I’m not ready to forget the long-running racist strategies of the Republican Party or the out-and-out racism of some of its leaders and electeds. But, at least this time, they chose to call out racism in their ranks. For that, I give them credit.
Everett Corley, the Repub candidate for KY House district 43 in Louisville, appeared on a white nationalist talk show back in 2014. On that show, the host attacked Mitch McConnell for marrying Elaine Chao, an Asian. Corley agreed, saying that white people “should maintain our people and our culture as much as anyone else,” and then proceeded to spew white nationalist and anti-minority rhetoric for the rest of the show.
After the recording of that show came to light last week, the following happened:
- Mitch McConnell ripped Corley’s comments as “despicable.”
- The head of the state GOP denounced the comments as well.
- The head of the Jefferson County Repubs called on Corley to drop out of the race.
- And James Comer, who had appeared with Corley at a fund-raiser, distanced himself from Corley, saying that if he had known what Corley had said, he wouldn’t have appeared with him.
Let me be clear. One time of choosing to stand against racism and white nationalism does not erase decades of choosing to stand with it. And it is entirely possible that the reason for the sudden embrace of diversity is that Corley went after the party leader, McConnell. I get that.
But, if we are going to call out people for their embrace of racism, we have to recognize them for their rejection of it.
This time the GOP got it right. Let’s hope it continues.
(Update) I got some feedback that thought I was misguided in giving McConnell any credit for his statement. One person even said they thought I was a McConnell plant. (!)
Certainly it is possible (maybe even likely) that McConnell only reacted because it was his wife that was attacked. And of course, this one statement doesn’t negate the decades of destruction of our democracy that McConnell has left in his wake.
But, to repeat what I said above, the state GOP and James Comer also condemned the comments of Corley, and called on him to drop out of the race. That was the point: that at least this time, they chose the right side of the debate. When they do that, I’ll applaud. When they don’t, I’ll call it out.