Conservative backers of Cliven Bundy shouldn’t be surprised that the Nevada rancher made racist comments, according to commentator Jonathan Alter and Representative Keith Ellison (D., Minn.). Appearing on MSNBC’s Ronan Farrow Daily, both Alter and Ellison argued that Bundy expressed sentiments that simply “stripped the veneer off of” the racially coded language that Paul Ryan and other Republicans frequently use.
Alter argued that Bundy’s general stance is a racist idea “at the core” shared by prominent conservatives, pointing to Ryan’s comments that the social safety net is turning into “a hammock” or Mitt Romney’s “47 percent” comment. While Romney and Ryan weren’t definitively racist in the way Bundy was, there was “a subtext there that can be interpreted as making a racist appeal,” Alter said.
“[Bundy] shows that these other Republicans are basically just using code words to say the same thing, to make the same point, the same argument,” he explained.
Ellison said that Bundy’s supporters and sympathizers should have expected him to make such comments.
“It’s hard to believe that he was keeping these views hidden all along, and they’re just absolutely shocked that now he’s saying these things,” the congressman said. Qualifying that while some conservative backers may not have anticipated Bundy’s exact sentiments, Ellison explained that “we all kind of know the dog whistle before we hear the real one.”