Twitter employees recently explained why they haven’t banned their all of the white nationalists. In theory twitter has a hateful conduct policy which should result in the banning of white nationalist accounts. However, the algorithms that are supposed to capture hateful posts are not designed to pick up the bulk of white nationalist posts. Some twitter employees suggest that the reason for this is that it would end up banning too many republicans. And in particular it may end up resulting in the banning of politicians.
Now, there is a discussion to be had about free speech and there is also the fact that Twitter officially denied letting white nationalists off the hook because their republicans. But it’s clear that twitter considers the accounts of politicians to have certain permissions for hat speech that regular accounts don’t have. And the politicians in question are mostly republicans.
Republican politicians have done and said many things that have been either implicitly or explicitly racist. A notable example was when Donald Trump said that there were good people on both sides of the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia when one of those sides consisted of neo Nazis who are marched with torches and chanted ‘Jews will not replace us’. Donald Trump has also prevented the United States from adequately trying to assess and deal with the threat from white nationalism despite the clear threat that it represents. Much more than simple twitter posts there have been white nationalist who have committed terrorist attacks that have killed many people. It is inexcusable for Trump to overlook this.
But it’s not surprising that republican politicians don’t want to go hard on white nationalists. White nationalism is part of republicanism. The clearest indication of this is that Republican Party has an actual white nationalist in Congress, Steve King.
Steve King has done and said a lot. He endorsed Faith Goldy, a white nationalist mayoral candidate for Toronto. He displayed the Confederate flag in his office, the flag which was created for the southern states when they fought to keep slavery in place. He has said “We can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies.” clearly referring to non-white infants. He questioned why terms like “white nationalist” and “white supremacy” are bad. There are numerous other quotes and numerous endorsements for European far right politicians. Steve King denies being a racist but he clearly is one based on his previous words and actions.
And the Republican Party for the most part hasn’t cared. It was only recently that a significant number of republicans criticised him and removed him from committee assignments in congress. And there are no indications that they will have a problem with him remaining in the party and running for it again in 2020. For the time being he will remain a strong reminder to every one of the Republican Party’s tolerance of white nationalism.