Newsweek: Outside The Beltway: Defining ‘Racisim’ Down

Newsweek

Outside The Beltway: Defining ‘Racisim’ Down

I’ve noted for months the rise of a meme, first in the Democratic primaries then, and especially, in the general election campaign that the only thing that could possibly keep Barack Obama from winning is racism. Given that he appears to be coasting to victory, drawing in staggering levels of contributions and spending massive sums to advertise in states he can’t possibly win just for the sake of running up the score and creating the illusion of a one would think that talk would go away. It hasn’t. Indeed, we continue to see it even in the most respectable corners of the center-left. Josh Marshall, for example, writes, 

Yes, it looks good for the Democrats. But you need to play close attention to the McCain campaign’s final weeks’ strategy under and just above the radar. McCain’s final strategy relies on two pillars. The first is aggressively playing to voters’ fears of electing a black president. Make no mistake: not just his campaign in a general sense, but McCain himself and his top handful of advisers, are banking on the residual racism in a changing America to get them over the finish line. The second is an aggressive use of innuendo to convince casual voters that Obama is in league with Islamic terrorists bent on killing Americans.

This is nonsense.  Republicans have been using the Patriotism card against Democrats in every presidential election in my lifetime.  Nixon did it. Reagan did it.  Bush 41 did it.  Dole did it.  Bush 43 did it.  (I don’t know whether Ford did it; if he didn’t, he should have, considering the narrowness of his loss.)  Given that the opponents in each case were Caucasian, it’s hard to see how the tactic is racist.  Using a tried-and-true tactic against a biracial candidate doesn’t magically make it racist.

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