Donald Trump, the KKK, and the GOP

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump during a campaign rally in Madison, Ala., on Feb. 28.

By JULEANNA GLOVER – – – – –

Juleanna Glover is a corporate consultant and Republican policy and communications adviser who has served on the staffs of George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, John Ashcroft, and others. She has co-hosted fundraisers for former Florida governor Jeb Bush. She is on Twitter: @juleannaglover.

For months, Donald Trump has engaged in “dog whistle” politics (“appealing to the ‘silent majority’ … and promising ‘law and order,’ ” the Daily Beast noted last year). His refusal on Sunday to disavow the KKK’s support for his candidacy–no matter how glitchy his earpiece–was on par with switching to a bullhorn.

 

 

Much has been said about the relevance of  Mr. Trump’s success to the need for change in the Republican Party. His penchant for playing to people’s racial or ethnic prejudices or insecurities underlines the split within the GOP. “This party does not prey on people’s prejudices,” House Speaker Paul Ryansaid Tuesday. GOP leaders may well concludethat Trump voters should no longer be part of the demographic calculus to pick their nominee in this cycle or in 2020. It’s not clear yet what it would look like if many Republicans feel a moral compunction to break with Mr. Trump–but crafting policies that appeal to Trump voters who support obvious bigotry appears to be incompatible to the GOP party and policy structure as we know it.

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