What Do the Republican Party and Black Lives Matter Have in Common?

In a Surprising Way, More Than You Might Think


Remember When Black Lives Matter (BLM) Started?

Or, do you remember at least when the BLM movement first caught your attention? I remember when I first started paying attention. I bet my reaction was the same as a lot of people. Something along the lines of yes, indeed, we have a sorry racial history in this country, and we are way overdue to address it in so many ways.

But, I thought, white supremacy? That seems a bit overstated, doesn’t? I mean, in this day and age, terms like privilege and advantage seem to fit, but supremacy? That hardly seems right. That sounds like an overstatement that is just going to put a lot of people off who could be allies.

I was, of course, wrong. At least I had enough personal humility and intellectual curiosity to think that the least I could do was pay attention and see where the disconnects were. Over time, and sometimes painfully, I came to understand that the term is appropriate. In fact, it is essential to helping those of us who are newer to the conversation than we might think we are get to a place of common ground with others.

I Was Not Where I Needed to Be

The point is that until I came to realize how deep, broad, and long running the fundamentals are, I could not understand or figure out solutions. I had to be somewhere besides where I started before I could think or act usefully. It was, and still is, a difficult journey, but making it was nonnegotiable.

Does that mean I accept every tenet stated or written by every BLM advocate? No. People of good will and good sense can disagree on any number of issues but still be in community on a lot of issues. But the basic points that so much of what we know is directly rooted to supremacy and what it has wrought cannot be denied – and cannot be left alone.

When I do disagree, I do so with an awareness that it is possible I still have much to learn and I am willing to make my case and hear others. I long since learned the valuable life lesson that the point of an argument is not to win but to mutually learn.  I stand ready to defend and explain my stance on any issue, but I am also not afraid to say I was wrong.

What About Those Republicans?

I bet that when you read the title of this post, you thought, What the heck is he talking about? These two have about zero in common. You are correct, O Wise Reader. The commonality, the connection, lies not in shared beliefs, but in shared process. Let me explain.

As long-time readers of this blog know, I have often said that I believe the Republican party has sunk so low, has so lost any moral grounding, any intellectual honestly, or any justification for continuing. I have also said that America needs a center- right party in the mix, but the Republican party is no longer it.

The now continuous and accelerating implosion of the Trump administration has a lot of people beginning to think along the same lines – people who never imagined such thoughts would ever enter their mind.

A Voice from Inside, Now from the Wilderness

I came across one of these people recently. A couple of days ago a new book just published with the title It Was All a Lie: How the Republican Party Became Donald Trump, by Stuart Stevens. You may not know his name, but you would if you were a political aficionado. He has decades of experience as a winning Republican strategist and campaign operative. Arguably, one of the top tier professionals in his profession.

The book is riveting, to say the least (I am providing a link at the end). The short version is that he came to realize, now in his 60’s, that he spent his life creating a monster. Like many, he felt that Trump was an aberration, one who had stolen the party and the party would get right again after Trump is gone. In time he came to realize, that Trump IS the party.

What they begin flirting with, starting in the days of Dixiecrats crossing over, continued with Reagan and his racial code words of state’s rights. George Bush turned his campaign over to Lee Atwater, as rabid a racist as ever ran a national campaign. It continued further in tolerating, even encouraging, the Freedom Caucus as something they could “manage.’ Trump was not an exception; he was the logical end product. What had been considered the fringe is now the base.

You Know What Needs to Be Done

If trends hold, the Republicans will reap a devasting, across the board loss in a little over 90 days. Never count chickens before they hatch, but that seems to be the case. What comes next for current and former Republicans?

I would posit that the party is, indeed, unsalvageable. So, too, does Stevens. Too many have been too ready to underwrite all that history and enable Trump at every turn. This is not a curable infection. People of decent standards and reasonable intellect need to have the kind of self-examination and conversations that the BLM fosters on racial issues.

They need to accept that they were not hoodwinked. They own what came forth. And they need to walk away. Start clean. Leave those who led the way down the wrong path in the wilderness. Trying to fix what is wrong is a fool’s errand. The country deserves better.

Take a lesson from BLM, folks.  Don’t blink. Own it. Make it right. Anything less will live in infamy. Check out the book at https://www.stuartstevens.com

Bill Clontz, Founder, Agents of Reason             Bill Clontz

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3 replies to What Do the Republican Party and Black Lives Matter Have in Common?

  1. Thanks Bill for these thoughtful insights today! I don’t know what I would do without you and Heather Cox Richardson to help me in my understanding of what is happening today. She as a history professor gives so much knowledge into the why behind what has happened to the Republican Party.

  2. Saw him interviewed on Amanpour last night. Pretty impressive reality check on how we got here. I believe he is part of the Lincoln Project. So will the new middle-right party be called the Tories?

    • Hmmm, Tories. Has a ring to it! Maybe we need a name contest.

      I am about halfway through the book now. One hell of a read. Have to admire a guy who looks that long and hard in the mirror and owns up to himself and others what he wrought. Interesting you mention the Lincoln Project. I have wondered if a next project for them might be helping build a new center right party. Would be a worthy thing to do.

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