I have a lefty friend who sees Republicans as all the same, in a neat little box full of hateful stereotypes. He likes to dig up the most obscure article on Yahoo, about some Trump supporter who made a couple of racist comments against blacks or illegal immigrants, and send it to me to bolster his skewed view of us on the right.
I don't know where Yahoo finds these unusual people, since I don't know Republicans like that. It's a very clever tactic by Yahoo. Look long and hard to find a racist who voted for Trump, then portray the person as a regular family guy just like any conservative. Build up a long story first about their conservative bona fides; talk about them going to church, their guns, their concern for the country and hardworking values. Include photos of an American flag hanging from their doorpost and a Molon Labe bumper sticker on their American-made truck. Once the guy is painted to look just like the rest of us conservatives – zing! Throw in the racist remarks.
For a long time, the left has done better than the right at using stories and emotion to garner support for its positions. Portraying a regular conservative as a racist – something that is really quite rare – is a brilliant maneuver. Most people don't even stop to think that the caricature being put forth is false. For those middle-of-the-road voters who don't identify as conservative, they have no reason to believe it's not true, and so the caricature spreads. The left successfully did this with the term "alt right." They used the term to associate regular conservatism with racism as if it were common. In reality, hardly any conservatives consider themselves "alt right."
Advertisement - story continues below
Conservatives need to use these types of tactics back against the left. Where is the folksy story about a Hillary Clinton supporter who drops racist remarks? Meet Claire Andouille, a white woman. She worked on Hillary's 2016 campaign and is very concerned where this country is headed under President Trump. She has a Coexist bumper sticker on her car and a rainbow flag hanging in the front window of her micro-apartment. She recycles and composts, even though she had to install a composting machine since her apartment did not come with one.
Andouille worries about climate change, undocumented migrants and LGBT rights. She is concerned that these important issues are being overlooked in the Trump era. She does her best to talk about these problems with her friends and regularly posts her thoughts on Facebook. She calls in to NPR regularly, where she is a favorite of the hosts. She shows up regularly to minimum-wage protests, to show her solidarity with workers. She earned street credibility participating in the Occupy Wall Street campouts.
Today, Andouille spends most of her activism on a new cause. She has undertaken a mission to rid her wealthy Newton community in Massachusetts of Uncle Toms. She devotes her free time to the "End Uncle Toms" movement, an effort she started to block conservative black leaders like Candace Owens and Dan Bongino from giving speeches. "They don't know what they're talking about," Andouille complains. "They're not very smart and they're an embarrassment. I don't want those types of people in my state. We're progressives here, we've fought for years to keep those types of voices out."
When pressed why she has chosen to target just black conservatives, Andouille explains, "Because they are the most offensive type of conservative. They are ignorant. The rise of these new, younger black conservatives is dangerous for our country. Someone has to stand up to them." Andouille believes there are differences between blacks and whites that need to be acknowledged. "Owens and Bongino would remove all the societal supports put into place to help blacks."
Advertisement - story continues below
Andouille says the country is changing and that dinosaur conservatives like Owens and Bongino who cling to the past don't realize their worldview is outdated. "We are heading for a civil and cultural war," Andouille warns. "The race wars are just getting worse and trying to ignore them like these Uncle Toms do is naive."
When asked if some of her views on this issue are a bit contradictory, Andouille ducks the question. "There are always going to be haters." Andouille just keeps focusing on doing what's right, trying to make the world a better place for people to live.