Donald Trump’s rise to power has seen the return of one of the blackest chapters in American political history–racist dog whistling as a campaign tactic. But if you believe some of the people who resort to this pigweed, all they’re doing is standing up for white males who are being steamrolled by social justice warriors.
Unfortunately, their idea of defense has veered from dog whistles to outright yacht horns. One of the most egregious examples of this comes from my home state of North Carolina. A Republican candidate for Congress tried to kneecap his Democratic opponent for–horrors!–taking on an adviser who was supposedly out to get white men.
For seven years, Mark Meadows was one of the most notorious right-wing bomb-throwers in Congress. He rose to fame–or rather, infamy–during his first term in 2013, when he led an effort to defund Obamacare knowing full well it would cause a government shutdown. He would later go on to become a founding member of the House Freedom Caucus, the most rabidly conservative element of the House Republicans, and served as its chairman from 2017 to 2019.
With a pedigree like that, it was no surprise that Meadows found a kindred spirit in Trump. In March 2020, long after announcing he would not run for a fifth term, Meadows was appointed as White House chief of staff.
That triggered an opening for Meadows’ seat in North Carolina’s 11th District, which covers almost all of the Blue Ridge Mountains in the western third of the state. The district had been made slightly more Democratic after a court-ordered redistricting gave it all of Asheville. Meadows was able to get this seat after the Republican-dominated state legislature cut out most of Asheville after the 2010 census.
Even with all of Asheville restored, it was initially thought that the race for this seat was all but decided in the Republican primary, when Madison Cawthorn won the nomination in a runoff.
Cawthorn appeared to be one of the great stories of the 2020 cycle. After being left partially paralyzed from the waist down due to a spring break accident more than six years ago, he rose to become a motivational speaker and real estate investor.
Even though he upended a candidate endorsed by both Meadows and Trump, he managed to snag a prime-time speaking slot at the Republican National Convention. Watch his speech here.
Cawthorn brands himself as a “constitutional conservative” who stands for “faith, family and freedom.” He also seems to have taken the Trump template as his own, as evidenced from this ad in which he touts himself as someone willing to take a stand while politicians “kneel” to various evils.
Although Cawthorn seems made to order for a district that still tilts Republican, he hasn’t really been able to pull away from his Democratic challenger, former Gitmo chief prosecutor Moe Davis. Most polls since the summer have shown the race within single digits, with two internal polls showing Davis actually leading.
It looks like in response, Cawthorn has adopted another part of the Trump template–race baiting. Tim Miller of The Bulwark, a never-Trump conservative blog helmed by Charlie Sykes and Bill Kristol, noticed that Cawthorn had rolled out a new Website attacking Davis called “Moe Taxes.” At first glance, it looks like Cawthorn is dusting off a standard Republican sound bite by branding Davis as a “tax-and-spend liberal.”
But there’s something far more sinister. Cawthorn goes after one of Davis’ advisers, former Boston University College of Communication dean Tom Fiedler. As Cawthorn puts it:
(Fiedler) quit his academia job in Boston to work for non-white males, like Cory Booker, who aims to ruin white males running for office.
Wow. Cawthorn isn’t even trying to be subtle. It’s not enough that Fiedler works for “non-white males.” No, no–he’s supposedly out to “ruin white males” like Cawthorn who want to run for office.
Looking at this, it’s hard to see how this is any different from an ad that ran during the RNC in which nearly every person that appeared aside from Biden was a person of color. The tagline? “Don’t Let Them Take Over America.”
This ad, and many others, prove that we essentially have a Dixiecrat as president. And by wringing his hands about his opponent having an adviser who wants to “ruin white males,” Cawthorn has proven he is cut from the same cloth. In so doing, Cawthorn has proven that he is not fit to clean the House, let alone serve in it.
For a decade, the people of Western North Carolina have essentially had no representation in Congress. They deserve better than this. And with Moe Davis, they’ll get better. Click here to donate.
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