Black Republicans can't exist in a party that accepts white nationalists
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Often the result of intellectual neglect that repels pragmatism and rationality, 21st century political conservatism is dogmatic in its current form. This current form of political conservatism fails to consider the various ways America’s future is shaped by multiculturalism and globalization. Furthermore, it forsakes key principles, such as diversity in thought and individualism, and is thus stuck in a time that has long past.

The populist rhetoric of the day has become synonymous with Americanism, such as the context in which President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden, Sanders lead field in Iowa poll The Memo: Cohen fans flames around Trump Memo Comey used to brief Trump on dossier released: report MORE stated, “From this moment on, it’s going to be America first.” While we agree with America prioritizing its own interests first, the political perspective that runs the undercurrent to Trump’s “America first” refrain is problematic. It defers to an isolationist foreign policy strategy that makes America less competitive on the global stage.

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Today’s conservatism is characterized by positions so extreme they risk government shutdown, voter alienation, and increase partisanship and division. And with the president now under investigation for possible obstruction, the potential impacts this could have on the Republican Party has reached an entirely new level. So much of this has left Congress in doubt whether they will pass tax reform legislation, continue its repeal of ObamaCare, and introduce infrastructure legislation.

 

Furthermore, and unfortunately, “conservatism” has become the convenient excuse to embrace idiocracy and massive government control as a matter of standard operating procedure. Moreover, concerns about the Leviathan government’s intrusion on individual rights are legitimate. However, such belief should not come at the expense of ideas that are inclusive and reasoned, which is what we see with the rise of groups such as the alt-right.

Many people associate conservatism with popular terms like “right wing” or more recently “alt-right,” and while they shouldn’t be faulted for doing so, such splitting terms are regrettably an accurate portrayal of the current Republican Party. This leaves us wondering with some proponents of conservatism and even some of its detractors, asking ourselves frequently: is conservatism what it could be and should be?

To put it simply, we don’t think it is. So, then it should be asked, where did conservatism go wrong and how did we reach a place where rationality died? Regrettably, the answers to such questions vary, but they certainly should not be reactionary and irrational, especially in an ever-increasing, global society.

Rational conservatism involves being informed both by empirical facts and logic. We should base our principles on those grounds, to eventually make or influence policy that leads to the benefit of everyone. Instead, conservatives have relied on antediluvian wisdom and antics that have been passed down through culture and tradition as the governing force of our ideology. Here, modernity is rejected despite our living in a society that is more diverse and globally connected than it has been at any other time in our history.

Many conservatives have rightly advocated for a party that embraces minorities, yet this is a nearly impossible task when our party includes people such as Jared Taylor, a leading alt-right thinker and editor of the white nationalist website American Renaissance. As well-meaning is this inclusive thinking, it is paradoxical because we cannot seek to embrace minority groups while also embracing extreme nationalistic themes — as President Trump did as a candidate — and expect growth as an ideology or as a party.

When the American Renaissance’s Taylor stated in an interview with Vox that the alt-right believes that white Americans should be racially conscious and “that white Americans, as whites, have collective interests that are legitimate,” his sentiments aren’t rooted in conservatism. Instead, they are deeply rooted in hate and ignorance, and lack the sophistication and intelligence necessary to drive a productive political ideology that will shape policies that will move the United States forward. For the rebirth of a new conservatism movement, we must reject the alt-right’s hatred and language in our narrative. No principles, outreach or personalities will revive rational conservatism until conservatives demonstrate a united front against such odious rhetoric.

The very existence of the alt-right makes it nearly impossible for the Republican Party to embrace different cultures and ethnicities while extreme factions attempt to take over the party. That is not what Jack Kemp meant by “big tent” party. The former thinking is antithetical to the free exchange of ideas the Republican party should champion. Yet, we remain hopeful that the party can still embrace modernity while still being relevant and true to the principles that attracted us to the party in the first place such as inalienable rights, limited government, and fiscal responsibility to name a few. The idea is a “big tent” party is imperative for the party if it is to exist as a unified body into the next century.

Despite how appealing such extreme points of views might be to a tiny few in this country, when presented with a diversity of facts, opinions and thoughts, conservatism — in its most productive form — is better for it. And so is America.

Conservative cynicism is adversative to the very idea of America, which at its core is built on hope and promise. Those are values not based on the realities of the present, but on the anticipation of a better tomorrow. The dogmatic conservative’s penchant for ignoring the realities of the present to cling solely to the past is not a part of the American fabric.

The current establishment must be honest with people and communities that are apprehensive about a changing America. The party will not be able to compete if it is limited to a narrow worldview. A full-fledged economic nationalist agenda will not work. If rational conservatism is to prevail, then we need an emerging leadership that will embody and understand the modern tapestry of America.

Shermichael Singleton is a CNN Political Commentator and a Republican Political Strategist who has worked on the presidential campaigns of Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyTrump’s own undocumented help highlights plight of many immigrants Trump attorney general pick a prolific donor to GOP candidates, groups: report O’Rourke is fireball, but not all Dems are sold MORE and Ben CarsonBenjamin (Ben) Solomon CarsonInterior chief Zinke to leave administration Overnight Energy — Sponsored by the National Biodiesel Board — Trump EPA to roll out plan for fighting lead exposure | Top Interior lawyer once said women shouldn't be NFL referees | California moving toward electric bus fleet by 2040 Trump administration to unveil strategy for fighting lead exposure MORE. Follow him on Twitter @Shermichael_.

Quardricos Bernard Driskell is a lobbyist and an adjunct professor of religion and politics at the George Washington University Graduate School of Political Management. Follow him on Twitter @Q_Driskell4.


The views expressed by contributors are their own and are not the views of The Hill.