lesson in Jim Crow’s effect on Black families in his own state. A cultural center tells of Harry T. and Harriette Moore, teachers whose Civil Rights activism cost them first their jobs, and then their lives, when a bomb exploded under their bedroom. It was Christmas night 1951 and the couple’s 25th anniversary.

When their daughter Evangeline Moore died in 2015 at the age of 85, her Washington Post obituary recounted a last message. “My mother told me from her deathbed that she never wanted me to ever think about hating white people — or anybody else,” Ms. Moore told the Orlando Sentinel in 2009, “because it would make me ugly, and she didn’t want me to be an ugly woman.”

That Donalds is a Black man doesn’t excuse his message. Considering that he owes the possibility of his rise to activists like the Moores, it might make it worse.

Then there’s a North Carolina GOP congressman’s rush to the bottom. Rep. Dan Bishop is making a bid to be his state’s attorney general, running against Jeff Jackson, a Democratic congressman gerrymandered out of any chance to be reelected to his own House seat.

Though he aspires to be the state’s top legal adviser, Bishop has joined fellow Republicans’ disdain for the country’s justice system after it held Donald Trump to account in a New York courtroom, with a jury convicting the former president on 34 felony counts.

Bishop did not stop there, though. “When I say it’s rigged, they don’t go into it as a fair fight,” he said in an interview on Charlotte radio station WBT. “They go into a place where they know the fight is unfair. It’s as bad as it was in Alabama in 1950 if a person happened to be Black in order to get justice. That’s what they did in New York,” he said.

Bishop actually compared a man with a high-priced defense who helped pick a jury in the jurisdiction in which the crimes were charged to a Black man in Alabama in 1950.

There was not much justice for the victim or perpetrator in Alabama in 1950 for Hilliard Brooks Jr.,a 22-year-old Black man murdered on Aug. 13 of that year in Montgomery, after he was accused by a white bus driver of “creating a disturbance” for refusing to enter through the back door. He was shot by a white police officer, though no one was ever charged, and left behind a wife and two children.

His story and thousands of others are told at the Legacy Sites in Montgomery, a museum and memorial complex that’s an essential visit for any American, particularly one who would ask the diverse citizens of a Southern state to trust him to interpret and enforce the law fairly.

Now, laws that prohibit the teaching of African American history make sense. It’s so much easier to sell lies if the next generations don’t know the truth.

Bishop and Donalds, DeSantis and Trump know what they’re doing, as do all the politicians who would erase and replace in their bid to divide and conquer. In fact, Bishop was defiant, saying “the people who attack me for saying so can attack all they want.”

Sadly, those attacks he knew were coming might actually help him ingratiate himself, not only with his party’s leader but also with voters who find comfort in playing victim, too.

Reprinted with permission from Roll Call.

Whose Votes Does Biden Need To Win -- Hard Left Or Haley Republicans?

Whose Votes Does Biden Need To Win -- Hard Left Or Haley Republicans?

Barack Obama got it right. He refused to be held captive to his party's left wing. He adopted a strenuous policy of border enforcement, even as some Latino activists threatened to withhold their support for him. He had tense relations with Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu, but when anti-Israel protesters interrupted a Biden fundraiser over the Gaza conflict, Obama reprimanded them: "Here's the thing, you can't just talk and not listen." And the hall broke into applause.

Should Biden worry about keeping members of the Democrats' perpetually unhappy left on his team come November? Not to the extent that it costs broader public support — or goes against U.S. interests. The far left's power comes not in its big numbers but in its members' ability to bully Democrats into taking positions that cost them elections.

It's happened time and again. During the 2000 presidential campaign, prominent leftists urged followers to vote for spoiler Ralph Nader instead of the moderate Democrat Al Gore. A handful of Nader votes in Florida delivered the presidency to George W. Bush. In 2016, Bernie Sanders and many followers slashed the tires under Hillary Clinton's campaign, thus helping elect Donald Trump, who had cleverly egged them on.

Many of the disrupters waving Palestinian flags feel genuine despair at the Gaza horror. They have much company in this. But a lot of what they're after is attention. Getting pats on the head on social media is more important than helping defeat Donald Trump.

Exactly what was the point of pro-Palestinian demonstrators' disrupting an Easter Vigil mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral other than to get on the news? They know where the cameras are.

Come November, the hard left may deprive Biden of some needed votes. How much wiser to concentrate on Nikki Haley Republicans in the battlegrounds where moderate Republicans reside. And the Biden campaign is reportedly doing that.

According to a February Quinnipiac poll, 37% of Republican-leaning voters who supported Haley said they'd vote for Biden. That doesn't include the percentage of Republicans who would simply sit out an election that has Trump on the ballot.

Biden can't emphasize enough his support for the border enforcement bill that Trump had killed precisely because it would have worked, thus depriving him of a potent campaign issue. Any notion that this stance would turn off Latino voters is belied by polls showing Trump actually gaining some support among them as well as Blacks. And that's despite Trump's talking about mass deportations.

Perhaps Blacks and Latinos want different things from their political leaders than having their identities massaged. Other polls show illegal immigration — as well as crime — rank high on the list of these voters' concerns.

No surprise there. Poorly controlled borders intensify competition for workers without college degrees. These jobs are in construction, manufacturing, restaurants and hotels, retail — positions that are heavily occupied by people of color.

Contained in Obama's message to the anti-Israel left was the reality that the conflict in Gaza is complicated. But when you get down to the Squad level on the left, the problem isn't so much what many believe as their lack of depth in understanding the issues.

Trump Republicans can't help but love them. Here are would-be Democrats helping a candidate who, as president, introduced a ban on Muslims even entering the country — and says he would restore it in a second term.

Haley voters could well be the key to a Biden victory, especially if the president doesn't torment them with woke nonsense. Biden needs to keep Democrats united as is politically doable while getting the never-Trump Republicans to actually cast a vote — if not whole-heartedly for him, at least for the democracy.

Reprinted with permission from Creators.

For 'Reagan Republicans,' A Third Party Is The Coward's Way Out

For 'Reagan Republicans,' A Third Party Is The Coward's Way Out

During the all-too-brief one-on-one contest between Nikki Haley and Donald Trump for the Republican presidential nomination, there was a good deal of analysis declaring it the last stand of the Reaganite vision for the GOP versus the MAGA takeover. That was the wishiest of wishful thinking — and not just because such large segments of the current Republican Party delight in Trump. It's also because the Reaganite wing has made such a poor showing for itself.

It's generous to call the desiccated exoskeleton of Reaganism a "wing" at all, and frankly, the use of the term "Reaganism" is not really accurate anyway. What people mean when they use the term is traditional Republicanism, which includes belief in free enterprise, smaller government, freer trade, respect for the Constitution, dedication to American world leadership and social conservatism, among other ideals. Republicans who continue to adhere to those principles embraced Haley as the last man (as it were) standing.

One reason there weren't more traditional Republicans was on display in a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed. The world might look very different if traditional Republicans had been willing to stand firm for their values when they came under assault from an ignorant, cruel demagogue. So I was briefly optimistic when I saw that an honest-to-goodness Reaganite, John Lehman, who served as secretary of the Navy under Reagan, had weighed in. The headline was promising: "Reagan Would Never Vote for Trump." But after that bold beginning, the subhead was deflating: "He also didn't care much for Biden. Like me, he'd be looking for a strong third-party candidate to support."

Let's unpack that subhead. Reagan may not have "cared much" for Biden in the 1980s; most conservatives didn't. But we cannot say how Reagan would view the 2024 Biden; many former Republicans like me consider him the more conservative choice in the most important respects, i.e., respect for the rule of law and adherence to the Constitution. As Lehman itemizes in his piece, Trump's departure from conservative ideals — or just plain American ideals — are "horrifying," including his "naked admiration of our enemies," "praise for Hezbollah," contempt for allies, and incessant denigration of America as a "third world country" and a "laughingstock."

One might suppose that given all of that and so much more, Lehman would counsel that Trump's reelection would be a disaster and, accordingly, that he would vote for Biden. But no, Lehman makes a feeble accusation in the final paragraph that Biden has "turned his platform over to socialist Bernie Sanders" and accordingly, Lehman will vote for the No Labels candidate.

That's rubbish. Biden has done no such thing. Lehman, like so many who should know better, is failing to take responsibility for the decision we must all make. His longing for purity is overwhelming his judgment. If Trump is reelected, none of the things he worked for as Navy secretary is safe.

Anything that erodes the anti-Trump coalition makes it more likely that Trump will prevail. So those who vow to write in a non-Trump Republican, or who, like Lehman, will vote for the No Labels candidate, are increasing the chances that a man who promises to pardon the Jan. 6 insurrectionists, imprison his critics and become an ally of Russia, will be elected.

The No Labels candidacy is cotton candy. Though advertised as providing a "unity ticket" that will provide "common sense" solutions for America's problems, the reality is that No Labels has no chance of winning 270 electoral college votes. Last year, they predicted that they would achieve ballot access in 32 states by now. Instead, they have access in only 16 states. Oh, and No Labels might as well be called No Candidate. Like dominoes, one possible candidate after another has turned down their offer to run: Jon Huntsman, Joe Manchin, Larry Hogan, Kyrsten Sinema, Nikki Haley, Ken Buck, Brian Kemp and, just this week, Geoff Duncan.

As William Galston, a founder of No Labels who broke with the group last year, has explained, there are more moderate voters in the Democratic Party than in the GOP. Accordingly, No Labels will attract more Democrats than Republicans.

No Labels claims that it is only interested in fielding a ticket that can win outright and has no desire to serve as a spoiler. But polling shows that even a nationally known figure like Haley would only claim 9% of the vote in a four-way race that also contained Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Their projections also presume that a No Labels candidate would carry states that Biden won by double-digit margins in 2020.

No Labels is playing a dangerous game. Some believe it has forfeited the benefit of the doubt and is a full-fledged stalking horse for Trump. It wouldn't be so dangerous were it not for feckless lightweights like John Lehman.

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

Haley Is Out, But Deep Wound In Republican Party Remains Unhealed

Haley Is Out, But Deep Wound In Republican Party Remains Unhealed

Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley suspended her campaign on Wednesday, leaving Donald Trump as the last Republican presidential candidate standing. Again.

But as she announced the end of the campaign, Haley did not endorse Trump. “I have always been a conservative Republican and always supported the Republican nominee,” said Haley. Then she cited former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in saying, “Never just follow the crowd. Always make up your own mind.”

“It is now up to Donald Trump to earn the votes of those in our party and beyond it who did not support him,” she continued. “And I hope he does that.”

While her departure may mean that Trump can coast through the remaining primaries, it certainly doesn’t mean that the open wound in the Republican Party is going to heal.

A better understanding of how the Haley campaign feels about Trump and Trump supporters might be gleaned from this exchange between Haley’s communications director, Nachama Soloveichik, and Trump supporter Kari Lake, the front-runner for the Republican nomination in Arizona’s Senate race.

Haley’s whole primary campaign was based on the knowledge of the subset of Republican voters who say they won’t vote for Trump in November. Even in Trump’s wins on Super Tuesday, Haley picked up 23 percent of Republican votes in North Carolina, 29 percent in Minnesota, and 35 percent in Virginia, with 95 percent or more of the total vote reported in each state. Those are all states that Trump desperately needs to keep in his win column.

Even in deep-red states like Tennessee and Arkansas, Trump is walking away with less than 80 percent of the vote. That doesn’t mean these states are likely to swing to President Joe Biden in November, but it is a good signal that a significant portion of the GOP is unwilling to hold their nose and go MAGA. It’s fair to read much of the vote Haley has received not as showing their love for the ex-governor, but as showing their distrust of the party’s authoritarian leader.

“I don’t know. I did not vote for Biden the last time,” said one former Republican who bolted from the party in the last year. “I don’t know that I could do it this time. But I don’t know if I could vote for Trump.”

The schism goes both ways. As Daily Kos’ Kerry Eleveld reported on Tuesday, Trump is engaged in a purge of the Republican Party. He has declared that moderate Republicans are no longer welcome and that Haley supporters are “permanently barred” from joining the MAGA elite.

With Trump’s daughter-in-law Lara Trump set to empty the party’s remaining funds into Trump’s account, and Trump making it clear that there is no party outside of MAGA, those voters who have voted against Trump in the primaries may find there’s no home for them remaining in the Republican Party. Though they may have a home elsewhere.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell may have managed a half-hearted endorsement, but former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney can’t bring himself to go even that far.

“I think we agree that we have looked at his behavior, and his behavior suggests that this is a person who will impose his will if he can, on the judicial system[,] on the legislative branch, and on the entire nation,” Romney said on “Meet the Press” in December.

Meanwhile, Trump says the Republican Party is getting rid of the Romneys. “We want to get Romneys and those out,” Trump told the crowd at a Virginia rally recently. Haley responded with a statement that “Trump is actively rejecting people from the Republican Party — a losing strategy in November and a recipe for extinction in the long run.”

We can only hope.

For at least two decades, the Republican Party has become increasingly hostile to anyone who didn’t hold to a very specific set of conservative beliefs. That requirement already cost Republicans the moderates and liberals who used to exist in their party.

The entry of Trump has upended the entire Republican platform, replacing it with the One Commandment: Obey Trump.

The party going to the polls in November is not McConnell’s party, or Romney’s party, or anything that would be recognized by any Republican candidate going back to Abraham Lincoln. It’s a classical authoritarian party, devoted to the rule of just one man—the one who says he’d beat Lincoln even if the 16th president teamed up with George Washington.

There’s no doubt that Trump’s cultish followers are enthusiastic to see their golden calf perched back on his altar, and Republican dissidents may wander home before November. But right now, the Republican Party appears to be split between those who want to see democracy only weakened and those who want to see it completely stripped away.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

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