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Priebus Is What Happens When a Party Loses Its Self-Respect

By       Message John Nichols       (Page 1 of 2 pages)     Permalink

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Cross-posted from The Nation


Reince Priebus. (Flickr/Gage Skidmore)

The Republican National Committee has retained Reince Priebus as party chairman, keeping the failed leader in a position previously occupied by Mark Hanna, Lee Atwater and Haley Barbour.

Even as he accepted his new term, Priebus acknowledged that he and his minions have led their party far from the American mainstream. "We have to build better relationships in minority communities, urban centers and college towns," he admitted in his acceptence speech.

Addressing the tens of millions of Americans -- women, African-Americans, Hispanics, gays and lesbians, young people, union members -- who by wide margins reject the Republican "brand," Priebus said, "We want to earn your trust again."

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But those are just carefully chosen words for public consumption.

Priebus was not reelected to build a multiracial, multiethnic party that embraces diversity and seeks to deliver a message of opportunity for all. The whole point of his chairmanship has been to combat the politics of inclusion that Republicans decry Barack Obama for practicing.

That has placed the once honorable Republican Party on the wrong side of history, and of American progress.

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Priebus has seen the numbers. He understands the demographics. He knows the GOP, as it is currently organized and focused, is unlikely to win the "trust" he spoke of. Indeed, he is so sure that the party will fail to do so that he has devoted himself and his party to advancing restrictive "Voter ID" laws, placing limits on early voting and Election Day registration and, most recently, restructuring the Electoral College so that the party can remain competitive even if it lacks popular appeal.

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John Nichols, a pioneering political blogger, has written the Online Beat since 1999. His posts have been circulated internationally, quoted in numerous books and mentioned in debates on the floor of Congress.

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