Not long after losing its second presidential election to Barack Obama, the GOP, so the story goes, operated on itself. Like a lung-cancer patient declaring that it’s time to quit smoking, the Republican National Committee declared in a 2013 “autopsy” report that “the Republican Party must be committed to building a lasting relationship within the African-American community year-round, based on mutual respect and with a spirit of caring.”
A few months later, Republicans cheered a Supreme Court decision that maimed the Voting Rights Act. Three years after that — in the wake of more than a dozen states pushing through fresh new laws to make it more difficult for African-American and Hispanic people to vote — the party crossed another Rubicon by nominating Donald Trump for president, a birther with an unquestioned record of racial discrimination and bigoted rhetoric. This was not so much hypocritical as it was suicidal.