The day of the mass-shooting in Orlando, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) saw a partisan opportunity. In a striking statement, the far-right Texan effectively challenged his foes on the other side of the aisle: “If you’re a Democratic politician and you really want to stand for LGBT, show real courage and stand up against the vicious ideology that has targeted our fellow Americans for murder.”
Soon after, this became a surprisingly common talking point among Republicans, including Donald Trump. As we talked about the other day, the pitch is ugly but straightforward: a Muslim killed 49 people in a gay nightclub; Republicans are anti-Muslim; therefore LGBT voters should support Republicans.
The trouble is, the house of cards collapses pretty quickly for anyone who pauses to think about the argument. Indeed, to take the pitch seriously, one has to find arguments like this one from Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) persuasive.
Alabama Rep. Mo Brooks said on Thursday that the American Muslim community would “kill every homosexual in the United States of America” if it had its way.Brooks, a Republican, made the comment after being asked on the Matt & Aunie show on WAPI radio about why the left refuses to acknowledge that it is “mainstream Muslim thought” to put homosexuals to death.
As the BuzzFeed report noted, Brooks said on the radio show that Democrats “are in a perplexing position. On the one hand, they’re trying to appeal to the gay community, but, on the other hand, they’re trying to also appeal to the Muslim community, which, if it had its way, would kill every homosexual in the United States of America.”
Mo Brooks has a deeply unfortunate habit of saying all kinds of bizarre things, but this one has to be right up there on his Greatest Hits list.
In case it’s not blisteringly obvious, the Muslim-American community does not want to “kill every homosexual in the United States of America.” The idea is plainly bonkers.
Some high-profile Republicans have palled around with Christian extremists who believe Scripture demands the death penalty for homosexuality, but that does not mean the evangelical community wants to kill every LGBT American, either.
But just as striking as Brooks’ over-the-top rhetoric is the partisan assumption at the core of his argument: the Alabama congressman, among others in his party, really seems to believe the Orlando massacre is an opportunity to create new divisions among Democrats, Muslims, and LGBT voters – as if any of these constituencies are inclined to see Republicans as a new ally.
If Brooks thinks this gambit is going to pay electoral dividends, he’s going to be disappointed.