The recent slew of anti-trans bills shows the GOP brand is built on blocking progress and keeping marginalized people down
- Republicans have introduced a slew of anti-trans bills across the country, most notably in Arkansas.
- This is just the latest example showing that the party is committed to stopping progress and keeping other Americans down.
- Michael Gordon is a longtime Democratic strategist, a former spokesman for the Justice Department, and the principal for the strategic-communications firm Group Gordon.
- This is an opinion column. The thoughts expressed are those of the author.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Republicans are the party of hate. The party of anti-. The party against progress. That is – and has been – their calling card for a generation.
Their motto should be: “We keep people down! We stand in the way of progress! Vote for us!” “
The latest – but not the last or first – group facing Republicans’ ire is transgender children. This was on full display in Arkansas, as the state recently passed a law that prevents transgender youth from accessing medical treatment to help their transition. And it seems this Arkansas law may only be the beginning of the GOP’s assault on trans kids.
But progress for transgender Americans is inevitable – and the Republican roadblocks are only temporary.
By the time we get to Arkansas
Among other things, the Republican brand proudly stands for standing against other Americans. It builds itself up by keeping others down. And the new law out of Arkansas is just the latest in a series of attacks on American’s civil rights and liberties.
Republicans have long been a roadblock on women’s rights. They opposed a 2019 vote on equal pay for women, and earlier this year, nearly every Republican in the House opposed the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment.
In 1994, the Violence Against Women Act, which combats sexual assault and domestic violence against women, passed nearly unanimously. But every so often the bill needs to be voted on again for reauthorization, and this year, 172 Republicans opposed the bill. The rot at the heart of the Republican Party has eroded bipartisan support for women’s rights.
Republicans have gone to great lengths to leverage racial divide for political gain. As an electoral strategy, the party is more focused on winning by making it harder to vote instead of winning over a broader segment of the population. New voting restriction laws and rhetoric we see from the GOP today are the logical conclusion of a 50-year plan to define the Republican Party in opposition to rights for African Americans.
Former President Richard Nixon took the politics of racial grievance to a new level by pioneering a “Southern Strategy” that thrived off of racism against Black Americans. And now new laws making it harder to vote and giving Republican legislatures more ability to meddle in elections are cropping up all over the country in a movement that Democratic Rep. Jim Clyburn of South Carolina called “the new Jim Crow.”
The Republican assault on non-whites extends to immigrants as well, with a white-nationalist talking point quickly taking center stage. Tucker Carlson is gleefully rehashing “replacement theory” for ratings gain, stating that immigrants are hell-bent on destroying and replacing white Americans. That this alt-right theory is proudly repeated on Fox News says everything you need to know about the modern GOP.
Republicans, naturally, have a long history of opposing LGBTQ rights – whether it be service in our military, the right to marry, or the ability to adopt children. But our country progressed, and Republicans could only slow, but not stop, the inevitable rights of LBGTQ Americans.
By the time we get to Arkansas, we know the playbook. Republicans will demean, delay and divide. They will dehumanize their fellow human beings. They will be the problem against progress. But the hearts and minds of Americans will be the triumph for trans Americans that beats back Republican fear.
The grand shrinking party
Trans Americans will be fully accepted and have every legal right eventually – but it won’t be because of Republicans. It will be despite Republicans.
Of course, there are vast numbers of good Republicans who aren’t Republicans because they live to hate. But their elected leaders are making cynical calculations about what makes some Americans tick. In doing so, they’re continuing to shrink what was once a big tent party.
As every group and American demographics simultaneously progress, Republicans will run out of people to hate and run out of people to turn off. And then they’ll just run out of people, living as a dramatically diminished party without inspiring ideas to take our country forward.
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