... as Republicans from coast to coast searched for ways to keep the Clinton "email scandal" alive and still getting ink after the FBI recommended no criminal charges, it was Fehrnstrom who immediately found the Willie Horton angle in the lede to an op-ed in the Boston Globe:"Hillary Clinton is the new O.J. Simpson"? That's nasty -- yet it would probably be effective if repeated, as Kilgore notes:
Hillary Clinton is the new O.J. Simpson. She may have gotten off, but everyone knows what she did was wrong.
The troubling thing is that you can easily imagine the "Hillary is the new O.J." meme slithering into an attack ad this fall. It's not like Republicans have all that many black votes to lose, right?I can easily imagine it slithering into a Trump speech, too.
But notice that Trump had nothing to do with it -- in fact, it came from a former top aide to a man now widely praised as a principled opponent of the GOP's nasty presumptive nominee. Mitt, to a lot of people, exemplifies the good Republican Party, the one that was high-minded and responsible until it was trashed by that awful Trump.
That's nonsense. As Kilgore notes,
Every presidential cycle Republicans almost invariably come up with an attack line on the Democratic nominee that not-so-subtly brings back the spirit of the famous Willie Horton ad of 1988: issues and images that conjure up racial fears and prejudices. For Mitt Romney in 2012, it was a heavy-handed and highly mendacious attack on Barack Obama for "gutting" welfare reform.We've had the Jesse Helms "Hands" ad. We've had the panic over the New Black Panthers. We've had the "voter fraud" scare. And on and on.
Donald Trump didn't invent Republican racism, and Republican racism won't go away when he's gone, no matter what mainstream pundits try to tell you.