In early July, I started a Twitter experiment: Every time I came across an instance of convergence between the white supremacist movement and the Republican Party, I would tweet the link, always appending it with the phrase, “Weird that this keeps happening, right?”
My collection has stretched to include 61 stories. Because President Donald Trump gets plenty of attention for this already, this list excludes statements and policies coming from him.
I’ve catalogued 33 incidents of sitting GOP officials embracing white supremacists, nine cases of GOP officials spouting rhetoric echoing that of white supremacists, nine incidents of white supremacists running for elected office as Republicans and 10 cases of avowed white supremacists expressing strong support for Republican officials or the party’s agenda.
It began as a bit of a joke – a rhetorical tweaking of the nose of the political party that, with Trump’s rise, seemed to be dipping into white nationalist rhetoric with increasing frequency. But as the thread grew, the humor quickly faded – news stories about GOP officials palling around with open white supremacists or engaging in rhetoric that wouldn’t seem out of place on a neo-Nazi web forum appeared on a near-daily basis.
The recent arrest of an alleged mail bomber in Florida and a massacre at a synagogue in Pittsburgh illustrate how this hateful rhetoric can manifest itself in on-the-ground violence against the antagonists of white supremacist rage.