Hillary Clinton on Thursday delivered a blistering denunciation of Donald J. Trump, saying he had embraced the “alt-right” political philosophy and presenting his choice as an especially ominous turn in a presidential election full of them.For decades, beyond-the-pale hatemongering has been an undercurrent in conservative politics, though the political mainstream has pretended that the hatemongering either wasn't taking place or was utterly insignificant. The mainstream media ignored talk radio, including overt racists such as Michael Savage and Bob Grant, and pretended that right-wing conspiratorialism (Clinton Body Counts and so on) were too lowbrow to take seriously. This has continued to the present day, as hate has migrated largely to the Internet.
In her most direct critique yet connecting the Trump campaign to white nationalists and the conservative fringe, Mrs. Clinton is framing Mr. Trump’s run as unprecedented in modern politics.
“He is taking hate groups mainstream and helping a radical fringe take over the Republican Party,” she said.
Asserting that a racially charged and “paranoid fringe” had always existed in politics, she said, “It’s never had the nominee of a major party stoking it, encouraging it and giving it a national megaphone. Until now.”
Hillary Clinton's speech demands that attention be paid.
That's a good thing, although I fear that some in the political establishment don't want to hear it because, well, accusing one party of stepping across a line the other party hasn't crossed just isn't done! Here's a Time reporter's response to the speech:
This Clinton speech is basically one big guilt-by-association attack. AKA politics as usual— Zeke Miller (@ZekeJMiller) August 25, 2016
Um, really? So Trump himself didn't call Mexican immigrants rapists? That was somebody else? And it was somebody else who attacked Judge Curiel?
There may be a number of journalists who say the speech was just too much. I hope not. I hope even our media can understand that the alt-right-ization of conservatism is a serious matter.
On the other hand, the right has been trending this way for years. Matt Drudge retransmits every crime story out of inner-city Chicago. The GOP works to deprive non-whites of voting rights. Republicans run against the "Ground Zero mosque." And on and on.
One downside of the Clinton speech is that it suggests that the GOP was fine until Trump came along. He's made the party worse, but it wasn't fine.
On the other hand, Clinton has diagnosed the disease. Maybe the political establishment will be forced to acknowledge symptoms of the disease when they manifest themselves in the future -- even after Trump leaves the scene.