The Washington Post reported Monday that Americans will learn by Wednesday whether Republicans can win by stoking racism.
“The 2016 election confirmed that a potential president could run – and win – after stoking racism,” wrote Matt Viser in “Midterms test whether Republicans not named Trump can win by stoking racial animosity.”
Now, in the closing days, “the midterms are shaping up as a demonstration of whether the entire Republican Party can succeed by following his lead.
“By running so overtly on racially tinged messages, the GOP is putting that explosive form of politics on the ballot. If Republicans maintain control of the House, the notion of running a campaign built on blunt, race-based attacks on immigrants and minorities will have been validated. A loss, on the other hand, might prompt a number of Republicans to call for a rethinking of the party’s direction – but that would collide with a sitting president who, if anything, relishes over-the-edge rhetoric.”
Republicans, charged Viser, have “turned toward blatant and overtly racial attacks rarely seen since the civil rights era of the 1960s.”
Viser wrote that the “charges of racism at its most blatant have come in the South,” where Trump has called Stacey Abrams, the Democrat candidate for governor of Georgia, “not qualified” and Andrew Gillum, the Democrat candidate for governor of Florida, “not equipped.”
He quoted a college professor from Emory University as saying during an interview with Jake Tapper on CNN: “It’s quite extraordinary. It goes beyond criticizing their views. This is using very racially tinged language. It’s very remarkable to hear from a president, and now it’s seeping down to candidates running below the presidential level. And it’s spread beyond the small fringe now.”
Viser’s evidence Republicans are running what amounts to a Klan-inspired campaign amounts to robocalls in Georgia that had nothing to do with Republicans and were immediately denounced by Republican gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp and remarks by Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, who has been denounced repeatedly and recently by prominent members of his own party.
His quotes from the robocall Kemp condemned make it clear this could not have come from or been sanctioned by an actual candidate.
“This is the magical Negro, Oprah Winfrey, asking you to make my fellow Negress, Stacey Abrams, the governor of Georgia,” the messages says, according to a copy obtained by WSB-TV in Atlanta. “Years ago the Jews who own the American media saw something in me – the ability to trick dumb white women into thinking I was like them. And to do, read and think what I told them to.
“I see that potential in Stacey Abrams. Where others see a poor man’s Aunt Jemima, I see someone white women can be tricked into voting for – especially the fat ones.”
This is followed almost immediately by a quote from anti-Trumper Bill Kristol: “Trump has made clear that [the nativism and bigotry] gene hasn’t gone away, and Trump’s candidacy and victory marked its liberation from prior constraints. The Republican establishment has been floundering in its attempts to respond to this new moment.”
King is in trouble for meeting with “the far-right Austrian party and when he endorsed a white nationalist mayoral candidate in Toronto.” Rep. Steve Stivers (R-Ohio) the head of the National Republican Congressional Committee, condemned King and said, “we must stand up against white supremacy and hate in all forms.”