To say the least, it is disturbing that relatively few Republicans are standing up to Donald Trump for his repugnant equation of white supremacists with people on the left. Most Republicans on the Hill recognize that some 70% of Republicans still support Donald Trump, and they are reasoning that it is too risky to criticize him in the sharp terms appropriate to the situation.
This is distressing because Trump’s turn takes Republican racism a large step to the right. The Republican Party has long engaged in covert racist appeals (Willie Horton, welfare queens, etc.), but it has not openly catered to the Klan or the Nazis.
That Republicans feel they need to pull punches here to get votes in the primaries may well be a miscalculation, but it together with their votes on health care promises to be fatal in the general. If you cannot attack Trump on fundamental moral issues and you feel you have to vote to deny health care to millions in order to win the primary, you are walking into the general election with an enormously heavy burden. Let us remember that 70% of Republicans is 17.5% of the national electorate. Catering to a cast of deplorables is a high price to pay if getting elected in the general is the goal of Congressional Republicans.