What occurred the past few days symbolizes the fracture within the GOP that is becoming more evident as the primary season continues. The GOP has a Donald Trump, and further to the right, a right-wing and even further to the right, an extreme-right-wing political problem
Not that it might make much of a difference on Super Tuesday, but earlier this morning, Joe Scarborough has called Donald Trump candidacy disqualifying, the candidate is back in the media defending himself and attacking the media. Joining the candidate in slamming the media, however, is the other man in the spotlight this weekend, trying to get media attention, that being no other than David Duke.
The Trump-Duke controversy erupted when CNN’s Jake Tapper asked Trump whether he would disavow Duke and other white supremacist groups that are supporting his campaign. "Just so you understand, I don't know anything about David Duke, OK?" Trump said. Tapper asked Trump three times about distancing himself from the Ku Klux Klan -- but never mentioned the group in his answers. "I don't know anything about what you're even talking about with white supremacy or white supremacists," he said. "So I don't know. I don't know -- did he endorse me, or what's going on? Because I know nothing about David Duke; I know nothing about white supremacists."
Scarborogh, a Republican, showed his outrage and made his "disqualifying" comments about Trump in a discussion lasting a few minutes.
However, on NBC morning news today, Trump blamed a faulty earpiece for his repeated refusals to disavow the support of former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke during a weekend interview. Trump pointed out the earpiece was provided by CNN, before the interview. "I'm sitting in a house in Florida with a very bad earpiece that they gave me," Trump said on NBC's Today show regarding an interview broadcast Sunday on CNN's State of the Union. "And you can hardly hear what he was saying." Trump said, "And frankly, he talked about groups. He also talked about groups. And I have no problem with disavowing groups but I'd at least like to know who they are."
So, what say David Duke? After the Sunday morning CNN interview, the former KKK leader and neo-Nazi said he never endorsed Trump but believes Americans should vote for him and that he would be doing so. He also called two of his opponents, traitors and then continued his video discussion denouncing Jews. The problem for the GOP is simple. Many of Trump's ardent supporters come from a population that will try to distance itself from the hate groups and extremists such as Duke, but their policies and arguments are often indistinguishable from those like the former Klansman--they openly shun.
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Not that the Democrats are free from their own association-issues. A large segment of that party during he primary endorsed a self-declared "socialist". The likely Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, will have that albatross around its neck.
Regardless, the Republicans are on a path towards redefining its base since the rise of the Tea Party. The result could carry the party into the White House come November because of the enthusiasm of the Tea Party followers for Trump. However, the more connection between Trump and the far-right-wing extremism that his candidacy embraces, don't be surprised if the GOP finds itself in the out-house, once again.