With Democrats roaring back into the House majority, there can be no half-measures, no equivocating and no hesitation. As CNN's Van Jones so poetically stated last night in describing the new Congress, "My heart has been restored... younger, browner, cooler, more women..."
Hopefully, this also means stronger spines in Congress.
Donald Trump is a proud, admitted nationalist. And by "nationalist" he means "white nationalist" as every non-white nationalist and white nationalist knows. Praised and admired by former KKK grand wizard David Duke, Trump has thrown gasoline on what we'd hoped were the dying embers of racism and anti-Semitism, not to mention misogyny.
Newly re-elected white nationalist Republican Iowa Congressman Steve King is emboldened by the fact that Trump and David Duke are seemingly making it "safe" to go full bigot, and no longer needing to speak in "code" in support of their white nationalism.
David Duke’s giddy stamp of approval of King's white nationalist comments came easy when King supported far right, racist Dutch politician Geert Wilders (often called the "Dutch Donald Trump") saying Wilder "understands that culture and demographics are our destiny. We can't restore our civilization with somebody else's babies."
Many top donors pulled their funding and support from King over his overt racism, recently on display in his interview with a far right Austrian media outlet where he lamented what he viewed as the threat non-whites presented to the Western world.
Democrats, on day one, must censure Steve King. A reprimand is but a mere letter -- a slap on the wrist. A censure would require Republicans to cast their vote, go on the record, and address the Nazi in their midst. Should King persist in his white nationalist activism, the House should then vote for expulsion.
We either accept and tolerate racism and anti-Semitism in Congress, or we don't. It's critical that Speaker-in-waiting Nancy Pelosi understands that this is not the picking of a fight by Democrats. Donald Trump, David Duke and Steve King have already picked the fight, confident that Democrats lack the courage to do battle. Democrats cannot let this incubate, cannot show pause, and cannot rationalize an under-reaction on their part. That his extremely safe Republican, pro-Trump, lily white congressional district came within a hair of kicking him to the curb should be more than enough to convince congressional Democrats that censuring King should be considered an easy top agenda item.
If we can’t consider taking on racists, Nazis and misogynists to be low-hanging fruit, we need to check our credentials as patriots, civilized human beings and non-neanderthals at the door.
If the House can censure its own for misuse of congressional letterhead (it has), sexual misconduct (it has), and receiving improper gifts (it has), it seems censuring Steve King for engaging in repeated, escalated Nazi and racist activism should be a no-brainer. There is no reason for Pelosi to let grass grow under her feet on this.
Anything less than the censuring of congressional white nationalist Republican Steve King should be viewed as tolerance or endorsement.