Opinion: Republicans just proved critical race theory correct
It was a good day for the insurrectionists.
Senate Republicans voted in lockstep on Tuesday to block the landmark voting rights bill, in effect embracing the disenfranchisement of non-White voters under the “big lie” justification that widespread voter fraud denied Donald Trump reelection.
Even as they did so, Senate Republicans also embraced the latest Fox-News-generated conspiracy theory: that a shadowy network of America haters — suspiciously similar to antifa, BLM and the deep state — had taken over the Biden administration with a nefarious ideology known as critical race theory, or “critical theory.”
“Critical theory is, in fact, very real,” Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), the man who pumped his fist in solidarity with the people who attacked the Capitol on Jan. 6, declared on the Senate floor on Tuesday. “It is very influential. And it appears to have become the animating ideology of this administration.”
In short, Hawley explained, the Biden administration hates America. “President Biden is nominating for federal office individuals who do not share a view of America as a good and decent place,” Hawley announced. His nominees instead “believe that this is a country founded in racism and shot through with corruption.”
So what is this “animating ideology” of the Biden administration, pray tell?
It holds that “the United States is rotten to its core,” Hawley alleged. “In our American flag, they see propaganda, and in our family businesses, they see white supremacy.” Those adhering to this animating ideology of the Biden administration, he elaborated, “allow no room for merit, for experience, or for grace in our life together. They pit Whiteness and Blackness against each other in a manner that reduces every American, no matter their character or creed, to their racial identity alone.”
And that’s not all! The Biden administration’s animating ideology holds “that subjects like mathematics are inherently racist, that the Christian faith is oppressive” and “that the nuclear family perpetuates racism.” Looking straight into the TV camera above the Senate floor, Hawley said that Biden’s animating ideology tells children that “your dreams” are “unjust” and that “your family” are “oppressors.”
Hawley offered zero evidence for his claims, beyond Biden reinstating racial sensitivity training and his nomination of an Indian American woman, Kiran Ahuja, to run the Office of Personnel Management. Hawley alleged that critical race theory “appears to be her fundamental ideology.” This wild claim is based on a Boston University professor’s lecture on “antiracism” at the charity she ran, and her linking to an article of his claiming Trump’s election was an example of white supremacy.
But Republicans rallied behind Hawley’s demagoguery anyway. They voted unanimously Tuesday against her confirmation, requiring Vice President Harris to break the Senate’s tie. Ahuja was the latest of several non-White Biden nominees to run into Republican opposition.
Critical race theory (at its core, the belief that racism in America is systemic) had been around for decades in academic circles without attracting much attention — until Fox News took it up last summer. As The Post’s Laura Meckler and Josh Dawsey report, a Fox News guest, Christopher Rufo, declared that critical race theory had “pervaded every institution in the federal government” — and Trump and his allies took it from there. They’ve redefined the obscure theory to include, as Rufo put it, “all of the various cultural insanities” and they’ve made it their latest front in the culture wars.
The irony, of course, is that Republicans are now proving that systemic racism exists — and they, along with Fox News, are the primary offenders. With their united stand against the voting-rights bill and their united votes against Ahuja on the bogus justification of critical race theory, they’re the ones reducing Americans “to their racial identity alone,” as Hawley put it. The Proud Boys who attacked the Capitol must be filled with pride anew.
The Republican leadership’s opposition to the voting-rights bill was so rote that they didn’t bother dividing up their talking points.
“It would let Washington bureaucrats direct federal dollars into politicians’ campaign accounts, government money for yard signs and attack ads,” GOP leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) announced.
“Government dollars, money that belongs to the American taxpayer, would go to funding yard signs and attack ads,” GOP whip John Thune (S.D.) said a few minutes later.
Now that the Republican filibuster has blocked the voting-rights bill, Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.) will try to sell Republicans on a scaled-back version that addresses key GOP complaints. But McConnell made clear Tuesday that he isn’t interested in any voting-rights legislation. Asked why he wouldn’t even allow a debate on the bill, he told reporters: “This is not a federal issue.”
Republicans will instead focus on the real federal issue: accusing the Biden administration of opposing the flag, family businesses, merit, grace, Christianity, your dreams, your family and America."