By Garrett McGinley
Web Content Contributor
Exactly 10 months after Heather Heyer was killed by a white supremacist at the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, Republican voters in the state nominated Confederate sympathizer Corey Stewart to be their candidate for Senate.
You will see the media label Stewart a “firebrand” or a “provocateur” but make no mistake: he is a white nationalist. He staunchly defends Confederate symbols and monuments, frequently brags about leading an anti-immigrant push in the county he served as chairman in, has palled around with “Unite the Right” organizer Jason Kessler and once referred to neo-Nazi Congressional candidate Paul Nehlen as a “personal hero.”
But perhaps the worst thing about Corey Stewart is that he is not an anomaly. Rather, he is just another product of the modern conservative movement.
Since Donald Trump’s surprise presidential victory in 2016, the GOP has seen a rash of far-right candidates pop up in all types of elections. As a result, Republicans in power have been forced to move further right-of-center or else run the risk of being primaried.
It is ignorant to pretend that the Republican Party hasn’t long since endorsed white supremacy, however with Trump, the subtleties of the southern strategy have been abandoned. Gone are the days of dog-whistle championing for “states’ rights.” Here is a rhetoric calling Mexican immigrants “drug dealers, rapists and criminals” and explicitly banning Muslims from entering the country.
The modern conservative movement was always going to include a Trump-like figure. For the past 10 years, conservatives have been conditioned into believing white Christian conservatives are being persecuted. Trump knew this and played to the most paranoid fears of white America. He promised to return the U.S. to the “good ol’ days,” when society’s structure was rigidly defined and violently enforced.
Of course, that is not likely to fully happen in the four-to-eight years Trump is in office. However, the conservative movement will not go away after Trump’s tenure has ended and what comes next may even be worse.
It is important to try to comprehend what’s happening politically and the repercussions it will have on the future. The current right-wing government is actively engaged in pseudo-ethnic cleansing with the intention of creating a whiter America and their constituents are choosing candidates that support this because it’s exactly what they want.
If this is not what you what, now is the time to get involved.
Featured image by Garrett McGinley.