In an infamous 1981 interview, campaign consultant Lee Atwater laid out how Republicans could use coded racism to gain Southern white votes:
“We want to cut this,” is much more abstract than even the busing thing, uh, and a hell of a lot more abstract than “Nigger, nigger.”
Over two decades later, James Carter IV obtained audio of the full forty-two-minute interview, which The Nation published this week. Strikingly, Atwater's strategy of “abstractly” appealing to racial anxieties seem all too familiar today. On MSNBC’s PoliticsNation, Carter IV joins Touré and Al Sharpton to place Atwater’s interview in the context of the modern GOP. It’s not hard to find examples of coded racism in the most recent election cycle. See: Newt Gingrich’s comments on our “food stamp president” or Mitt Romney’s campaign ad claiming Obama dropped the Work for Welfare requirement.
This year, the GOP’s nuanced race-baiting failed on the national level. William Greider writes how the real loser of 2012 was white supremacy.