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Opinion

Opinion: Sorry, the GOP and the alt-right are one and the same

Hillary Clinton
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks in Michigan in August.
(Andrew Harnik / Associated Press)

In a Times opinion piece this week headlined “The GOP is not the alt-right,” conservative columnist Jonah Goldberg wrote that “Trump is not an alt-righter, but his political inexperience, his anti-establishment persona, and his ignorance of, and hostility to, many basic tenets of conservatism created a golden opportunity for the alt-righters to latch onto his candidacy.” Overwhelmingly, Times readers disgreed, taking vehement issue with his premise. Here are some of the responses.

—Sara Lessley, Letters to the Editor department

Linda Kranen of Carlsbad decidely differs:

The assertion that the GOP is not the alt-right is like saying that a drug dealer isn’t the meth-lab operator.

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Alt-right propaganda has fueled the replacement of the GOP’s ever-shrinking conservative voter base with paranoid, bigoted grievance-based voters who wouldn’t know an economic policy if it bit them in the ankle, and the Republican Party has been content to accept this trade-off ever since LBJ’s Civil Rights Act was passed decades ago. How are they now not responsible for the ugly results?

Clinton’s willingness to differentiate the alt-right from traditional Republicans is an attempt to capture remaining GOP voters who are disgusted by Trump’s alt-right-inspired rhetoric. It doesn’t mean Republicans aren’t complicit in providing the national platform for it.

Russell S. Kussman in Pacific Palisades finds flaws:

Goldberg argues there is a bright line between Trump and the GOP on the one hand, and the alt-right on the other.

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He claims the alt-right is a “politically insignificant band” that has merely “latched onto Trump’s candidacy.” Wishful thinking, Jonah. There is no daylight between Trump and the alt-right. He himself frequents alt-right websites (how else could he have re-tweeted a neo-Nazi tweet) and he repeats their bizarre conspiracy theories with relish …. Yes, the alt-right has latched onto Trump’s candidacy. But Trump has latched back, with vigor.

Look at the team, says Eugene Sison in San Dimas:

Aside from the back-handed compliment of Clinton’s “exoneration” of the GOP, here’s the problem with his argument that The Donald is not an alt-righter: Steve Bannon, Trump’s new campaign CEO, is.

Adds Domenico Maceri in San Luis Obispo:

I agree that Clinton’s defense of conservativism revealed a political calculation as she attempted to attract moderate Republicans.... Many have already done so because the New York tycoon has shocked them with his “honesty.” We should be grateful to him for making crystal clear what the GOP has always stood for by depicting the party without the veneer of civility.

Oh c’mon, says Rob Shanahan in Venice:

Goldberg’s pained attempt at distancing the GOP front-runner from the alt-right reminds me of the saying: “If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, it must be a duck.” The GOP now has the loudest duck leading the flock, The Donald Duck.

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