Has the Republican party become the bigoted, racist party of Pat Buchanan

To the editor:

I must take issue with the column by Pat Buchanan published on the eve of the 2018 election. After a long campaign marred by anti-immigrant rhetoric and punctuated by political, racist, and anti-Semitic violence, Buchanan closes the season by equating mass migration of people of color with a “mortal threat to Red State America.”

When it comes to divisive politics, Buchanan has never embraced the dog whistle. He has always preferred to make clear what he believes. And so he concludes his shallow column thusly: “politically, continued mass migration to the USA by peoples of color, who vote 70-90 percent Democratic, is going to change our country another way. Red state America will inevitably turn blue.”

I suppose he might have said that red state American will turn brown, because that is what he wants his readers to fear.

There is an alternative to this kind of future. Republicans like Buchanan could look in the mirror and ask why brown and black Americans vote 70-90 percent Democratic. They do so because of racists like Buchanan. I suppose it would take a special person of color to embrace a party that considers Pat Buchanan a senior statesman.

Rather than make room for those who beat the drum of hate, Republicans should purge relics like Buchanan and create an inclusive party that welcomes anyone willing to work hard and contribute to this great nation.

In 1996, Republican Presidential candidate Bob Dole had this to say about his party: “The Republican Party is broad and inclusive. It represents many streams of opinion and many points of view. But if there’s anyone who has mistakenly attached themselves to our party in the belief that we are not open to citizens of every race and religion, then let me remind you — tonight this hall belongs to the party of Lincoln. And the exits, which are clearly marked, are for you to walk out of as I stand this ground without compromise.”

We have come a long way as a nation since 1996. Will the tolerant and inclusive Republican Party of Bob Dole ever be revived, or has it become the bigoted and racist party of Pat Buchanan?

Which side are you on?

Jeff Kolnick


Jeff Kolnick is a history professor at Southwest Minnesota State University