We are in the home stretch of the 2022 campaign and the Republicans are running the same playbook they have for decades. They are betting the enough voters are stupid enough for them to eek out some victories. The really scary part is that they could be correct.
I live in North Carolina which has one of the several battleground Senate races. (I’m sure it will come as no surprise to my regular readers that I voted for Cheri Beasley on the first day of early in-person voting.) Beasley is Black and the Republicans are painting her as soft on crime. This is blatant racism and they are using it against other Black Democratic Senate candidates. It plays well with Bubba who – rather he admits or realizes it – is a racist. In his mind all Blacks stick together and are basically criminals. Therefore, why wouldn’t a Black elected official be soft on crime.
This is not the first time a white Republican has played the racist card late in a North Carolina Senate election. In 1990 Jesse Helms ran the famous “white hands” commercial against Harvey Gantt beating him 53%-47%. Considering the time, the state and the fact that Helms was an incumbent that was very close!
When facing white opponents, the Republicans are primarily attacking them based on inflation falsely blaming them for it. Facts and knowledge – economics or otherwise – are not strong suits of the Republicans or their base voters. This is a classic example of the dilemma a campaign has when faced with the prospect of defending itself against a lie. A lie fits neatly into a 30 second commercial – actually with plenty of time left over. Refuting it takes considerably longer especially when you have to educate much of the electorate in the process.
The bottom line of both strategies is to exploit and instill fear in the less well educated. (Didn’t Donald Trump say, “We love the less well educated”?). Perhaps Dick Cheney did it the most effectively in 2004 – an election he and George W. Bush should have lost – by warning people of the terrible terrorist threat if they voted the wrong way. By 2009 the greatest terrorist threat in America was right wing domestic terrorism (which has only worsened over time). It’s actually really simple; the right wing domestic terrorists were already among us.
Republicans claim they back the blue yet on January 6, 2021 they attacked law enforcement officers defending the Capital. Now they want to deny it ever happened. To many of them it was a normal tourist day. (Remember due to the pandemic restrictions regular visitors weren’t even allowed in the building that day.)
On inflation the myth that Republicans are better for the economy lives on despite facts to the contrary. The Great Depression was caused in large part by the Republican administrations of Calvin Coolidge and Herbert Hoover. Franklin Roosevelt turned it around. The Great Recession was caused in large part by the George W. Bush administration. Obama turned it around. Want to get more recent? Trump didn’t exactly do a bang-up job of handling the economy during the start of the pandemic. Biden turned it around.
If they take over the Republicans economic plan is to lower taxes for the wealthy and large corporations. Small Business and the middle class, sorry you didn’t make the cut. In the process they want to make deep cuts to Social Security and Medicare. What senior citizen (and most white senior citizens vote Republican) wants or can afford that?
The political plays may work again – it’s truly up to the voters – the economic one certainly won’t. Don’t be afraid to vote for Democrats tomorrow if you haven’t already voted.
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