Walker’s Grabbing for Racism on His Way Down
No one familiar with Gov. Scott Walker should be surprised that as his Republican presidential campaign has gone into a free fall Walker is resorting to ugly racial tactics on his way down.
Under the accidentally hilarious headline, “We Need a Uniter-in-Chief, Not a Divider-in-Chief,” Walker, the most divisive governor in Wisconsin history, published an opinion on Hot Air, the most accurately named right-wing website ever, blaming Barack Obama, the nation’s first African American president, for the recent murders of two white police officers.
In Wisconsin, we’ve seen Walker use outrageous racial rhetoric to pump up really nasty support whenever opponents start threatening his political advancement.
In the 2012 recall, Walker warned electing his opponent, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, could turn the entire state into Milwaukee. Walker knew many outstate voters found Milwaukee frightening because a lot of black people lived there.
In 2014, Democrat Mary Burke ran neck-and-neck with Walker most of the campaign, pounding Walker on his disastrous economy.
That’s when Walker started using racist stereotypes of drug-addicted minorities to blame the victims of his economic failure for being out of work. He proposed drug testing those unable to find jobs or enough food to eat before allowing them to receive unemployment benefits or food stamps.
In the race for the Republican presidential nomination, the success of billionaire Donald Trump’s open bigotry against immigration has Walker and most other candidates desperately trying to trump Trump’s racism.
Nobody has made a bigger fool out of himself on that score than Walker. It was a racial question that prompted Walker’s most widely ridiculed idea of building a 5,525-mile wall between the U.S. and Canada, nearly three times as long as the absurd Mexican wall Republicans are eager to waste billions of dollars on.
“Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd was pointing out the racial hypocrisy when he asked Walker why Republicans thought immigrants at the Mexican border threatened national security when some of the worst terrorists in American history on 9/11 may have entered the U.S. by crossing the Canadian border.
Imagine Todd’s surprise when Walker’s response about building a Canadian wall was: “Some people have asked us about that in New Hampshire. They raised some very legitimate concerns, including some law enforcement folks that brought that up to me…. So that is a legitimate issue for us to look at.”
Not even Walker’s cheerleaders on right-wing radio could pretend that idea was anything but loony.
Such amateurish responses from Walker on a variety of recent issues have fueled Walker’s precipitous plunge in the polls. A recent national poll by Monmouth University showed only 3% of Republicans supported him, ranking him eighth among the candidates.
Continuing the plummet could easily put him at the kiddie table of second-rate candidates banished from the primetime televised debates of the top contenders.
Walker’s Wrong on Police Shootings
Most of the self-inflicted damage to Walker’s candidacy has been amusing, but his racist attempt to link Obama to police shootings crossed over into disgusting.
Walker said more police officers were being murdered on the job because “in the last six years under President Obama, we’ve seen a rise in anti-police rhetoric. Instead of hope and change, we’ve seen racial tensions worsen and a tendency to use law enforcement as a scapegoat.”
Walker said “years of division under President Obama” encouraged Black Lives Matter demonstrations that were increasing deadly attacks on police officers.
First of all, Walker’s claim that police work is becoming more deadly is simply incorrect. So far this year, fatal police shootings are down 16% from last year. Shootings of officers, along with homicides generally, have been declining ever since the 1970s.
Spreading black demonstrations against deadly police tactics were caused by real shootings by real police of real unarmed black suspects, many of which were captured on video.
Angry rhetoric aside, no responsible person condones violence against police officers.
But the positive result of the protests against violent and deadly police treatment of black citizens is those demonstrations are working as they should in a democracy.
Police are being fired and prosecuted and police departments are requiring body cameras for police to prevent the routine use of deadly force against unarmed suspects in black communities that would never be tolerated in white communities.
Walker is accidentally right about something, though. Racial division has increased in America in the last six years under President Obama and it’s caused by one racial group.
The group is white Republicans. Their virulent hatred for the country’s first African American president leads them to automatically oppose every action by the black president no matter how beneficial it would be in creating jobs, improving the economy, raising wages, expanding health care, repairing dangerously crumbling infrastructure, reducing environmental destruction, keeping deadly weapons away from murderers or anything else that would make this a better country for all Americans.