POLITICS

In 2005, The GOP Apologized For Exploiting Racial Polarization

Ken Mehlman saying sorry for the "Southern Strategy" now feels quaint.
Former RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman in 2006 (Photo by Chris Greenberg/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
Former RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman in 2006 (Photo by Chris Greenberg/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Hillary Clinton tied Donald Trump to the “alt-right,” a white people’s movement that isn’t racist, it just thinks white people are better. The National Parks Service is commemorating its 100th birthday, and you should celebrate by going to the Grand Canyon before Trump covers it in 14K gold. And Maine Gov. Paul LePage said he keeps a binder full of mugshots of black and Hispanic drug dealing suspects, showing that the Republican party has come a long way from the days of Mitt Romney’s binders full of women. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Thursday, August 25th, 2016:

WAYBACK MACHINE: THAT TIME THE HEAD OF THE GOP APOLOGIZED FOR EXPLOITING RACIAL POLARIZATION - Mike Allen on July 14, 2005: “It was called ‘the southern strategy,’ started under Richard M. Nixon in 1968, and described Republican efforts to use race as a wedge issue ― on matters such as desegregation and busing ― to appeal to white southern voters. Ken Mehlman, the Republican National Committee chairman, this morning will tell the NAACP national convention in Milwaukee that it was ‘wrong.’ ‘By the ‘70s and into the ‘80s and ‘90s, the Democratic Party solidified its gains in the African American community, and we Republicans did not effectively reach out,’ Mehlman says in his prepared text. “Some Republicans gave up on winning the African American vote, looking the other way or trying to benefit politically from racial polarization. I am here today as the Republican chairman to tell you we were wrong.’” So vintage. [WaPo]

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HILLARY CLINTON GOES AFTER TRUMP’S ALT-RIGHT WEIRDOS - From her speech in Reno: “Anti-Muslim and anti-Immigrant ideas –– all key tenets making up an emerging racist ideology known as the ‘Alt-Right.’ Alt-Right is short for ‘Alternative Right.’ The Wall Street Journal describes it as a loosely organized movement, mostly online, that ‘rejects mainstream conservatism, promotes nationalism and views immigration and multiculturalism as threats to white identity.’ The de facto merger between Breitbart and the Trump Campaign represents a landmark achievement for the ‘Alt-Right.’ A fringe element has effectively taken over the Republican Party…. On David Duke’s radio show the other day, the mood was jubilant. ‘We appear to have taken over the Republican Party,’ one white supremacist said. Duke laughed. There’s still more work to do, he said. No one should have any illusions about what’s really going on here. The names may have changed… Racists now call themselves ‘racialists.’ White supremacists now call themselves ‘white nationalists.’ The paranoid fringe now calls itself ‘alt-right.’ But the hate burns just as bright.” [HuffPost]

DONALD TRUMP: I AM NOT RACIST, HILLARY CLINTON IS RACIST - Igor Bobic: Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump on Thursday criticized his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, for falsely accusing him and GOP voters of racism. ‘It’s the oldest play in the Democratic playbook. When Democratic policies fail, they are left with only this one tired argument,’ Trump said at a campaign rally in New Hampshire. ‘You’re racist, you’re racist, you’re racist. It’s a tired, disgusting argument. And it’s so totally predictable.’ ‘She lies, and she smears, she paints decent Americans — you— as racists,’ he added, a day after he himself called Clinton a ‘bigot’ who “sees people of color only as votes not as human beings worthy of a better future.’” [HuffPost]

WHAT A WEEK FOR THE ALT-RIGHT! Best week in Washington. Rosie Gray and Andrew Kaczynski: “On a day when the alt right is likely to become more famous than it’s ever been before, the movement is also facing a disorienting shift on its key issue by its favored candidate. On one hand, Hillary Clinton is set to give a speech today tying Donald Trump to the movement — a moment that will undoubtedly raise their profile and which casts them as central characters in the election. On the other, Trump has pivoted hard on immigration, reversing his stance on deportations. And Trump’s hard-line positions on immigration had been a key cause of the alt right’s devotion to him. On the week of possibly the alt right’s biggest victory, it’s also dealing with possible betrayal. ‘Trump has been so good for my cause that I’m able to be very tolerant and patient with him,’ said Richard Spencer, the president of the National Policy Institute, a white nationalist think tank, in an email to BuzzFeed News. ‘My tolerance and patience is huge. No one is more tolerant and patient than I am.’” [BuzzFeed]

HOW THESE WEIRDOS IMAGINE THEMSELVES - As heroes, of course. Here’s what alt-righters Allum Bokhari and Milo Yiannopoulos said of their movement in March: “Young people perhaps aren’t primarily attracted to the alt-right because they’re instinctively drawn to its ideology: they’re drawn to it because it seems fresh, daring and funny, while the doctrines of their parents and grandparents seem unexciting, overly-controlling and overly-serious….Millennials aren’t old enough to remember the Second World War or the horrors of the Holocaust. They are barely old enough to remember Rwanda or 9/11. Racism, for them, is a monster under the bed, a story told by their parents to frighten them into being good little children.” [Breitbart]

MEET TRUMP’S VOTER FRAUD FOOT SOLDIERS - Voter fraud is “inevitable,” says Lauren Essex, who plans to volunteer as a poll watcher for Donald Trump in Florida on Election Day. “It’s happened before in various elections and it can happen again,” Essex told The Huffington Post. For the Republican primary election in March, Essex was accepted as a poll watcher for Trump in Collier County, Florida, although she said she only made phone calls for the campaign. But as a hopeful November volunteer, Essex is one of the supporters Trump is trying to recruit to “stop crooked Hillary from rigging this election!As Trump struggles in the polls, he has suggested that voter fraud ― an incredibly rare crime ― will be partly to blame if he loses. His racially charged rhetoric speaks to some white supporters who fear their votes will be taken by immigrants and voters of color. Trump wants these supporters to join his campaign as poll watchers. But election experts worry they won’t follow the rules and are going to cause trouble. [w/ HuffPost’s Dana Liebelson]

THIS IS SO AWKWARD FOR JOE MANCHIN! Awkward in the sense that he is part of a legislative body that has deliberately made prescription drugs extremely profitable for rich companies and unaffordable for regular people. So awkward! “Mylan CEO Heather Bresch struggled Thursday to justify the repeated big price hikes of the company’s lifesaving EpiPen devices as criticism continued that Mylan is gouging consumers with a retail cost of more than $600. ‘No one’s more frustrated than me,’ Bresch told CNBC’s ‘Squawk Box’ on Thursday when she was pressed on the question of why Mylan needed to have such a high price for EpiPens, and why she just didn’t cut their price. ‘Everybody should be frustrated,’ said Bresch, who in recent days has come under fire from U.S. Senators, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and patients who are outraged by EpiPen’s skyrocketing cost.” [CNBC]

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, NATIONAL PARKS! YOU’RE OLD AF - Kate Sheppard: “Thursday marks the 100th anniversary of the National Park System, which has been described as ‘America’s best idea.’ Today the National Park Service oversees 409 sites, 23 national trails and 60 ‘wild and scenic’ rivers. These parks are among the country’s most prized assets ― enjoying high public regard and record attendance last year, with 307 million visitors. But they also face a nearly $12 billion backlog on maintenance. Repairs and upgrades to paved roads, bridges, and parking lots make up nearly half of that backlog. Another half involves the parks’ facilities, including dams, utility systems and amphitheaters. Funding for the National Park Service has fluctuated slightly in recent years, but hasn’t kept pace with needs.” [HuffPost]

Last night Trump completely softened his stance on immigration, saying he’d give undocumented immigrants legal status if they paid back taxes, which is much different than deporting them.

ARE YOU OK, CONSERVATIVE TALK RADIO? Igor Bobic: “Conservative talk radio has long been an influential bastion of anti-immigrant sentiment. When Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) backed a bipartisan effort to pass comprehensive immigration reform in 2013, prominent talk show hosts lashed out at the GOP darling, calling him a sell-out and pressuring him to reverse his position. But mere hours after Donald Trump appeared to walk back his stance on immigration ― the GOP nominee’s signature issue ― in favor of a plan for granting undocumented immigrants legal status, prominent voices in the conservative talk show circuit responded with hardly more than a shrug. ‘Is Donald Trump now Jeb Bush? I don’t think most people think that,’ Laura Ingraham said Wednesday on her radio show, referring to the former Florida governor’s immigration plan that included giving undocumented immigrants legal status. ‘They did make a mess of this immigration rollout or whatever it is they’re rolling out,’ Ingraham added, but the ‘reason it’s a problem is not because his supporters will leave him, but that actually it takes the heat off of Hillary [Clinton].’” [HuffPost]

@EricCantor: Pleased to see @realDonaldTrump embrace @JebBush’s immigration plan.

ANN COULTER SAD - Jonathan Swan: “Donald Trump ‘panicked’ when he said he was open to softening his immigration policies, according to conservative pundit and Trump ally Ann Coulter. ‘It’s just rhetoric but it’s still annoying,’ Coulter told The Hill Wednesday night. ‘I think he panicked and he had to say [it] ... I don’t think he is softening. I mean the big thing is the wall.’ Coulter, a hardline opponent of illegal immigration and one of Trump’s most prominent media backers, was speaking to The Hill at a party to launch her new book, ‘In Trump We Trust: E Pluribus Awesome!’” [The Hill]

CLINTON REALLY WANTS TO MUTE THIS THREAD - Hillary Clinton is running out of ways to say the same thing. Theodore Schleifer and Dan Merica: “’I have been asked many, many questions in the past year about emails and what I have learned is that when I try to explain what happened, it can sound like I am trying to excuse what I did. And there are no excuses. I want people to know that the decision to have a single email account was mine. I take responsibly for it. I apologize for it. I would certainly do differently if I could.’” [CNN]

BECAUSE YOU’VE READ THIS FAR - Sweet national park pics.

NATIONAL DIALOGUE ON RACE CONTINUES - Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) said Wednesday that for the past seven months he has been keeping a dossier of drug dealers arrested in his state to justify an earlier comment linking drugs and race. In a January conversation about Maine’s heroin problem, LePage said “guys with the name D-Money, Smoothie, Shifty” bring drugs from New York and Connecticut and “impregnate a young white girl before they leave.”  At a town hall in North Berwick on Wednesday, the Portland Press Herald reported, a man who identified himself as a businessman from New York asked the governor how the state could attract investment given the “toxic environment” created by LePage’s comments.  “I made the comment that black people are trafficking in our state. Now, ever since I said that comment I’ve been collecting every single drug dealer who has been arrested in our state,” LePage said, adding the man would be welcome to see the binder. (You can hear the exchange on the Portland Press Herald’s website.) “I don’t ask them to come to Maine and sell their poison, but they come,” LePage said. “And I will tell you that 90-plus percent of those pictures in my book ― and it’s a three-ringed binder ― are black and Hispanic people from Waterbury, Connecticut, the Bronx and Brooklyn.” [HuffPost]

CHAFFETZ TAKES BREAK FROM HASSLING HILLARY TO HASSLE TRUMP - Former Brigham Young University placekicker and current Republican congressman Jason Chaffetz wants to know how much money Donald Trump makes. Ben Walsh: ‘”You’re just going to have to do that, it’s too important,’ Chaffetz said on CNN. ‘If you’re going to run and try to become the president of the United States, you’re going to have to open up your kimono and show everything, your tax returns, your medical records.’” [HuffPost]

COMFORT FOOD

- This underwear ad is really upsetting ― don’t say we didn’t warn you.

- Enjoy these one-star reviews of our national parks.

- Katie Ledecky hurled a strike at a Nationals game. See how hers stacks up to other ceremonial first pitches.

TWITTERAMA

@jess_mc: Alright, dude who called me a bimbo’s top tweet is “Aromatherapy in Your Bathtub ― Blogging About What Matters.” I wanted to share.

@brianbeutler: Do you think instead of condemning the alt-right today, Clinton will try to persuade them the Great August Pivot turned Trump into a cuck?

@DanSlott:
I love you all,

but for the love of God,

it’s “Spider-Man”.

With a HYPHEN.

S P I D E R - M A N

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