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Wednesday, 16 August 2017 11:17

Racial politics haunt GOP in the Trump era

Written by  CBS News

The statue of Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville, Virginia, was the focus of an emotional debate in the state's Republican primary election weeks before it became a flashpoint in the nation's struggle over race.

Corey Stewart, an outsider candidate for governor sometimes compared to President Donald Trump, seized on possible removal of the Confederate general's memorial as an "attempt to destroy traditional America." Stewart, who said in an interview Tuesday that such an action "hits people in the gut," found unexpectedly strong support, forced his main opponent to defend the statue and almost won.

Now the fight over "traditional America" is throwing a spotlight on the Republican Party's struggle with race in the age of Trump. The deadly white supremacist rally against removal of the Lee statue served as a painful example of the uncomfortable alignment between some in the party's base and the far-right fringe. But despite the party's talk of inclusiveness and minority outreach, it's clear white fears continue to resonate with many in the GOP base. Politicians willing to exploit those issues are often rewarded with support. One big beneficiary, critics say, has been the president himself.

A crowd of protesters in Charlottesville confronted a man holding a confederate flag on Tuesday at the site of the Robert E.

Read more at CBS News

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