These days, Republicans like Donald Trump and Ben Carson take great pride in rejecting political correctness. What they won’t acknowledge is that it is their party that invented the idea. No one articulated that better than Lee Atwater in his description of the Southern Strategy.
You start out in 1954 by saying, “N****r, n****r, n****r.” By 1968 you can’t say “n*****r” — that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states’ rights and all that stuff. You’re getting so abstract now [that] you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites. And subconsciously maybe that is part of it. I’m not saying that. But I’m saying that if it is getting that abstract, and that coded, that we are doing away with the racial problem one way or the other. You follow me — because obviously sitting around saying, “We want to cut this,” is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than “N****r, n****r.”
While Republicans haven’t quite resorted to using the “N” word (yet), the idea that racists don’t need to bother with trying to cover up their bigotry with political correctness certainly seems to have caught on. There have been a couple of blatant examples lately. Like the Ohio Trump campaign chair who said there was no racism until Obama got elected. Then there is the Pennsylvania mayor that posted a picture on Facebook of Clint Eastwood holding a noose, from the film “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly,” with a caption reading, “Barry, this rope is for you. You wanna bring that empty chair over here!”
But if you ever had any doubts about the fact that it is racism and sexism that is fueling the anger of Trump supporters, take a look at what Boston-based journalist, talk show host and Trump BFF Howie Carr said the other day. After railing about how a lot of us liberals are going to be among the victims of nuclear bombs raining down on us from Iran as a result of the Obama administration’s deal with that country, he said this:
That’s the worst thing about this administration. They’ve taken — it took 230 years to make this the greatest country, the greatest society in human history, and they are trying to unravel it and destroy it for — I don’t know why. I still don’t know why. What is — this country handed everything to Barack Obama. He didn’t have to work for anything. Just because of the color of his skin he was given everything. And he still hates the country.
Let’s see…what is it that is different now from what happened over the last “230 years to make this the greatest country?” Could it be that we “handed everything” to a guy “just because of the color of his skin?” And, of course, that guy with a bit more melanin obviously hates this country because “he didn’t have to work for anything.” Other than a suggestion that this President has set out to destroy the honor of white women, I can’t think of a racist trope he didn’t include in that one.
Of course, Carr has a long history of racist rants against immigrants and Muslims, so I guess this should come as no surprise. These are the kind of people Republicans have given permission to spew their hate with the nomination of Donald Trump and his diatribes against political correctness. While these three are merely anecdotal, please notice that they are a campaign chair, an elected official and a media personality who hail from Ohio, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts. In other words, this is institutional and it’s not just a “Southern Strategy.”