Wednesday, February 17, 2016

The Palmetto State of Republican Intolerance

According to Public Policy Polling's recent survey of Donald Trump’s supporters in South Carolina:

70% think the Confederate Flag should still be flying over the State Capital, while only 20% agree with it being taken down.

38% wish the South had won the Civil War, while only 24% are glad the North won. (38% aren't sure.)

80% support Trump’s proposed ban on Muslims entering the United States.

31% would actually support a ban on homosexuals entering the United States.

62% support creating a national database of Muslims.

40% support shutting down all the mosques in the United States.

Only 44% of them think the practice of Islam should even be legal at all in the United States, while 33% think it should be illegal.

32% of them believe the policy of Japanese internment during World War II was a good one, compared to only 33% who oppose it and 35% who have no opinion one way or another.

It would perhaps be understandable if the foregoing statistics applied to the supporters of some fringe candidate, some far-right nut job with no chance of winning.  And yes, the candidate they support is a fascist demagogue.  But he also happens to be the long-time Republican front runner, who, after faltering in Iowa, easily won the New Hampshire primary and seems a cinch to win big in South Carolina this Saturday. Far from the amusing sideshow with no real shot at gaining traction I thought Trump’s campaign would be, it has become a disturbing yet undeniable juggernaut.  

Perhaps even more alarming, surveying South Carolinian Republicans who support candidates other than Mr. Trump provides no refuge from racial and religious intolerance., referring to the same PPP poll quoted above but considering its findings among all South Carolina Republican voters:

The poll, which involved 897 likely Republican primary voters who were contacted Sunday and Monday, revealed significant support for banning homosexuals from the country (20% in favor), shutting down U.S. mosques (29%), creating a national database of Muslims (47%), banning Islam (25%), and allowing South Carolina to hang the Confederate flag on the state capitol grounds in Columbia (54%).  In fact, more than a quarter of respondents (30%) said they wished the South had won the Civil War.

Again, these are not just Trump supporters.  These are likely South Carolina Republican voters in general!  In retrospect, these numbers should come as no surprise to anyone who has watched the Republican debates, where ignorance, bigotry and braggadocio are celebrated, and then rewarded at the polls.

I’ll leave the last words to a famous Republican, who would, no doubt, be thoroughly embarrassed by the policies espoused by his beloved party’s current standard-bearers.  His two quotes below, albeit timeless, seem particularly apropos these days:

“Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves.”

“America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.”