The GOP is now the party of neo-Confederates

Hyde-Smith is a neo-Confederate troglodyte and a former Democrat who now feels right at home in the Trump Party. She is hardly alone. The defeated Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Virginia, Corey A. Stewart, pals around with white supremacists, defends the Old Dominion as the state of “Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson” and says the Confederate flag “is our heritage, it’s what makes us Virginia, and if you take that away, we lose our identity.” This self-described “proud Southerner” was born and raised in Minnesota, suggesting that his reverence for the Confederacy is rooted in hatred, not “heritage.”

The same can be said of Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), the most openly white-supremacist member of Congress. He used to display a Confederate battle flag on his desk, even though 13,000 Iowans died while fighting for the Union. King recently gave an interview to a far-right Austrian website in which he reiterated his view that “we can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies” — yet the Republican Party refuses to censure him.

While few Republicans are as flagrant in supporting white supremacy as King, many others dog-whistle to the same constituency. Gov. Kay Ivey was just elected in Alabama after running a commercial in which she bragged of standing up to “special interests” and people “up in Washington” who want to take down Confederate monuments. She also attacked “out-of-state liberals” for messing with the state’s heritage, echoing segregationist Gov. George Wallace’s 1960s-era complaints about “outside agitators.”

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