Race has dominated the political agenda for the last few days. And that’s exactly what Republicans want.
On the day that President Obama signed landmark legislation that cracks down on abuses on Wall Street and protects consumers, the media focused on the travails of a black federal government official, Shirley Sherrod, who was unfairly tarred and feathered for racism on the Internet by a conservative blogger.
Racism divides America while populist economic policies unite us. GOP attempts to divert voters from their core economic concerns and undermine the integrity of the New Deal coalition go back to Richard Nixon’s successful "Southern strategy" in the 1968 presidential election. Division by race has been part of the Republican playbook since. Current GOP efforts to demonize immigrants are part of the plan.
Democrats need to keep the focus on jobs and populist economic policies between now and November. The extension of unemployment benefits and the new consumer protection law are a good start, but we need more. The Democratic congressional leadership has wisely planned a series of votes on legislation designed to revive manufacturing in the United States.
Republicans will continue to demagogue race to keep the heat on us. Democrats should push jobs to keep the pressure on them.