You know who they are, those Democrats who routinely play the bigotry card — accusing Republicans and conservatives of bigotry when it’s not warranted. Certainly, not all Democrats play that game, but the Democratic Party’s anti-Republican, anti-conservative narrative has become so replete with the bigotry bogeyman, both implicit and explicit, that it taints the party as a whole. Two-thousand-ten, however, may well prove to be the nadir of this tactic.
Democrats who play the bigotry card do so to appeal to minority voters, especially African Americans and Hispanics, and to preempt debate. They are assisted by the left-leaning media, which incorporates suggestions of right-wing bigotry into their reporting.
Case in point: the Tea Party movement. Since it appeared on the American political scene over a year and a half ago, Democrats, from Speaker Nancy Pelosi to local Democratic Party activists, have done their best to portray it as a group of angry white people and racists. Even after the peaceful, politics- and sign-free “Restoring Honor” rally on 8/28 at the Lincoln Memorial, Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) said “These were people that were wearing sheets over their heads 25 years ago.”
Grayson, known for his outrageous statements about Republicans, is an extreme example; but other Democrats and the left-leaning mainstream media do the same thing with more subtlety. As Democratic pollster Doug Schoen points out in his September 3 column “The Democrats’ Big Mistake,” The Tea Party movement “. . . has been systematically ignored, belittled, marginalized, and ostracized by political, academic, and media elites who have portrayed the movement as being driven by racism, bigotry, and white supremacy.”
Charles Krauthammer, in his August 27 column “Last Refuge of a Liberal,” similarly points out how liberals reflexively pull out the bigotry charge when they’re losing the argument in the court of public opinion. “Majorities — often lopsided majorities — oppose President Obama’s social-democratic agenda (e.g., the stimulus, Obamacare), support the Arizona law, oppose gay marriage and reject a mosque near Ground Zero.”
“What’s a liberal to do?” he asks. “Pull out the bigotry charge, the trump that preempts debate and gives no credit to the seriousness and substance of the contrary argument.”
High-profile personalities and politicians on the right are the favorite targets of bigotry-card players. The more influence they appear to have the more bigotry-card players attack them. Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, and Sarah Palin top their lists. Palin in particular has come under fire because off her potential as a challenger to President Barack Obama in 2012. Democrat and United Mine Workers president Richard Trumka is among the latest to attack her. He accuses Palin of using language that foments violence, and says if she keeps doing what she’s doing she’ll become the new Joe McCarthy.
The reason Democrats’ accusations that Republicans and Tea Partiers are “racist, nativist, homophobic Islamophobes” have increased exponentially recently, of course, is the upcoming November elections. Democrats are reading the opinion polls and listening to estimates of their loses by sage political scientists like Larry Sabato of the University of Virginia, who has predicted the outcome of American elections with great accuracy. They see the tsunami of Republicans, Tea Party supporters, and Independents coming over the rise, their spirits high and confident of victory, and Democrats are panicking.
Predictions of how many seats Republicans will gain in the House and Senate vary, but most informed observers on both sides believe Republicans will regain the House — they need 39 seats. Only a few pundits like Dick Morris predict Republicans also will win the 10 seats or more they need to retake the Senate, but Republicans’ chances of doing so improve daily. Given the unprecedented 10-point spread Republicans now have over Democrats on the generic congressional ballot, Americans could wake up on November 3 to discover that Republicans have won many more seats in both houses than even the most optimistic analysts predicted. Regardless of what they say, Democratic leaders know this is a real possibility.
Voters are unhappy with Democrats principally because they are unhappy with the Obama administration’s policies and the Democratic Congress’s legislation. But they also are unhappy with Democrats because of their excessive use of the bigotry card. Americans are no longer dependent on the mainstream media for news. They now hear both sides of the story and make up their own minds; and they’re not buying the spurious bigotry accusations people are feeding them, especially those that smear them by association.
When all the votes have been counted in November, Democrats will lick their wounds and reflect on what went wrong. Hopefully, they will realize that the sharp left turn they took in 2009 was a mistake, and it’s time for them to get back on the main road. In doing that, many will also realize that playing the bigotry card was a mistake. It no longer works like it used to. The aces have become jokers, and it’s time to re-deal the cards without them.
Ed Ross is the President and Chief Executive Officer of EWRoss International LLC, a company that provides global consulting services to clients in the international defense marketplace. He publishes commentary at EWRoss.com.