What do Republicans do when their leader is a racist? Distract by shouting: ‘Farrakhan! Obama!’

What do Republicans do when their leader is a racist? Distract by shouting: ‘Farrakhan! Obama!’

From “Mexican rapists” to “very fine people on both sides” to “shithole countries,” Donald Trump has demonstrated that he is, without question, an open racist (and those examples have come just since he announced his campaign for president—there’s a lot more over the course of his lifetime). If you’re a loyal Republican, there’s not much you can do to counter that; nor do you necessarily want to, if you believe the appeals to white racial resentment help your party turn out its base.

And therein lies the explanation for a theme the right wing has returned to at every opportunity, including in recent days. They are desperate to be able to say that Democrats are racists too—anti-white racists, that is. Never mind that a black Democratic president never once enacted any policy that was unjust toward white Americans as a group, or which targeted them in any way, nor did he ever make a single remark that disparaged whites. Those are just silly facts. All this is what underlies a story that has gotten conservatives up in arms—and cheered right-wing media types who love the extra clicks and viewers any story like this brings them. This is a story that connects Barack Obama to Louis Farrakhan.

Now let’s be clear about something: Louis Farrakhan is someone that progressives should have nothing to do with, and whose ideas are repugnant. Here’s the Southern Poverty Law Center:

Louis Farrakhan heads the Nation of Islam, a group he has led since 1977 and that is based on a somewhat bizarre and fundamentally anti-white theology. Farrakhan is an anti-Semite who routinely accuses Jews of manipulating the U.S. government and controlling the levers of world power.

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