A MICHAEL STEELE THOUGHT EXPERIMENT…. In June, in an electoral fluke, a man named Alvin Greene somehow managed to win the Democratic primary in South Carolina’s U.S. Senate race. When state and national Dems balked, leading far-right voices — Rush Limbaugh, Laura Ingraham, and others — insisted it was because the Democratic Party doesn’t like African-American candidates.

Five months later, House Democrats were choosing the leadership for the next Congress, and Steny Hoyer, who is white, led James Clyburn, who is black, for the post of House Minority Whip. Limbaugh had an explanation: “racist Democrats” wanted Clyburn “to go back to the back of the bus.”

Even by Republican standards, all of this was idiotic, and too blisteringly stupid to be taken seriously by anyone. But it’s worth referring back to the race-based rhetoric used by Limbaugh and his ilk given recent developments with the Republican National Committee.

To be sure, I don’t think racism had anything to do with Michael Steele’s ouster as RNC Chairman, and I haven’t seen even a shred of evidence that bigotry was a factor.

But I’m trying to imagine what far-right voices would say if the partisan dynamic were reversed, and Democrats decided to replace their first-ever African-American party chair — after just one term — following a midterm cycle in which Dems took back the House, made big gains in the Senate, and ended the year with 29 Democratic governors, eight more than when the chair took the reins.

I know Steele was booted because he was an awful RNC chair. I also know there’s no reason in the world to believe race had anything to do with the RNC’s decision.

But if the situation were reversed, what do you suppose Rush Limbaugh, Laura Ingraham, and their like-minded allies would be saying right now?

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Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.