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Sue Lani Madsen: The James Allsups of this world are not the Republican Party

Sue Lani Madsen (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)
Sue Lani Madsen (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)

There’s no question James Allsup is a white supremacist.

His YouTube videos and writings are full of traditional white supremacist rhetoric that would have been found in underground newspapers a generation ago. The Spokane County Republicans denounced him in June with this statement over Cecily Wright’s signature as chairman: “His past statements, affiliations and actions are deeply out-of-step (sic) with the values of the Republican Party, as well as the values of the Spokane County GOP and our members.”

The Spokane County GOP denounced him again this week, after now ex-Chairman Wright flip-flopped and applauded Allsup at a meeting of a local Republican club, without the knowledge or backing of the party. “Hate has no place here in the Republican Party, intolerance has no place in the Republican Party,” said Michael Baumgartner at a news conference on Thursday. Baumgartner is currently serving as senator for Spokane’s 6th Legislative District.

And yet Allsup turns up again. Unsurprising. It’s part of the strategy of the white supremacist movement to look and act respectable “to gain institutional power, and they’ve got their lizardy eyes on the Republican Party as the pathway toward respectability,” as columnist Shawn Vestal wrote on Allsup’s first moves toward respectability by playing preccinct committee officer games in Whitman County.

No matter how many times Allsup says he is just a conservative guy who happens to be white, he is still a white supremacist. And there is a difference.

John Smith, a conservative guy who was appointed to fill the remainder of Sen. Bob Morton’s seat in the 7th Legislative District in 2013, was raised in a family of white supremacists. Groups identified as “other” are the source of all problems, according to his family, conspiring to deprive the white man of his rightful place on top of the identity politics food chain. “It is entirely demeaning, and entirely warped, but it’s really their worldview. Once you go down that path their view is so warped it affects every element of reality,” said Smith. He cited the levels of domestic abuse in white supremacist households. “The hate affects every relationship. If I didn’t believe in God’s restorative power, I’d think those people are irretrievably lost.”

It was through accepting Jesus Christ as his savior that John Smith found his way out of the white supremacist worldview bubble, and his inside knowledge leads him to fear the movement. “These guys are like the Al Qaeda, devoted in a way that we find hard to understand,” said Smith.

Smith says one thing the left doesn’t get is that hard-core white supremacists hate Republicans as much as they hate Jews, Mexicans and African Americans. They hate anyone unwilling to accept their worldview, to buy into their delusion as reality. Too many conversations about racism lump every white person into this shadowy grand conspiracy. Painting with such a broad brush enables the wackos to recruit.

Because Smith was once inside the white supremacist worldview by way of his grandfather, Smith’s personal statement on the Wright-Allsup connection is even stronger than the statements from the Republican Party establishment.

“James Allsup and folks who will give him a platform to speak or praise or support his vile, hateful rhetoric do not represent me or the values of the GOP I have worked hard in for years,” Smith said. “When the racist, anti-Semitic and misogynist rhetoric that Allsup and Co. vomit out on the rest of the world is not confronted by Republicans, then Republicans wear it. Let me just say I find Allsup’s beliefs, and those things he has said through the Northwest Grass Roots organization, to be disgusting and in no way do they or he speak for me.”

Republicans have confronted Allsup’s rhetoric. Denouncing Republicans because Allsup and Co. use them for cover is really no different than denouncing all Muslims because of the existence of Al Qaeda, something the defenders of the left would quickly to point to as injustice, unless it looks like a good way to score points in the current political games.

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