February 22, 2016 at 8:50 am EST | by Kevin Naff
Making America homophobic again
Donald Trump, gay news, Washington Blade

Donald Trump (Washington Blade file photo by Lee Whitman)

What began as an entertaining summer watching the Republican Party eat its own turned scary last weekend as Donald Trump won a landslide victory in South Carolina. It would take an unprecedented break with electoral history for Trump to lose the nomination, having also won in New Hampshire.

Trump embarrasses himself, the Republican Party and our country each time he opens his mouth. The mainstream media deserve considerable blame for his dominating the polls, granting endless softball interviews since last summer at the expense of airtime for other candidates who, unlike Trump, are required to put on a suit and actually show up in a studio to be interviewed. He lies about everything and is rarely challenged. It took Fox News’s Megyn Kelly to stand up to the bully and his misogyny. Otherwise, the softies of morning news allow Trump to say any outrageous thing out of fear he won’t come back to their shows and goose ratings again.

Trump’s rise is the predictable and unavoidable consequence of glorifying stupidity and anti-intellectualism. In a beautiful display of karma, Sen. John McCain was attacked by Trump for being captured during the Vietnam War. It was McCain who gave us Sarah Palin in a cynical ploy to appeal to uneducated, racist Tea Partiers. You reap what you sow.

The only positive contribution Trump has made: repeatedly assailing presumed front-runner Jeb Bush as “low-energy,” a fatal and apt description that Bush couldn’t shake, no matter how hard he tried to reanimate. Thank you, Donald, for sparing us another Bush in the White House.

As bad as Trump is, the alternatives could be worse for LGBT Americans, with Sens. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio already spelling out plans for how to undo marriage equality and advance so-called “religious freedom” measures. Rubio, at age 44, is supposed to represent the future of the party. Yet his positions on a range of issues, including LGBT concerns, smack of the 1950s, not a “new American century” (which, by the way, started 16 years ago).

It is simply unimaginable that an LGBT voter could support any of these candidates. The Log Cabin Republicans should sit out this election and hope for a Democratic landslide so the GOP can finally get serious about retooling for a new era. Maybe then Log Cabin will carry more meaningful influence with party leaders and convince them to renounce homophobia in the platform and to oppose laws that dissuade or prevent African Americans from voting. After Mitt Romney’s 2012 thumping, RNC leader Reince Priebus announced plans for an “autopsy” to right the ship and appeal to a broader base of voters. The report concluded that, “among the steps Republicans take in the Hispanic community and beyond, must be to embrace and champion comprehensive immigration reform.”

On gay voters, the report noted, “Already, there is a generational difference within the conservative movement about issues involving the treatment and the rights of gays — and for many younger voters, these issues are a gateway into whether the Party is a place they want to be.”

So what happened? Instead of immigration reform, we got Trump promising to bully Mexico into building a nearly 2,000-mile border fence, a laughable goal embraced by legions of his deluded supporters. Instead of moderating on gay rights, we got Rubio and Cruz vowing to attack us in new, creative ways and even contending that the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on marriage is not “settled law.” Trump, meanwhile, flip-flopped on previous pro-gay statements and pledged to reverse nationwide marriage equality, apparently unaware of how the three branches of government operate.

In short, the Republican Party is a non-starter for any serious minded LGBT voter who cares at all about his or her basic rights under the law. Make no mistake: If any of the Republicans manages to get elected, the LGBT community will be back on defense, fending off attacks on marriage equality, transgender rights and more. The next president will likely get multiple Supreme Court picks, raising concerns about fresh lawsuits seeking to undermine marriage equality. In addition, we can be sure that a Republican president would undo many of the various pro-LGBT administrative changes enacted by President Obama.

Priebus and the GOP establishment have lost control of their party. It’s been fun to watch, but the joke will be on us if Trump, Cruz or Rubio lands in the White House.

Kevin Naff is editor of the Washington Blade. Reach him at knaff@washblade.com.

Kevin Naff is the editor and a co-owner of the Washington Blade, the nation’s oldest and most acclaimed LGBT news publication, founded in 1969.

  • What do you mean making America homophobic “again”? When did America stop being homophobic? Despite some auspicious laws, favorable court rulings and being more visible on TV, in the movies, the press and media, homophobia like racism has always been there and persists. Changing the laws doesn’t mean deep-seated attitudes of hatred and intolerance have changed. Rather they have been silenced and forced into the shadows rather than accepted openly.

    Apparently our victories have lulled us into a false sense of security and invulnerability. When did we become bullet proof? What can be granted is always under threat of being taking away. The voting rights act should illustrate that example to you. Abortion rights are always under assault and marriage equality rights continue to be threatened by religious freedom laws. The SCOTUS ruling for marriage equality was narrow with most conservatives ruling against it. That is not good. Tilt the court to the right and you give them an opening to reverse it like we did on Sodomy laws the 2nd time around!

    Gay conservatives care more about fiscal/economic issues more than they care about social issues. So despite shooing themselves in the foot, they don’t care, if the candidate they support and vote for is anti-gay. They are stupid enough to think their rights won’t change. They are conservative first and gay is just who they sleep with through grindr hookups!

    The fact that the leading GOP candidates all oppose or condemn GLBT freedom and legal rights is reason enough to be very concerned. At least we can be thankful that these candidates are honest about it. We know what you get if you vote them into office. Scalia’s vacancy makes the urgency all the more obvious as most of our advancements under the law have been through the court not the legislature. What you do this election can impact your life significantly for the worse. It’s a wakeup call to stop assuming we can never be threatened again. We must pull together as a community more than ever!

  • Why the lead focus on Trump? As bad as he is, Cruz and Rubio are even worse on LGBT issues. Just because straight liberals are hysterical over Trump because they ignore LGBT issues doesn’t mean you should follow their lead.

  • “the Republican Party is a non-starter for any serious minded LGBT voter who cares at all about his or her basic rights under the law”

    Which explains why Caitlyn Jenner and other 0.01%-ers are willing to inflict Trump/Cruz/Rubio/Kasich on people who actually need access to the machinations of government to protect their rights. They think their money will protect them – and it probably will, for a little while.

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