Can Republicans Still Win as the Party of Straight-Up Racism?

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The RNC created—and Donald Trump pinned to the top of his Twitter feed—an appallingly racist ad today that accuses Democrats of “letting in” Luis Bracamontes, a man who killed two Northern California deputies four years ago while in the country illegally. It’s widely viewed as Willie Horton 2.0, except maybe worse. So have any elected Republican officials denounced it? So far, I can find three:

  • Sen. Jeff Flake
  • Rep. Mike Coffman
  • Gov. John Kasich

Don’t @ me if I got this wrong. Maybe there are four! Or even five!

The level of desperation this shows is palpable. Trump and the Republican Party keep pulling the race lever harder and harder, but it’s not working. Trump went from 800 troops at the border to 5,000 troops to 15,000 troops. He called the migrant caravan a thousand miles away an “invasion.” He claims he’s going to end birthright citizenship even though he knows perfectly well it’s part of the Constitution and he can’t do it. The New York Times describes what’s happening:

If the 2016 election hinged in large part on a rightward shift among working-class whites who deserted Democrats in the presidential race, Tuesday’s House election may turn on an equally significant and opposite force: a generational break with Republicanism among educated, wealthier whites — especially women — who generally like the party’s pro-business policies but recoil from strident, divisive language on race and gender.

Rather than seeking to coax voters like these back into the Republican coalition, Mr. Trump appears to have all but written them off, spending the final days of the campaign delivering a scorching message about preoccupations like birthright citizenship and a migrant “invasion” from Mexico that these voters see through as alarmist.

These aren’t dog whistles anymore, they’re just straight-up racist messages that are aimed directly at Trump’s working-class white base. And that’s Trump’s problem. He’s now had to turn the volume up so far that even the center-right suburban voters who held their noses and voted for him in 2016 can’t do it anymore. They can’t pretend they don’t see it. And because no one in the Republican Party dares to criticize Trump, he’s dragging the whole party down with him. Republicans are now the party of white racism, full stop.

Sadly, they’re still going to get a lot of votes. But common decency, which took a vacation in 2016, is finally going to win on Tuesday. Trump is making sure of it.

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WHO DOESN’T LOVE A POSITIVE STORY—OR TWO?

“Great journalism really does make a difference in this world: it can even save kids.”

That’s what a civil rights lawyer wrote to Julia Lurie, the day after her major investigation into a psychiatric hospital chain that uses foster children as “cash cows” published, letting her know he was using her findings that same day in a hearing to keep a child out of one of the facilities we investigated.

That’s awesome. As is the fact that Julia, who spent a full year reporting this challenging story, promptly heard from a Senate committee that will use her work in their own investigation of Universal Health Services. There’s no doubt her revelations will continue to have a big impact in the months and years to come.

Like another story about Mother Jones’ real-world impact.

This one, a multiyear investigation, published in 2021, exposed conditions in sugar work camps in the Dominican Republic owned by Central Romana—the conglomerate behind brands like C&H and Domino, whose product ends up in our Hershey bars and other sweets. A year ago, the Biden administration banned sugar imports from Central Romana. And just recently, we learned of a previously undisclosed investigation from the Department of Homeland Security, looking into working conditions at Central Romana. How big of a deal is this?

“This could be the first time a corporation would be held criminally liable for forced labor in their own supply chains,” according to a retired special agent we talked to.

Wow.

And it is only because Mother Jones is funded primarily by donations from readers that we can mount ambitious, yearlong—or more—investigations like these two stories that are making waves.

About that: It’s unfathomably hard in the news business right now, and we came up about $28,000 short during our recent fall fundraising campaign. We simply have to make that up soon to avoid falling further behind than can be made up for, or needing to somehow trim $1 million from our budget, like happened last year.

If you can, please support the reporting you get from Mother Jones—that exists to make a difference, not a profit—with a donation of any amount today. We need more donations than normal to come in from this specific blurb to help close our funding gap before it gets any bigger.

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