Support for Trump and Racism is Mainstream in Today's Republican Party

Posted Sept. 23, 2015

MP3 Interview with Chip Berlet, former analyst with Political Research Associates, conducted by Scott Harris


The 2016 presidential campaign has, in the view of many Americans, hit a new low with blatant racist attacks against immigrants, Muslims and other minorities. Some, but not all of the bombast has come from Republican frontrunner, billionaire real estate mogul Donald Trump.

Trump's campaign seeking the GOP presidential nomination has succeeded in leading the pack of 17 candidates on the strength of the reality TV star's national name recognition, but more importantly, on his blatant appeal to racism and intolerance. Trump's hateful rhetoric against Mexicans and his simplistic, fanciful call for the deportation of 11 million undocumented immigrants and overturning the 14th Amendment that provides citizenship to all persons born within U.S. borders, has resonated with many Republicans.

More recently, Trump refused to apologize for his failure to contest a statement from a supporter who declared that America has a Muslim problem and then went on to ask, "When can we get rid of 'em?" That episode along with a statement from GOP candidate Dr. Ben Carson, rejecting the idea of a future Muslim U.S. president, exposed the deep veins of intolerance within the Republican Party. A Sept. 1 PPP poll found Trump's beliefs represent the consensus among the GOP electorate, where 51 percent overall want to eliminate birthright citizenship, 54 percent think President Obama is a Muslim, and only 29 percent believe that President Obama was born in the U.S. Between The Line's Scott Harris spoke with Chip Berlet, a former analyst with Political Research Associates, who has written about racism and intolerance for over four decades. Here, he explains the dangers he sees in mainstream support for racism and xenophobia in today's Republican Party.

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