So for all the schadenfreude surrounding the recent fall of Steve Bannon and Breitbart, the immigration debate that continues to rage illustrates just how prevalent the demons within the Republican Party really are.
It’s not just the Bannon's of the world who fuel the Republican Party’s association with racism and white nationalism. It’s the entire party’s legacy on public policy issues like immigration. It’s the hateful rhetoric advanced by GOP mouthpieces like Laura Ingraham, Lou Dobbs and Sean Hannity who shamelessly broadcast and normalize anti-immigrant attitudes while Republicans like Steve King (R-IA), Louie Gohmert (R-TX), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Jeff Sessions pander to them.
Or, as the world just witnessed, it’s the president of the United States using shockingly crude language to denigrate a vast swathe of black and brown people while implying that immigrants from a majority-white nation would be welcomed. Is it a racial dog whistle if everyone can hear it?
With comments like these coming from the White House, it’s not rocket science to imagine why someone like Sheriff Joe feels emboldened to run for United States Senate. The ugly truth is that the Republican Party of Donald Trump doesn’t need a Steve Bannon or Breitbart to act as its emissaries to the alt-right.
Now Republicans need to ask themselves: How low are you willing to go? Because if there really is a war going on right now between those who want to “make America great again” and everyone else, do you really think you’ll be able to win with a racist on your left and a white nationalist on your right?
Kurt Bardella is a political commentator who recently left the Republican Party to join the Democratic Party. He is a former spokesperson for Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), Brian Bilbray (R-CA), Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME) and Breitbart News.