Most of the media’s attention has been focused on police violence when discussing race in recent months, with Republicans being forced to stay as silent as possible on the issue. But in their silence, they are launching a stealth attack on African Americans in the form of class warfare.
Nearly every Republican candidate has made it clear that they support cuts to welfare programs for needy families, but this talking point has more to do with race-baiting than it does with cutting government spending. This technique was perfected in the 1980’s by Ronald Reagan and his use of the so-called Welfare Queen, and the attack continues to this very day.
And if there’s one candidate that has mastered the art of the underhanded race attack, it’s Jeb Bush.
Let’s start in the year 2000, when Jeb Bush, then-Governor of Florida, managed to get 12,000 mostly-minority voters purged from the voting rolls in his state. He did this by wrongly identifying these eligible voters as convicted felons. As Ari Berman pointed out in Rolling Stone, Bush attempted to use this same technique in 2004 to give his brother Florida’s electoral votes, but public outcry prevented a second purge of minority voters.
A few years later, Bush set his sights on younger minority citizens, specifically third graders. The state of Florida had been faced with a problem in their test scores for fourth grade students – they were falling significantly below an acceptable level for the state. Rather than investing in textbooks or tutors or more teachers, Bush decided that the easiest thing to do would be to keep minority students out of the fourth grade. He did this by forcing thousands of minority third grade students to repeat that grade, preventing them from “dragging down” the fourth graders’ test scores.
During his initial campaign for governor of Florida, Jeb traveled from country club to country club, speaking to all-white crowds about the problem of welfare fraud, even suggesting, according to the website On The Issues, that he would consider taking children away from parents on welfare because they were too lazy to find a job.
Jeb Bush toyed around with the idea of taking children away from parents that HE believed were too lazy. And make no mistake, when Republicans attack social welfare programs, they are using it as a disguise to attack minorities.
There is nothing “new” about Jeb Bush’s Republican Party, in spite of what those new campaign ads want us to believe. Bush represents the anti-worker, anti-minority, anti-women wing of the anti-everything Republican Party, and the evidence of this is readily available to anyone who takes the time look for it.