Cutting taxes on rich > combating racism

Damn did I love German Lopez’s post on Paul Ryan and Trump yesterday:

Let’s be clear with what Ryan is saying here: A presidential candidate making blatantly racist remarks is regrettable, but tolerable as long as he supports massive tax cuts for the wealthy, reforming Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare, and changing welfare programs. Those are generally the focuses of Ryan’s agenda, and the last item was the point of his press conference in the first place.

This is what economists sometimes call a “revealed preference.” If you just asked an elected Republican whether he cared more about holding the line on racism or taxes, you might not get a real answer. But Trump is forcing those choices to actually be made, and tax cuts are winning…

It is, of course, entirely possible to support tax cuts, entitlement and welfare program reforms, and the rest of the conservative economic agenda without being blatantly racist or making blatantly racist comments. Ryan proves that, as do other Republican candidates who ran for president and lost, including Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, and John Kasich.

But in trying to achieve their agenda, Republicans are aligning with someone whom they are, at the same time, criticizing for “textbook” racism. It’s a hard position for the conservative movement, but politicians should be clear about what they’re saying.

And Vox’s Andrew Prokop as well:

Indeed, Trump’s racism has now become so unmistakable that leading Republicans are no longer even trying to deny that it exists. Instead, they’ve moved to acknowledging it and condemning it — but maintain that Trump is worth supporting anyway…

This is the position Republican elites have put themselves in: arguing that despite Trump’s racism, he should still be the next president of the United States because of his views on other policy issues. That Trump’s racism is an unfortunate thing but something they’re willing to live with. That opposition to racism is no longer a bedrock value of the Republican Party but rather something that can be compromised away.

This might strike some as incoherent, but it’s arguably clarifying. After all, Republican voters overwhelmingly believe that “discrimination against whites has become as big a problem as discrimination against blacks and other minorities,” according to the Public Religion Research Institute’s American Values Survey:

It is clear that GOP voters don’t view bigotry against Hispanic Americans as a particularly big problem in this day and age. And in announcing that he’ll continue to support Trump despite his “textbook” racist comments, Ryan is simply moving where his party’s voters already are — and clarifying the decision the American electorate as a whole faces.

I actually have genuine sympathy for non-racist, committed Republicans.  They are in a tough spot.  But the more Trump is Trump, the more he is making it easier for them to actually do the right thing.

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State

2 Responses to Cutting taxes on rich > combating racism

  1. rgbact says:

    Meh, last polls I saw says 70% of Democrats would still support Hillary if indicted. Hell, the entire Clinton legacy has been about Democrats looking the other way for the “greater good”. Sure he molests women….but he’s for women’s programs!. Trump is simply the Republicans answer to Clintonesque politics.

  2. R. Jenrette says:

    Trump is Archie Bunker’s vision of what it is to be a rich and powerful man.

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