Donald Trump Is the End Result of the Republican Party’s Exclusionary Tactics

Trump the Game: It's all fun until you've excluded all your potential voters.

Trump the Game: It’s all fun until you’ve excluded all your potential voters.

Adam Serwer’s excellent assessment of the Trump campaign—it’s titled “The Antidote to Trump“—is absolutely worth your time. Here’s the thesis statement:

The force that can scour Trumpism from the Republican Party for good is the same one that gave Truman the ability to defy the Dixiecrats: a diverse base. Not the feel-good diversity of tokenism or having “black friends,” but the division of power.

This is absolutely true. Trump’s rise to popularity in the Republican Party could only have happened with the help of a homogenous base. And the only way to stop this kind of exclusionary talk is by diversifying that base. On the face of it, this seems to be a catch-22, but Serwer correctly points out that both Democrats and Republicans have successfully incorporated more diverse viewpoints at multiple times in their histories. More to the point, the diversification often came after demagogues single-handedly drove the parties to their worst moments.

Nobody can seriously deny that the party of Trump is at a low point. Unless you’re a straight white male, the Republican Party has likely overtly offended you in the last few years. In this primary alone, politicians have worked to exclude, vilify, or outright deny the rights of every minority imaginable. This is not sustainable.

Diversity, as Civic Skunk Works co-founder Nick Hanauer has said, is the key to innovation of all kinds: “The more cognitive diversity we have — the more people simultaneously approaching the same problem from as many different backgrounds and perspectives as possible — the greater the rate of innovation.” And yes, that includes political innovation. Without diversity, your answers become more and more myopic, until finally the solutions to all your problems start to look remarkably like Donald Trump: hateful, exclusionary, and cruel.

Donald Trump is the end result of the negative feedback loop that Hanauer has warned us about: Trump happens when you run out of innovative solutions to complex problems. By continually scaring away diverse populations, the Republican Party has bombed itself back to the stone age, rhetorically speaking; all their problem-solving capabilities have been reduced to clubs and sharp rocks. Exclude these people, give tax cuts to the rich, and invade any country that disagrees with us is not a platform. It’s a prescription for destruction.

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Paul Constant
Paul Constant has written about politics, books, and film for Newsweek, The Progressive, the Utne Reader, and alternative weeklies around the country.