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By BERRY CRAIG

The other day, I heard a liberal Democratic congresswoman say on TV that Republican lawmakers won’t call out the bigot-in-chief because they’re scared of him.

Maybe some are. But it's not just profiles in cowardice. Trumpism is triumphant in the GOP.

It's a toxic stew of racism, sexism, nativism, greed, union-busting, religious intolerance, anti-environmentalism and saber-rattling--as long as somebody else does the fighting--served up. Its ladeled lut by the GOP Senate majority and House minority and lapped up by the base. 

The old party of Lincoln and Liberty is long gone. The Southern Strategy was its death rattle.

"It's a sad time for this nation when Trump gets up before an audience like Leni Riefemstahl used to film and says what he says," says veteran Kentucky journalist Bill Straub.

Riefenstahl was Hitler's favorite film maker.

Click here to hear voices of the faithful at Trump rallies on New York Times video: https: https://www.nytimes.com/video/us/politics/100000004533191/unfiltered-voices-from-donald-trumps-crowds.html?emc=e

Trumpian demagogery goes way beyond the White House. Click here to hear Trump acoylite James Comer, congressman and Bluegrass State bigot, rev up his pander machine for the true believers at Kentucky's biggest political picnic: https://www.courier-journal.com/media/cinematic/video/1919670001/james-c...

"I know Kentucky well," Comer says in his harangue. The state is 85 percent whiteHis district is probably whiter. 

Predictably, Comer praises the president and pans "the squad."

Before his red meat rant for the white folks, Comer--who votes Trump's way nearly 95 percent of the time-- was on PBS denying that Trump's a racist. “I believe the president shares a lot of Americans’ frustration with Congress, particularly those four women congressmen who, for no other reason, constantly criticize not only the president, but also Congress and our country,’ he said. 

Straub didn’t buy it, writing in his Kentucky Forward and Northern Kentucky Tribune online column that  “Comer, like most congressional Republicans, is being intentionally obtuse about Trump’s racist predilections. If the president was caught lighting a cross on the front lawn of an African-American family’s home, Comer likely would suggest he was simply inviting them to a wienie roast.”

Trump, Comer and the rest of the GOP has resurrected the old white solidarity scam, the same old hustle white supremacist Democrats in Dixie used to con poor whites in slavery and Jim Crow times.  

“If you can convince the lowest white man he’s better than the best colored man, he won’t notice you’re picking his pocket,” LBJ said. “Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he’ll empty his pockets for you.”

The GOP is clued in. John C. Calhoun, Jeff Davis, Pitchfork Ben Tillman, Theo Bilbo, Lester Maddox and George Wallace would be popping their buttons at what's happened the "Black Republicans" of The Great Emancipator's day. So would Henry C. Burnett, a pro-slavery Democrat who represented Comer's district from 1855 to 1861 and was kicked out of Congress for siding with the Confederacy.

Anyway, Trump aimed for the white folks to read "Make America Great Again" as "Make America White Again." They didn't disappoint.

Trump might be slipping in the polls nationally. But he's still the Great White Hope in Comer's corner of Kentucky, where I've live all my life, and elsewhere in white, Bible-Belt Belt Trumpistan. (The president won 62.5 percent of Bluegrass State ballots and carried all but urban Jefferson (Louisville) and Fayette (Lexington) counties.)

Kentucky was all the way with LBJ in '64 but went for Nixon in '68. It wasn't the Vietnam War that soured most Kentuckians on Johnson and the Democrats. It was those civil rights bills they championed. The Democrats have been slipping with the Bluegrass State white folks since.

Kentucky was part of the old Democratic "Solid South." The white folks in my home state and the old Confederacy were all in for the New Deal, the CCC and the WPA, too. They were fine with Uncle Sam putting them back to work. 

But when Dems embraced the old Yankee Republican notion that Uncle Sam also could also make real the words of the Declaration about equality, they started jumping ship to the GOP, which trashed its Lincolnian heritage and started yelping "state's rights" -- the old Southern Democratic code word for slavery and Jim Crow.

The white South turned Republican Red. It took Border State Kentucky a tad longer to crimson.  

So Spare me the alibiing that economic insecurity, not racial resentment, was the main motivator among Trump voters. A slew of studies—click herehere and here—clearly showed that Trump mainly rode a wave of racial resentment into the White House. Trump--and the likes of Comer--are counting on racial resentment to do the trick for them again.  

It's not the economy, stupid. It's race-baiting in the GOP of Trump, McConnell and Comer.