As the campaign heats up in the final weeks before November’s U.S. midterms elections, so have overt appeals to racial animus and resentment, reported The Washington Post (WP) last week.
“The toxic remarks appear to be receiving less pushback from Republicans than in past years, suggesting that some candidates in the first post-Trump election cycle have been influenced by the ex-president’s norm-breaking example,” said the report.
The racial invective has come at a time when Democrats are dealing with their own scandal in Los Angeles, where Democratic city council members and a labor leader were recorded making racist statements, according to the report.
Civil rights leaders say they are holding out hope that the environment will improve after the U.S. midterms but worry that each new attack further erodes the standards for how people in public life talk about race and religion.
“I don’t know if it’ll be very easy to put the genie back in the bottle,” Jonathan Greenblatt, the chief executive of the Anti-Defamation League, was quoted as saying.
The racist messages from prominent Republicans came in rapid succession. It was on Friday, Sept. 30, when Donald Trump used racist language toward Elaine Chao, who served as his transportation secretary for four years. A week later, Republican Sen. Tommy Tuberville of Alabama used racist rhetoric about Black people, crime and reparations.
The next day, Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia re-emphasized her support for the racist “great replacement” conspiracy theory. All the while, Black candidates for the U.S. Senate were confronting attack ads emphasizing race in unsubtle ways. Yesterday, for good measure, Trump thought it’d be a good idea to dabble in antisemitism — again.
To be sure, the push isn’t especially surprising. It’s also an offensive with ample precedent in the American tradition. What’s more, it’s very likely to have the intended effect: The right would steer clear of such ugly tactics if conservatives were convinced they wouldn’t work.
But The Washington Post had a good report over the weekend noting the difference between this year’s offensive messaging and what voters have seen in recent years.