Anyone who wanted to understand white supremacy could simply look in the Merriam-Webster dictionary for the entry that simply defines white supremacy as “the belief that the white race is inherently superior to other races and that white people should have control over people of other races.” If they were more confused, they could simply scroll down to the phrase’s second meaning: “the social, economic, and political systems that collectively enable white people to maintain power over people of other races.”
If they needed context, they could just find the quote by Abraham Lincoln, who said:
I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the black and white races — that I am not nor ever have been in favor of making VOTERS or jurors of negroes, NOR OF QUALIFYING THEM TO HOLD OFFICE, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality.
Even though that statement fits Merriam-Webster’s literal definition that simply defines white supremacy as “the belief that the white race is inherently superior to other races and that white people should have control over people of other races,” some people need a more recent example.
If so, those people only need to seek out the campaign for Virginia gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin. The GOP candidate’s vow to legislate Black history out of Virginia schools by employing an entirely new definition of critical race theory is a political plan to control other races. Alt-right hall of famer Steve Bannon campaigned for Youngkin alongside Donald Trump. Youngkin even appeared on the radio show of Sebastian Gorka, who actual Nazis say makes them “proud.”
But, of course, people often eschew dictionaries and instead, define Caucasian-style racism by what they think it is. For conservatives, a white supremacist must yell the n-word while wearing a swastika-dotted klan robe during a cross-lighting ceremony after a lynching. That’s the only reason a human being who understands words would tout their allegiance to the “party of Lincoln,” or name itself “the Lincoln Project.”
You know the Lincoln Project. It’s a political action committee made up of old-school conservatives who somehow finessed millions of dollars in contributions by not supporting a specific candidate. Instead, their central organizing principle is to save democracy by lowering the Republican Party’s racist rhetoric back down to a respectable dog whistle. They want to have their corrupt, racist cake and sell it, too. And to do this, they mostly make internet videos like this:
But on Friday, the folks behind the Lincoln Project had a great idea. They were going to send white supremacists to a Glenn Youngkin rally. But they didn’t want to send regular shmegular racists like the right-wing extremist couple who travels with the Youngkin campaign country spreading racial slurs and hate.
The Lincoln Project didn’t want to highlight the white supremacists on the federal bench who sentence Black men to prison sentences that are 19.1 percent longer than whites who committed the same crime. They didn’t feel the need to call out conservatives who believe corporate dollars will “trickle-down” into the pockets of the poor Black workers while white farmers, bankers and business owners are subsidized via direct payments when they fall on hard times. They didn’t want to talk about the white supremacist war on drugs, the conservative Christian ideology that promotes pro-life legislation, the decades-long fight to dismantle affirmative action or the insidious doctrine of being “tough on crime” that fuels mass incarceration because they did that.
Nah, their Halloween surprise was about white people’s version of white supremacists.
On Friday, the brilliant scammers at the Lincoln project sent five people carrying tiki torches to pose for pictures in front of Youngkin’s tour bus. And, of course, they were wearing chinos and white shirts from the 2021 Alt-Right Design Studio because...How would we know people rallying for white supremacist policies were white supremacists if they weren’t wearing the white supremacist outfit?
Before the Lincoln Project claimed responsibility, some Twitter users started suggesting it was a political stunt by Democratic operatives. Others shamed Youngkin for allowing the demonstration at the event. Both Youngkin and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe denied being connected to the group. The Youngkin campaign accused McAuliffe of setting up the event. Rich Anderson, chair of the Republican Party of Virginia, tweeted that the event was a “mockery” of the events in Charlottesville, blaming McAuliffe for the stunt and his “failure to lead” as governor in 2017. The state’s Democratic Party called efforts to tie it with the event “shameful and wrong.”
“What happened today is disgusting and distasteful and we condemn it in the strongest terms,” McAuliffe campaign manager Chris Bolling said in a prepared statement after the Lincoln Project took responsibility for the matter. “Those involved should immediately apologize.”
“Today’s demonstration was our way of reminding Virginians what happened in Charlottesville four years ago, the Republican Party’s embrace of those values, and Glenn Youngkin’s failure to condemn it,” the conservative political action committee said in a statement late Friday. “The Youngkin campaign is enraged by our reminder of Charlottesville for one simple reason: Glenn Youngkin wants Virginians to forget that he is Donald Trump’s candidate.”
The white saviors over at the Lincoln Project could have just pointed out the racist rhetoric Youngkin used to inflame the party’s base. They could have just pointed to Youngkin’s own campaign ads featuring a mother who wanted to ban Toni Morrison’s novel, Beloved. They could have referenced the paid staffer who called Gorka’s Radio Nazi Hitler Hour to defend Youngkin. But instead, the Lincoln project chose the finesser’s way out.
And in doing so, while they employed years-old GOP tactics in which they were trained, the Lincoln Project’s political prank actually obscures real white supremacy. Just when we were getting into a conversation about how the default white viewpoint is actually a white version of critical race theory, they interrupted the discussion with some white boy shenanigans.
We could be having conversations about history, diversity, income inequality, economics and inclusion. Instead, in the lead-up to determine the leader of a state where one out of every five residents is Black, we are talking about a stupid prank.
Who was this even for? Were they trying to turn away diehard Republicans? Was it an attempt to turn moderates who were tired of lies and corruption? Chino salesmen? Virginians who work in the tiki-torch industry?
No, the Lincoln Project did this for the Lincoln Project. They did it to derail all that political talk so we could focus on what really matters. Because, if a reasonable moderate like Glenn Youngkin can win, people might realize that the only difference between a Lincoln Project Republican and a regular MAGAmuffin is the volume of their dog whistle.
And, of course, the uniform.