The Corner

Politics & Policy

Dems Test Out a ‘Racist Dog Whistle’ Rationalization for Virginia

Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe speaks during his campaign rally in Richmond, Va., October 23, 2021. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

The Democratic Party panic about Virginia right now is palpable, but if Glenn Youngkin defeats Terry McAuliffe in what looked like a deep-blue state twelve months ago, Democrats are prepared to revert to their favorite play. They can never admit they lost because voters didn’t like their policies; they think they can only ever lose if Republicans somehow cheat. The method of their cheating is almost always either outright ballot-box shenanigans or the famed “racist dog whistle.”

By this reasoning white voters are so racist that if a candidate simply signals to them, “Hey, I’m racist too,” they will turn out in droves for him or her. Democrats are still telling themselves, and the country, that Mike Dukakis lost in 1988 because Lee Atwater’s Willie Horton TV commercial was a “racist dog whistle.” Never mind that the ad indicated extremely poor judgment in paroling a man who later committed murder; never mind that it was one of many factors that showed Dukakis was a weak, unappealing candidate who was far too sympathetic to criminals at a point when concern about crime was near an all-time high. Racism is the new turtles; it goes all the way down. It explains everything. It gives a hint of why Democrats so often seem to hate their country; what’s not to hate, when everyone’s racist?

Many commentators on Twitter are claiming right now that Youngkin can win only by proving that he is a racist to the satisfaction of other racists and that the tool he is using to show this is opposition to critical race theory. At various times Democrats have denied that CRT is being taught in public schools and also said that CRT and its close cousin, the 1619 Project, merely constitute a true and correct approach to history and American society. Never do they grapple with the notion that CRT is extremely unpopular. Nor do they allow that maybe parents should be involved in what the state is teaching their kids. They simply close their ears to McAuliffe’s now-infamous September 28 comment, “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach,” overlook that a poll shows Virginians oppose that statement by a margin of 23 points, and shrug at the fact that McAuliffe’s Kinsley Gaffe is Democratic Party dogma. If McAuliffe loses this race, which he led in every poll but one as of the second week of October, he will have only his own policies to blame.

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