Republicans find a message about race that works; this is how the democrats should respond

Republicans have figured out how to get moderate Democrats to oppose the progressive wing of the party, and last week’s election losses are just the beginning of a free fall, unless Democrats alter their strategy.

The main event of the Election Day massacre was the Republican takeover of the Virginia governorate. The Democratic candidate, Terry McAuliffeTerry McAuliffeNew Ad Campaign Targeting Five House Democrats Over Inflation Discussion on the ‘Wake Up’ Issue simmers for Democrats 43 percent of Republicans in new poll oppose teaching of ‘ history of racism ‘MORE, was comfortably defeated by Glenn youngkinGlenn YoungkinGOP Sees Inflation as Winning Issue New Ad Campaign Targets Five House Democrats on Inflation ‘Woke Up’ discussion simmering for Democrats MORE, a Republican political rookie. The way a Republican with no political experience beat a Democrat who previously ran Virginia as governor has sparked a frenzy in newspaper, television and Twitter analysis.

Sure, Democratic Senate spoilers Joe manchinJoe ManchinOvernight Energy & Environment – Presented by ExxonMobil – Manchin Criticizes New Spending Bill Provision Climate Change – Hope for How (Literally) Save the World On The Money – IRS Chief Calls for Reinforcements MORE (W.Va.) and Kyrsten CinemaKyrsten SinemaMcConnell Will Not Go to White House Signing Ceremony for Infrastructure Bill On The Money: Biden’s Battle with Inflation McConnell Increases Pressure on Manchin, Sinema: Spending Plan Could Sink MORE (Ariz.) He managed to block President BidenJoe BidenBiden and Xi of China to hold virtual summit on Monday: Briahna Joy Gray reports: Biden ‘plays dumb’ with cancellation of student debt Defense and national security – Biden celebrates Veterans Day MOREThe social spending legislation, dragging the democratic enthusiasm that followed the blue takeover of the presidency and of both Houses of Congress, but it was “white racial anxietyWhich many blame for the Republican sweep of the governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general positions in Virginia.

Yes it was the threat of teaching critical race theory to high school students, or the crusade adopted by the Republican Party by a mother to ban a novel about slavery from Virginia public schools, the Republicans seized on racial issues and led them to victory.

The reaction of many Democrats has been label Youngkin voters as white supremacists. Given the Republican Party historyThat’s understandable, but Biden’s 10-point victory in Virginia just a year ago makes it impossible to reasonably accept racism as the sole reason Virginia voters berated Democrats.

Beyond CRT’s individual issues and whether novels that include graphically violent passages on slavery are to be taught in schools, there is a deeper issue of how Americans in 2021 and beyond are going to deal with injustice – and its vestiges. – of the laws enacted by the state. slavery.

Youngkin focused on the problem and offered a solution that is acceptable not only to Republicans who were rejected by Donald trumpDonald Trump Jan. 6 panel demands that Meadows testify Friday or risks indictment for contempt Defense and Homeland Security: Biden celebrates Veterans Day Trump backs Texas representative who said he ‘very well could have’ committed impeachment crimes PLUSblatant racism, but also moderate Democrats. Here are excerpts from Youngkin stump speech about race:

“America is the greatest country on the planet… but we also have some dark and abominable chapters. We will teach the whole story, the good and the bad. What we will not do is teach our children to see everything through the lens of race, (where) one group is an oppressor and another group is a victim. (We must) live up to those immortal words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who implored us … to judge each other by the content of our character and not by the color of our skin. “

Words are compelling, reasonable, and by themselves they appeal to both parties. However, Youngkin’s speech was all in support of his promise to ban CRT of Virginia classrooms, a flash point for Republicans who support the ban and an equally emotional issue for progressive Democrats who Strongly support a curriculum that includes much of the substance associated with CRT, although not its name.

We should expect other Republicans to present their own versions of this speech. If the Democrats don’t want to lose its base of conservative tendencyThey need to understand why Youngkin’s opinion on race resonated and how they can reframe their own message on racial equality so that it is not co-opted by moderate Republicans.

That white Americans benefited from slavery and centuries of racial inequality is a fact that should not be the subject of discussion among rational people. But progressive democratic orthodoxy on issues of race brings an implicit, if not express, yoke of personal shame. In 2019, actress and civil rights activist Rosanna Arquette tweeted: “I’m sorry I was born white and privileged. Makes me sick. And I feel so ashamed. “This feeling drives many people back. They do not want to be charged, tried and convicted for crimes they did not commit, based on the defamation of the entire race that is generally known as” white privilege. “

Condemning past racism, acknowledging its continued existence, and working to counter it is what we should all be doing. But being told endlessly that our country can never get over its mistakes, and that the sins of its ancestors are its sins, has left many Democrats cold.

Making matters worse is the frequent knee-jerk assertion of racism, even when the facts don’t support it. And it’s not just about underlying issues like use of police force. Recently, Ellen Pompeo joking told a harmless dispute She had it with Denzel Washington several years ago, when he directed an episode of the television show “Grey’s Anatomy,” in which she starred. The attack by both the black community and the progressive white “allies” was Quick and serious. Pompeo was blacked out and played a blatant racist, regardless of her being married and having three children to a black man.

Recalibrating how Democrats speak about race and racism does not mean that they should abandon their fundamental policies. Democrats must not only acknowledge the horrors of slavery as an American institution, but also acknowledge that racism persists in a way that makes the lives of most black Americans more difficult than their white counterparts.

Democrats should support black candidates for public office because real change will come when more African Americans hold positions of political power. Scholarships must be created to ensure that the brightest and best in the black community have the opportunity to excel in education, regardless of their financial situation. And Democrats should support teaching the history of slavery and racism to all children, without asking white students to be ashamed of being white.

All of these things can be accomplished without: pouring centuries of guilt into 21S t Century Americans; Tearing down statues of imperfect American heroes as Thomas Jefferson; and cry racism when the facts don’t support it.

I hope some will accuse me of recklessly comparing the discomfort of modern white guilt with the history of slavery, violence, and racial inequality experienced by generations of African Americans. I am not. There is no comparison.

People look for ways to end things that make them feel uncomfortable, such as guilt or fear that anything they say will label them racist. They remain silent in public, but make their voices heard in the anonymity of the voting booth.

As moderate Republicans repackage their message about the race to appeal to undecided voters, Democrats will have to take the room temperature, not just the left side of the room, and develop policies on racial equality that keep the moral ground. high, but be tied to common sense.

In a country that is evenly divided, the Democrats cannot afford to send any of their members into the arms of the Republicans.

Michael J. Stern was a federal prosecutor for more than 24 years at the Justice Department in Detroit and Los Angeles, prosecuting high-profile crimes, including conspiracy cases related to international drug trafficking and organized crime. Since then he has served on the indigent defense panel of the federal courts. Follow him on Twitter @ MichaelJStern1.

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