Republicans haven't stopped being the Southern Strategy Dxiecrat party of Strom Thurmond and Jesse Helms, even as they became the Reagan/Bush party of "young bucks and Cadillac queens" and obsessed with the "soft bigotry of low expectations". We've just come right back around full circle to the days of Jesse and Strom again, where good ol' Southern white supremacy is on full display with Midwest Republicans like Minnesota's Jason Lewis.
Republican Rep. Jason Lewis has a long history of racist rhetoric about African-Americans, pushing claims of a "racial war" by blacks on whites and arguing that violence regularly occurs at black gatherings. He also frequently claimed that black people have an "entitlement mentality" and viewed themselves as victims.
Lewis made those comments on "The Jason Lewis Show," a syndicated radio program Lewis hosted from 2009 until 2014 with the tagline "America's Mr. Right." CNN's KFile obtained five months of audio from Michael Brodkorb, the former deputy chair of the Republican Party of Minnesota. Brodkorb, who is currently a columnist for the MinnPost and works in public affairs, initially reported on several comments from Lewis in 2016. KFile contacted Brodkorb to request the raw audio files of Lewis' show, which he provided.
CNN's KFile reported on Wednesday that Lewis made a large number of deeply misogynistic comments on the show, including one monologue in which he lamented not being able to call women "sluts" anymore.
Narrowly elected to represent Minnesota's 2nd District in 2016, Lewis is now considered one of the most endangered House Republicans in the midterm election. CNN rates the race as a "toss up," the most competitive designation.
In a statement to CNN on Friday, Lewis' office said highlighting the congressman's past statements amounted to "an orchestrated attempt at making anyone who supports reducing illegitimacy or crime in minority communities, Voter ID laws and work requirements for public assistance back off their public policy positions."
On his radio show in 2012, Lewis, who has described himself as libertarian Republican, regularly expressed a belief that African-Americans had an "entitlement mentality," leading to violence in the community.
"There's a cultural problem in the African-American community that is leading to this. The entitlement mentality," Lewis said in December 2012. "You're a victim. It's OK to hate women, beat up women. It's OK to hate gays. All this, we're just sort of feeding this to people who are very lost because of the breakdown of society to begin with."
There's so much to unpack here about Lewis and his screaming hatred for black folks. I used to live in Minnesota and there's not a hell of a lot of us in the state outside the Twin Cities, believe me. In the Ohio Valley and the Midwest, there's still a lot of states with 90%+ white populations. Republicans in these states absolutely believe this nonsense about us because it's been programmed into them for 30 or 40 years.
I'll be the first to admit that there's a toxic masculinity problem in America too, and it affect the black community for sure, but pretending it's just the province of black neighborhoods (or of Latino machismo) and somehow not an issue in men of all races in America is just blithe projection, especially when you're lamenting not being able to call women "sluts".
And the racism, the smug condescension, the need to control black America and to "civilize" us that Lewis displays, that we're all "criminals and savages" and that justifies us being treated as obstinate beasts of burden, well that's definitely a product of the FOX News generation of Southern Strategy Republicans taking a 50-state approach.
Lewis's opponent is Democrat Angie Craig, and I hope she wins by twenty points. We need to get rid of these guys and their baggage. Vote like it matters, folks. It does.