Republicans, it’s your Turn! How White Resentment and the Making of the Conservative “Fringe” Party Can Save the Republican Party


Dr. Yven Destin and


Today’s Republican Party is fractured. To get a sense of this rupture, you simply have to type in the Google search bar, “what is wrong with the r” and immediately the search engine autocompletes the inquiry with “Republican Party?” If you read the articles in the search results then the answer to the question emerges: Americans believe the Party has progressively become too extreme over the years.[1] And with presidential choices like fame entrepreneur Donald Trump, who panders to racists and xenophobes, and U.S. Senator Ted Cruz representing the Tea Party, an ultra-conservative group, it would seem that the Republican Party has veered toward the reactionary edges of the Party, much to the dismay of mainstream Republicans.

This reactionary edge is known in politics as the right-wing or the Far Right of conservatism. It characterizes people with extreme political positions, who believe government is the enemy of the people. This is in opposition to the left-wing or the Far Left liberals, who believe government can solely solve the biggest problems in society like income inequality.[2] Without a sense of political history one could easily get the impression that Far Right and Left groups are nothing more than natural developments within the Republican and Democratic Parties. It is certainly true that there will always be individuals who believe people should see the world only through their political lens. Political parties, as a result, perform a balancing act to maintain their political message in the face of such party extremists who volley a radical message.

However, what we are witnessing with the Republican Party during this 2016 presidential season is not its party members’ natural and usual reaction to mildly distance themselves from these extremists. Rather, we are seeing a political party realizing that its radical base is not and has never been the conservative group they once thought it was. By now, it should be clear that the people we identify as the Republican Far Right did not emerge from the Republican Party. They do not abide by Republican values nor have they been interested in the party’s agenda to diversify the conservative electorate these past few years. This group of malcontented Americans are racist, xenophobic, and even sexist. We should know them, explains progressive columnist Ezra Klein, for their white resentment, their anger and hurt evolving from what they fear is the loss of white privilege.[3]

These are the people supporting Trump and Cruz (to some extent), in much the same way they supported presidential candidate Barry Goldwater and his acolyte Ronald Reagan in the 1960s whose message of less government and stronger U.S. military gained strong appeal, igniting a modern conservative movement. In much the same way it is happening today, their ideas in the 1960s pandered to the racist sensibilities of segregationists, the John Birch Society, the Ku Klux Klan and the like. History shows that today’s right-wing conservative groups have their historical roots in America’s racial legacy. It is here we can begin to understand the origins of this white resentment. The conservatism of Trump and Cruz,[4] much like Goldwater and Reagan, appeals to this resentment in fringe groups, which first infected the Democratic Party in the 1890s, then the Republican Party in the 1960s, and which now stands poised to become a break-away, stand-alone political party in the 2010s.

Because of white resentment in the conservative right wing, the modern conservative movement seems to be entering a postmodern phase where it may likely split into a conservative “fringe” party with Trump or Cruz at the helm. The split will ultimately save the Republican Party from self-destruction.


Race at the core of the movement

America in 1948: Birth of the Modern Conservative Movement

The modern conservative movement actually begins with a Democrat: U.S. President Harry Truman in 1948, and his attempt to wrestle the American presidency from the grips of political factions within the Democratic Party. These factions developed out of the “racism question” in the American South. Since 1865, Abraham Lincoln’s emancipation of slavery after the American Civil War expanded the voting electorate of the Republican Party to include black citizens, which gave the party greater political influence at the federal and state level, North and South of the Mason Dixon line.[5] During this time, blacks began holding public office and enlarging their civil rights. However, by the 1890s, Southern “white” Democrats succeeded in suppressing the black Republican vote, winning several state legislatures in the South and overturning laws that protected blacks.[6]

Slavery evolved into Jim Crow laws that discriminated against blacks in the South. Southern states like Alabama and Mississippi established separate but equal policies, which segregated blacks from whites in every sphere of Southern life. By law, blacks had to sit at the back of the bus, use inferior restrooms and attend schools designated only for them. Blacks (and sometimes poor whites) had to take a literacy test to vote, which they mostly failed, as most blacks in the South at that time could not read. And for those blacks who were literate, they faced a registrar who would have them take the “jellybean test,” in which they had to guess the number of jellybeans in a jar to be eligible to cast a vote.[7] Segregation permeated even religious life as Bible-based evangelical communities found a way to coexist with the Christian axiom and the social mores of Southern hospitality to “love thy neighbor” but not thy blacks. The Democratic Party represented such racist communities, which were largely discriminatory against people seeking to change their “Southern way of life.” Under the leadership of the Democratic Party, these states had the political support to maintain this Southern culture – that is until 1948.

Figure 1. Images of racial segregation: An African-American man drinking at a “colored” drinking fountain (Left); A black man goes into the “colored” entrance of a movie theater (Right)[8]


That year, Harry Truman became the first Democrat to win the presidential election without the full support of the Southern states.[9] At the advice of his political advisors at the Democratic National Convention, Truman embraced a civil rights agenda that would bring in support of urban black voters in the Northern states in hopes of winning the presidency. However, Truman’s support of civil rights owed less to his progressive support than to a capitulation of the reality of 1948 America: the Democrats could not expect to win the presidency without carrying the black vote in the Northern states, which meant offending the Party’s Jim Crow loving Southern supporters. Predictably, Truman’s civil rights agenda, which included cracking down on lynching and integrating the armed forces, so enraged Southerners at the convention and other Democrats (who did not find Truman’s policies progressive enough) that it fractured the Democratic Party.  Southern Democrats at the convention formed, “in true dramatic fashion,”[10] a political party of their own called the “Dixiecrat Party” that focused on the protection of states’ rights and segregation policies that they adapted into a campaign slogan “Segregation Forever!”[11]

The Dixiecrats and its party leader Strom Thurmond, an unabashed segregationist, led the party revolt against the Democrats and their civil rights agenda that, over the years, expanded to include the integration of schools, public services, and, ultimately, the nation itself after the signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which ended Jim Crow in the South. It was that year that Goldwater provided the ideology and conservative principles of less government and more freedom that appealed to the Dixiecrats and its supporters in the South. Southerners soon abandoned their Democratic values for Republican ones, abandoning the Democratic idea of big government that should have protected their Jim Crow way of life. They became attached to Republican values of less government that would allow more freedom to live the Jim Crow life they wanted. Reagan’s 1964 speech, “A Time for Choosing,” soon after expressed the anger many Southerners felt at the time and helped align their frustration with conservative values. Southern Democrats became Republicans, while black Republicans became Democrats amid the civil rights movement sweeping the nation. The inversion created the modern conservative movement, which absorbed the evangelical South, based on the dangers of government and protection of freedoms.[12]


America in 2008: Birth of the Postmodern Conservative Movement

            Today’s conservative movement may be undergoing a postmodern change, whereby the radical right wing is primed to depart from its political home in the Republican Party.[13] The postmodern conservative movement begins with a Democrat, U.S. President Barack Obama in 2008 and the vitriol that followed after he “pushed through a billion-dollar stimulus plan and a takeover of the health care industry.”[14]  In his first year in office, Obama was greeted with protests for taking drastic measures to remedy the financial disaster and a broken healthcare system. Conservatives and the offshoot group, the Tea Party, were dismayed when Obama succeeded in passing these major legislations without Republican support. At the same time, conservatives would not have expected anything less from a Democrat president who received overwhelming majority support from Democrats in Congress in light of the dismal presidency of Republican President George W. Bush.

Having left the oval office with the “longest sustained period of public disapproval ever recorded,”[15] Bush all but destroyed the Republican brand, causing the largest sweep of Democrats elected into office. Bush left the Republican Party in such shambles that by the time Barack Obama began his campaign for the presidency, Rolling Stone Magazine had already declared, “No matter who wins the presidency, the new Congress will almost certainly include a greatly enlarged Democratic majority in the House and a clear Democratic majority in the Senate”—and it did.[16] It was against the backdrop of the financial collapse, broken healthcare, and one-party control of the government that Obama suddenly faced questions from right-wing conservatives about his American citizenship and eligibility to be president during his presidential campaign and the years following his election. His speculators became known as “Birthers,” individuals who believed President Barack Obama is not a natural-born U.S. citizen and therefore ineligible for the presidency.[17]

Birtherism evolved into a conservative movement when political candidates, entertainment celebrities, and media commentators began publically discussing birthers’ contention with Obama as perhaps an undercover Muslim.[18] In June 2008, the conservative National Review Online called for President Obama to release his birth certificate to debunk the myths.[19] Not once, in 235 years, has a president been demanded to prove his birth on American soil.[20] Yet, later that month, Obama, feeling that the move might indeed allay the concerns of the wider American public, released a copy of his certificate of live birth, but as suspected, “Birther” conspiracy theorists were unconvinced and demanded to see the full original.[21] The Birtherism issue, as sociologist Matthew Hughey observed, “remained relatively sustained from late 2008 to mid-2011”—well into Obama’s first-term presidency.[22] By then, Birtherism dominated right-wing media as pundits and authors debated and published books questioning the legitimacy of Obama’s citizenship,[23] like Jerome R. Corsi’s book Where’s the Birth Certificate? and Birther and Tea Party activist Joseph Farah’s The Case that Barack Obama is not Eligible to be President. Lawsuits were filed challenging the president’s eligibility.[24] Crude fake certificates of Obama’s Kenyan birth circulated social media, along with political caricatures of the president’s face superimposed on a photo of a family of three chimpanzees with a caption that read, “Now you know why no birth certificate.”[25] Then, in April 2011, Donald Trump in his first presidential bid reignited the Birther controversy when he “claimed credit for President Barack Obama’s release of his ‘long form’ birth certificate,” released early that month.[26] Throughout the course of the controversy, the Republican Party seemed to support Birthers as party members seldom criticized the group’s actions. The Party’s tacit support of Birtherism seems evident since, according to Public Policy Polling, Birther advocates comprised of a majority of its Party members.[27] Under the leadership of the Republican Party, birthers were able to espouse their views until present time.


Figure 2. Racist political caricature of President Obama superimposed on a family of three chimpanzees (Left);[28] Man engaged in a rebel yell in front of the White House (Right)[29]


This year, it seems that mainstream Republicans have had enough of their radical base (Birthers, Tea Partiers and the like) when such right-wing groups found their mouthpiece in Trump and Cruz—presidential hopefuls whose angry rhetoric of alienation and resentment toward the government panders to the extremes of the Party. Mainstream Republicans were angered by Trump’s calls for a ban on all Muslim travel to the U.S. and have loathed Cruz for his extreme tactics to shut down the government at the Party’s expense. Mainstream Republicans began mildly distancing themselves from Trump and Cruz, whose campaigns seemed to paint the party as angry with the government and divided on message. Longtime conservative writer Peter Wehner called Trump a “pernicious figure” and a threat to the Party and encouraged fellow Republicans to denounce him.[30] Terry Branstad, the four-term governor of Iowa and the face of Republican establishment in the state went on record that he hoped that Cruz would not win the Iowa caucuses, site of the first caucus in the 2016 presidential primaries.[31] In response to these criticisms, both candidates, railed against members of the Party establishment, which has ironically only garnered each of them more support.[32]

Indeed, despite the rebuke from mainstream Party members, Trump and Cruz have collectively garnered enough conservative support to take over the mainstream Republican Party, winning first and second place in the Iowa Caucus. Their successes signal a sea change in the Republican electorate, from conservatives who supported establishment Republican efforts to repeal Obamacare and the president’s foreign policies to more broadly supporting a right-wing effort to “win back America” and reigniting America’s so-called “promise”—rhetoric that panders to fringe groups like Birthers, the John Birch Society, and pseudo-Dixiecrats, who feel they are losing the country. But the question left unanswered in the minds of critical thinkers is: losing the country to whom? These fringe groups represent angry conservatives, who according to Robert Smith, a San Francisco State University political scientist, hate the president and feel that “Obama’s major achievement is a transfer from middle-income white people to low-income minorities.”[33] And, in light of the party dispute between the Republican establishment and the Far Right, these right-wing extremists seem set on leaving their Republican political home, to join Trump, who is threatening a possible independent run for president if the Republican National Committee (RNC) doesn’t nominate him or condemn his opponents for their attacks against him.[34] Be it Trump or Cruz, the people supporting them may indeed seek a break from the Republican Party. We can expect the departure of this party fringe, which, as history has shown, will abandon their national party to make a political point (as when such malcontented Democrats joined the Republican Party 1964) and may now finally have found their place as a separate Fringe Party in 2016, perhaps under an innocuous name like the “Populist Party.”



The parallel development and evolution of radical political groups in 1948 and 2008 ultimately show that such groups choose to switch parties when their political party supports an inclusive America that embraces Black Americans. Fringe groups “party switch” out of a feeling of extreme betrayal, believing that their political party is putting the interests of Black people and other minorities ahead of theirs. This was the case for fringe groups who felt betrayed by their party in 1948 when Truman and the Democratic Party embraced a civil rights agenda, and set in motion the revolt of the segregationist Dixiecrats, and later their 1964 party switch to the Republican Party. Fringe groups felt betrayed again by their party in 2008 when Republicans allowed a black man, Barack Obama, to become president and enforce sweeping legislations. This has led to a party revolt of today’s Far Right factions and their likely party switch to perhaps the Tea Party or creation of their own party under another name in 2016.

This intense betrayal is felt by such groups who, Smith argued, perceive “a transfer from middle-income white people to low-income minorities.”  In 1948, whites feared a transfer of political power from them to Blacks. Malcontented Southerners felt betrayed by the Democratic Party’s embrace of civil rights since an agenda to integrate the South racially would shift the power balance from whites to blacks. A closer analysis of the breakaway Dixiecrats, during the 1948 presidential campaign, reveals they “gained mass support in states and counties where black citizens were the most numerous” and “white voters in those states were the most determined to preserve racial segregation and black disenfranchisement and thus were more likely to vote for the Dixiecrats.”[35] In other words, whites in Southern states, who had the most to lose in terms of political power to a large disenfranchised black population, supported fringe groups like the Dixiecrats. For them, the Democratic Party’s support of a civil rights agenda would have tipped the racial balance of these Southern communities, the bastions of whites’ Southern way of life. Southern whites simply feared racial change, a feeling brought on by the betrayal of their Party; hence, their eventual party switch to another political party (Republican), one that would protect their racial interests. Goldwater’s message of the dangers of government, which was later amplified by Reagan’s speech, attracted such malcontented groups, best highlighted by malcontented Democrat-turned-Dixiecrat, Strom Thurmond’s conversion to a Republican in the 1960s.[36]

In 2008, malcontented whites faced a different experience. The issue plaguing them was economic: whites’ feared a transfer from middle-income whites to low-income minorities at the hands of Obama, a black man. Malcontented conservatives felt intensely betrayed by the Republican Party’s failed attempts to delegitimize an apparently foreign president who “imposed” a tax-based stimulus package and mandatory healthcare coverage—both of which conservative tax payers felt forced to accept. But their feelings of betrayal, racism, and protest against the president’s legislation and the president himself suggest something more about the character of these malcontented individuals. An analysis of Twitter hate speech directed toward Barack Obama after his 2012 reelection reveal there was a fairly “strong clustering of hate tweets centered in the Southeastern U.S. which has a much higher rate than the national average.”[37] Southern states Alabama and Mississippi had the highest concentration of hate speech directed toward the president, “eight times as many racist tweets as the national average, according to the [scholars at Floating].”[38] Other Southern states, Georgia, Tennessee, Louisiana, and West Virginia rounded out the top ten list of hate speech contributors—all areas with a historical legacy of slavery, Jim Crowism, and black disenfranchisement with former Dixiecrat states Alabama and Mississippi heading the list.

Moreover, the hate speech patterns overlay the six states that did not or refused to expand health coverage under Obamacare (Figure 3 and 4).[39] Conservative state governments fear expanding healthcare under Obamacare since it would redistribute income—“in the form of health insurance or insurance subsidies—to many of the groups [blacks, Hispanics, and people who live in rural areas] that have fared poorly over the last few decades.”[40] In other words, whites who had the most to lose in terms of income in Southern states with a large population of poor minorities’ supported fringe groups like Tea Party activists who argued the stimulus package would be “promoting bad behavior” by “subsidizing losers’ mortgages;”[41] and Birthers who found Obama un-American and his domestic policies punitive. For them, the Republican Party’s failure to repeal Obamacare and disqualify Obama as the nation’s president allows the redistribution of wealth and jobs from middle-income whites to low-income minorities in these Southern states, where malcontented whites had once felt their income was protected. Malcontented whites simply fear paying higher taxes and healthcare premiums that would benefit low-income minorities, who one conservative describes as having “no habits of working and have nobody around them who works so they have no habit of showing up on Monday.”[42] That fear of income redistribution (brought on by the betrayal of their political party) motivates the Far Right to switch to another political party, one that would better protect their economic interests. Trump and Cruz’s plans to end and replace Obamacare and “disempower the government” attract such malcontented groups, best highlighted by today’s Republican revolt by its members who opt for populist (yet insidiously Far Right) rhetoric of Trump and Cruz (to some extent).[43]


Figure 3. Concentration of Racist Anti-Obama Tweets[44]

Figure 4. States That Have and Have Not Expanded Medicaid under Obamacare[45]


Fringe groups (like the Birthers and Tea Party extremists) therefore regard the pursuits of their political party to create an inclusive America that embraces Black people (and other minorities) as a betrayal of whites’ claim as the constitutional inheritors of America, a country they feel has been stolen forcibly from them by blacks and certain immigrants. “They strongly feel,” as Frum points out, “that life in this country used to be better for people like them—and they want that older country back.”[46] This betrayal is a function of the amount of trust fringe groups put in their political party. As a result, they react with anger toward the party, fear of the loss of a political party through which to influence the government, and repulsion at the lack of integrity of the party.[47] This loss of trust in the party causes malcontented groups to seek some form of justice, “putting right (at least for them) what they feel has been wronged, including their sensibilities.”[48] This may mean irrationally supporting unlikely presidential candidates or party switching to “make one feel better,” against more sound judgment.



What does the betrayal felt among these conservative groups and their subsequent party switching tell us about the modern conservative movement? We can find out by taking a closer look at the origins of the modern conservative movement, which took shape in the 1960s when Goldwater, a Republican Arizona Senator and presidential candidate, together with his acolyte, Reagan, the semi-retired actor, proposed a conservative view of America, as one with less government influence in people’s personal lives and more military strength against its enemies abroad. Goldwater and Reagan’s message attracted conservatives of every sphere, even malcontented Democrats who saw in this new conservative movement a political party that would protect their interests. The investigation of these malcontented Americans above reveal that this group of individuals party switched after feeling betrayed by their party. Goldwater and Reagan’s acquisition of this new group of converts along with mainstream Republicans who became interested in the Goldwater-Reagan message helped modernize the Republican Party for nearly a half-century.[49] The party switching of malcontented Southern Democrats was therefore crucial to the growth and development of the modern Republican Party.

It is the betrayal first felt among pro-slavery malcontented Americans after the Civil War that allows for this sequence of later events.  The Union’s defeat of the Confederacy and Republican Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation of Blacks from slavery in the 1860s disrupted Southern life to such an extent that Party lines developed across regional and cultural differences. The Union mostly represented Northern states that supported Lincoln’s Republican initiatives to emancipate slaves; whereas, the defeated Confederacy represented mostly Southern states that supported Democratic initiatives that, after the war, continued to disenfranchise blacks under the idea of protecting States’ rights—honoring each State to do with what they like with their black population. Pro-slavery Southerners, feeling betrayed by their American government for the emancipation of slaves which destroyed their slave economy, gave their political allegiance to the Democratic Party. The disenfranchisement of blacks therefore permeated Southern life more than it did in the northern states.

The same sort of malcontented Americans that first became Democrats in the 1860s over the betrayal of Lincoln’s government and initiatives to emancipate slaves characterize the same kinds of people who “party switched” to become Republicans (effectively modernizing this party) in the 1960s over the betrayal of the Democratic Party that embraced civil rights. These are the same sort of malcontented Americans who are likely to party switch again to another political party in the near future (effectively developing, what can be considered as, a postmodern conservative group) over the betrayal of the Republican Party that demonstrated impotence against the black president in 2008. Today’s modern Republican Party and ensuing political fissure within it represents this evolution of malcontented Americans.

Despite the fact that opinion polls for Trump and Cruz suggest this radical bunch are many in number, they are relatively few compared to the conservative majority. The mass support of Trump and Cruz may be attributed to conservative anger against the government and incumbent political leaders that is based more on the candidates’ unique blend of liberal and conservative politics rather than outright racism. According to political science professor Michael Tesler, the mass supporters of Trump represent “Republicans with conservative positions on immigration and liberal positions on taxes.”[50] For instance, the RAND Corporation’s Presidential Election Panel Survey (PEPS) found that “Trump performs best among Americans who express more resentment toward African Americans and immigrants and who tend to evaluate whites more favorably than minority groups.”[51] Yet, Trump’s political stance on immigration (as anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim) and Social Security appeals to Republican minorities, who, for instance, are bothered when they “come into contact with immigrants who speak little or no English.”[52] The Republican candidates’ poll better with majority and minority groups when they blend “racial conservatism with tacit support for the welfare state,”[53] which is why one can find various minorities groups (blacks, Latinos, women) supporting candidates like Trump or Cruz. However, it is within the canopy of conservative support that radical groups Birthers and Tea Party extremists lay hidden and are able to espouse their views and show themselves when Trump or Cruz pander to their racist sensibilities.

Critics of the 2016 presidential campaign have honed in on the character of white radicals feeling racially betrayed. Skinner from The Brookings Institution found that Trump supporters are largely white voters who “are less tolerant of minority groups, more fearful of threats to order, and more likely to see morality [i.e., the difference between wrong and right] in black-and-white terms.”[54] They exhibit the highest level of distrust of American political leaders since the 1950s and 1960s. They don’t think in ideological terms, which perhaps explains their propensity to party switch to an ideologically opposing party out of anger. Taibbi from Rolling Stone Magazine observed that these malcontented white supporters “particularly hate being lectured about alienating minorities, especially by members of their own party.”[55] They interpret cultural changes in American society as a conspiracy to victimize the white population, which explains their skepticism of political leaders who support an inclusive America. Contributing writer Cooper from laments at Trump’s revival of racist bigotry, noting that white resentment is showing itself through the Republican Party’s tacit support of Trump. She notes, “Trump continues to be a formidable candidate for the Republican nomination because he grants legitimacy to the most [distastefully] racist notions of the GOP base.”[56] This perhaps explains why mainstream Republicans who attempt to temper the potential Republican presidential nominee fear instigating an official split in the party, losing a core constituent group that unfortunately aims to foster racist bigotry.



In conclusion, the Republican Party today is on the verge of losing its radical base—the Birthers, extreme Tea Partiers, and other malcontented groups. Perhaps for the better. These fringe groups represent a bunch that have recurrently felt betrayed by their political institutions, particularly since the 1860s when Lincoln emancipated slaves, the 1940s when Truman embraced civil rights and the 2010s when Barack Obama, a black man, became president. In each instance, racial inclusion has been the motivating (if not, frustrating) factor for these groups, believing that their political party has proffered minorities as more important and deserving of white power and income. They translate their sentiments of betrayal and anger in their choice to party switch to a party that recognizes their plight and “victimhood.” Betrayal and party switching was the case for the Dixiecrats who in 1964 joined the modern Republican Party whose message of the dangers of government seemed sympathetic to their frustrations. Similarly, it is now the case with the Far Right Republican faction that touts the possibility of breaking away to become their own party under the guise of populist rhetoric and a leader whose message of white resentment of alienation seems sympathetic to their frustrations.

Essentially, these groups demonstrate that betrayal trumps political ideology, which suggests that this group is not and has never been tied to ideology but rather attaches itself to certain political parties they believe will protect their ethnic interest. Therefore, to believe the Republicans represent a party of inherently racist individuals is a total misreading of this essay. This notion is no more true than when people once thought the Democrats represented a party of inherently racist individuals. The truth of the matter is that since the Civil War there has been a small segment of the American population who carry a deep-seated resentment toward the government and political institutions for its part in the “browning” of America and the racial inclusion of its citizenry. This segment of the population (though concentrated in major parts of the Southeastern United States) care less about ideology and more about racial purity. They and their ancestors have been party hopping throughout American history seeking to maintain political influence for their views. They were a hindrance to the Union with their amoral slave system; then they were a hindrance to the Democrats who knew their political party could not survive with these segregationists and their (disgusting) abuse of blacks on television; and they now hinder the Republicans who see their Party on the verge of destruction as these groups hurl racist rhetoric demanding their country back from Blacks and other minorities. It is probably more true, that this segment of the population was first exorcized out of the Union by Abraham Lincoln in the 1860s, and then by Truman and the Democrats in the 1960s. This year may be the time when the Republicans must face this decision to expel the cancer that has metastasized in their Party and has historically been a hindrance to the nation.

Suffice it to say, today’s Republicans have had to deal with crazy party members who hurl insensitive comments on rape and women, describe immigrants as “illegals,” make accusations of “welfare queens”—all of which border on racist and sexist rhetoric, which does a disservice to a party that emancipated slaves, expanded continental railroad transportation and public education.  Indeed Republicans are going through what the Union faced in the 1860s, when Americans became increasingly repulsed and guilt-ridden by its slave-holding citizens with their sinful treatment of blacks. Likewise, the GOP is going through what the Democrats faced in the 1950-60s, when they were embarrassed by their constituents’ support of the Emmett Till killing, the rampant lynching of blacks, the KKK terrorizing communities. Such malcontented individuals are constantly painting America here and abroad as being obscene and have been doing so throughout our nation’s history.

Republicans now have a golden opportunity to frame this moment in history as the moment the party did what the Democrats did in the 1960s: stand united against this malcontented group in the spirit of the party’s forefather, Lincoln.  Republicans, it’s your turn! If Republicans can stand against this group and call for their expulsion, then they could rally the country to their side and perhaps take the presidency. Indeed, such a moment could rally minorities who could appreciate Republicans behaving in the spirit of Lincoln, showing the nation that they are not a party of angry extremists but the party of America.

[1] Allan Clifton, “Fox News is a Big Part of What’s Wrong with the Republican Party,” Forward Progressives, last modified August 9, 2015, accessed February 21, 2016,

[2] The Democrats presently have a left-wing liberal running for president, Bernie Sanders, who touts socialism (big government) as a path to solving America’s economic problems. He believes “millionaires and billionaires” enjoy tax breaks courtesy of past big business oriented presidential administrations. See “Bernie ‘Bane’ Sanders Doesn’t Like Billionaires,” video file, 01:24, YouTube, posted by Washington Free Beacon, July 16, 2015, accessed February 21, 2016,  To be clear, Conservatives are typically referred to as people on the Right of American politics whose interests are mostly represented by the Republican Party; whereas, Liberals are typically referred to as people on the Left of American politics whose interests are mostly represented by the Democratic Party. The Left and Right obviously have a difference of opinion; the left favors more government intervention in society, while the right favors less. However, the Far Left and Right take these positions to the extreme.

[3] Ta-Nehisi Coates, “White Racism vs. White Resentment,” The Atlantic, August 7, 2008, accessed February 29, 2016,

[4] Right-wingers leading the Republican Party, however, is just one indication of the Party’s disunification. The political infighting between the candidates additionally offers voters a Republican Party different from the one that elected George W. Bush a little over a decade ago. That Republican Party touted Ronald Reagan as its eternal leader, and vowed as its leader advised, not to attack fellow Republicans. Today’s Republicans face a takeover by the Far Right, who mostly argue which candidate is conservative enough, qualifies as an American citizen, and capable of saving America from the evil Arab world. So why should Trump be compared to Reagan given the fact that Trump and his Far Right supporters create more disunity than harmony in the Party? Because Trump can be viewed as doing the very thing Reagan was accused of with his speech—threatening to divide and overtake the party with his ultraconservatives, which he succeeded in doing in 1980—hence the term the Reagan Revolution. Trump may well be embarking on a path to re-brand the Republican Party as Reagan did in 1980. But it is more likely that his efforts will split the Party into a separate fringe contingent this time around.

[5] A cultural boundary separating northern states where blacks lived free from Southern ones where they were enslaved.

[6] Wikipedia, “Disenfranchisement after the Reconstruction Era,” in Wikipedia (Wikipedia, 2016), last modified February 14, 2016, accessed February 21, 2016,

[7] The lynching of blacks was a frequent occurrence, as whites banded together, infamously known as the Ku Klux Klan, who were angry because of the prohibition of slavery so turned to wearing hoods to terrorize blacks in the South. See PBS, “The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow,”, last modified 2002, accessed February 21, 2016,

[8] Wikipedia, “Racial Segregation in the United States,” in Wikipedia (Wikipedia, 2016), last modified February 22, 2016, accessed February 22, 2016,

[9] Jay Cost, “Race, Realignment, and the Election of 1948,” RealClearPolitics HorseRaceBlog, entry posted April 22, 2009, accessed February 21, 2016,

[10] “Southern Politics 4039- Dixiecrat Revolt,” video file, 04:50, YouTube, posted by Sara Kuebel, December 1, 2013, accessed February 21, 2016,

[11], ed., “Dixiecrats,” United States, accessed February 21, 2016,

[12] Sean Wilentz, “How Bush Destroyed the Republican Party,” Rolling Stone Magazine, September 4, 2008, accessed February 21, 2016, http://www.Rolling

[13] Linker, “The GOP Doesn’t Have.”

[14] Alan Greenblatt, “Race Alone Doesn’t Explain Hatred of Obama, But It’s Part of the Mix,”, last modified May 13, 2014, accessed February 21, 2016,

[15] Wilentz, “How Bush Destroyed the Republican.”

[16] Wilentz, “How Bush Destroyed the Republican.”

[17] Wikipedia, “Barack Obama Citizenship Conspiracy Theories,” in Wikipedia (Wikipedia, 2016), last modified February 5, 2016, accessed February 22, 2016,

[18] Matthew W. Hughey, “Show Me Your Papers! Obama’s Birth and the Whiteness of Belonging,” Qualitative Sociology 35, no. 2 (June 2012): 172; Eric Boehlert, “Shutdown’s Radical Birther Streak Cannot Be Ignored,” Media Matters for America, last modified October 15, 2013, accessed February 21, 2016,

[19] Hughey, “Show Me Your Papers!,” 167.

[20] Goldie Taylor, “Why Obama Shouldn’t Have Had to ‘Show His Papers,'”, last modified April 28, 2011, accessed February 21, 2016,

[21] Jon Swaine, “The Obama ‘Birther’ Conspiracy Timeline,” The Telegraph (Macon, GA), April 27, 2011, US edition, Barack Obama, accessed February 21, 2016,

[22] Hughey, “Show Me Your Papers!,” 167.

[23] Hughey, “Show Me Your Papers!,” 167.

[24] Jesse Bravin, “Supreme Court Ousts Attorney Who Sued to Oust Obama, “Wall Street Journal (New York City, NY), January 29, 2014, US edition, LawBlog, accessed February 21, 2016,

[25] Michel Martin, “Political Caricatures of Obama, ‘Birther Movement,'”, last modified April 27, 2011, accessed February 21, 2016,

[26] Hughey, “Show Me Your Papers!,” 163.

[27] Tom Jensen, “Romney and the Birthers,” Public Policy Polling (blog), entry posted February 15, 2011, accessed March 6, 2016, Note, these were respondents who were likely to vote in the 2012 midterm elections

[28] Daily Mail Reporter, “‘Now You Know Why There’s No Birth Certificate’ Jokes Tea Party Member in Racist Email Showing Obama and Parents as Chimps,” Daily Mail (London, UK), April 17, 2011, US edition, accessed February 22, 2016,

[29] Jonathan Capehart, “Ugly Rebel Yell in Front of the White House,” The Washington Post (Washington, DC), October 14, 2013, US edition, Blog, accessed February 21, 2016,

[30] Damon Linker, “The GOP Doesn’t Have a Donald Trump Problem. It Has an Angry Conservative Base Problem,” The Week, July 10, 2015, accessed February 21, 2016,

[31] Cillizza, “The Republican Establishment Really,” The Fix.

[32] Katie Glueck, “Cruz Hits Back Against Branstad, Labels Iowa Governor Part of ‘Washington Cartel,'”, last modified January 19, 2016, accessed February 21, 2016,

[33] Greenblatt, “Race Alone Doesn’t Explain,”

[34] Emily Atkin, “Trump Threatens Independent Run If RNC Doesn’t Condemn Cruz’s Attacks,”, last modified February 15, 2016, accessed February 21, 2016,

[35] Scott E. Buchanan, “Dixiecrats,” in New Georgia Encyclopedia, ed. Chris Dobbs (n.p.: CSE, 2004), accessed February 21, 2016,

[36] Buchanan, “Dixiecrats,” in New Georgia Encyclopedia.

[37] Floating Sheep, “Mapping Racist Tweets in Response to President Obama’s Re-election,”, last modified November 8, 2008, accessed February 21, 2016, It is important to note that the scholars at Floating Sheep “measured only tweets, not individuals, so it’s possible that a small group of disaffected bigots could be accounting for the majority of the offensive messages. Also, they note that some states with low levels of racist tweets also have relatively low levels of Twitter usage in general” (see Patrick Boehlert, “Where Did All Those Racist Anti-Obama Tweets Come From? Here’s the Science,” TIME Magazine, November 9, 2012, accessed February 21, 2016,

[38] Boehlert, “Where Did All Those.”

[39] Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs (ASPA), “Affordable Care Act: State by State,”, last modified March 23, 2015, accessed February 21, 2016,

[40] Kevin Quealy and Margot Sanger-Katz, “Obama’s Health Law: Who Was Helped Most,” The New York Times (New York, NY), October 29, 2014, US edition, The Up Shot, accessed February 21, 2016,

[41] Steve Johnston, Tea Party Culture War (Enumclaw, WA: Wine Press Publishing, 2011), xi.

[42] Terrence Heath, “Conservatives Dont Want To Fix Poverty,”, last modified December 15, 2011, accessed February 21, 2016,

[43] David Frum, “The Great Republican Revolt,” The Atlantic, January/February 2016, accessed February 21, 2016,

[44] Floating Sheep, “Mapping Racist Tweets in Response,”

[45] Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs (ASPA), “Affordable Care Act: State,”

[46] Frum, “The Great Republican Revolt.”

[47] ChangingMinds, “Effects of Betrayal,”, accessed February 21, 2016,

[48] ChangingMinds, “Effects of Betrayal,”

[49] Republicans capitalized on these malcontented Democrats when they pursued the “Southern Strategy” in the 1970s, gaining support from the Southern U.S. states that had previously been pro-Democrat.

[50] Michael Tesler, “A Newly Released Poll Shows the Populist Power of Donald Trump,” The Washington Post (Washington, DC), January 27, 2016, US edition, News: Monkey Cage, accessed March 17, 2016,

[51] Tesler, “A Newly Released Poll,” News: Monkey Cage.

[52] Tesler, “A Newly Released Poll,” News: Monkey Cage.

[53] Tesler, “A Newly Released Poll,” News: Monkey Cage.

[54] Richard Skinner, “Do Hate and Racism Drive Support for Donald Trump?,”, last modified September 17, 2015, accessed February 21, 2016,

[55] Matt Taibbi, “The Republicans Are Now Officially the Party of White Paranoia,” Rolling Stone Magazine, September 4, 2015, accessed February 21, 2016, http://www.Rolling

[56] Brittney Cooper, “Donald Trump’s Racist Revival: How the Republican Party Has Given New Life to Unabashed Bigotry,”, last modified November 25, 2015, accessed February 21, 2016,