By Sikivu Hutchinson
Now that the GOP has declared open season on human rights its surrogates are out in full force, shoring up the Party’s ground game with the deadly zeal of an old time Christian tent revival. After months of anti-abortion backlash from Republicans on Capitol Hill, yet another right-wing influenced anti-abortion terrorist gunned down and murdered several people at a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood. After weeks of Fox commentators demonizing Black Lives Matter organizers, several activists were shot during a peaceful demonstration in Minneapolis. And after a steady drumbeat of post-Paris anti-Muslim tirades from Donald Trump and his GOP clown car compatriots, members of a local mosque in Fredericksburg, Virginia were verbally attacked by residents for being part of an “evil cult”. While the GOP vilifies the dark Other of heartland nightmare, the national security threat of armed red-blooded white American males—the NRA’s “good guys” with guns—remains unaddressed.
The GOP’s racist, sexist, xenophobic platform of religious extremism has created a climate in which the public rhetoric and apparatus of state violence are in perfect alignment. Trump has been the Party’s most potent mouthpiece for Christian white supremacy. His call for a national registry to track Muslims, as well as surveillance of “certain” mosques, is merely the natural progression of the nativist platform he articulated this summer. As has been widely noted, his vociferous stance on immigration almost singlehandedly shifted the debate to a national security pissing contest over which Republican candidate is macho enough to take on the border, and now, ISIS. In a recent CBS poll, Republican voters say that, “ISIS has become a litmus test for candidates … and immigration a deal breaker”. The increasing “hawkishness” of the Republican electorate has ominous overtones for a renewed military push in the Middle East.
Yet, nipping at Trump’s heels is radical right attack dog Texas Senator Ted Cruz. Due to his strong coalition building among Christian evangelicals and bully pulpit in the Senate, Cruz poses a more credible long term threat than Trump. According to new polls, Cruz has surged to number two in Iowa. The Paris attacks have made early voters in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina more receptive to his slicker brand of demagoguery. As Trump’s loyal wingman, Cruz has reportedly been biding his time until Trump falters. Aping Trump, Cruz’s rise would seem to validate his toxic Christian fascist, anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim propaganda.
Once viewed as a third rail candidate, Cruz is now a “viable” prospect to take up Trump’s mantle, enlisting his evangelist father Rafael Cruz to solidify his lead with Christian fundamentalists. It was Cruz, after all, who tried to force a government shutdown over Planned Parenthood funding. In the Senate, Cruz was one of the loudest voices demanding that Planned Parenthood should be prosecuted for its alleged mining of fetal body parts for profit. On the campaign stump this summer, Cruz and the other GOP candidates viciously maligned Planned Parenthood and called for blood. Nationwide, hundreds of Republican-sponsored bills that place draconian restrictions on abortion and contraception have put women’s lives and health in jeopardy. Because of the GOP’s attacks on women’s right to abortion and contraception, Missouri only has one abortion clinic left in the entire state.
As per the claims of most violent religious extremists, “God” is on the GOP’s side.
In his bid to lock up the white evangelical vote, Cruz has announced plans to organize a “national prayer team”. According to Cruz, this group would “establish a direct line of communication between our campaign and the thousands of Americans who are lifting us up before the Lord.”