If the Republican response to Joe Biden’s announcement that Senator Kamala Harris will be his running mate for the 2020 election is any indication, President Trump is deeply concerned. Almost immediately after the announcement was made, Trump and his surrogates began rolling out preprepared attacks on the senator, none of which proved to be particularly incisive or effective.
The simple fact is that Harris is an accomplished senator and prosecutor with charisma, intelligence and—perhaps most importantly given Trump’s combative demeanor—ferocity. She has proven more than capable of dissecting the lies of the president’s lackeys during senate hearings over the past few years. One can only imagine how thoroughly she’ll shred Mike Pence on the debate stage.
The safe bet is that lacking a coherent anti-Harris narrative to cling to, Republicans will do what they always do and attack her, sometimes subtly but often overtly, for being a woman and person of color. Harris is the first woman of Black and Indian descent to appear on the ticket of a major political party and that terrifies the white nationalists within the GOP.
Predictably, Tucker Carlson is already leading the charge in bigotry. Last night on his show, Carlson spoke with Democratic consultant Richard Goodstein. During the segment, Goodstein politely stated the proper way to pronounce Kamala Harris’s first name.
“Okay, so what!?” responded Carlson, immediately ratcheting things up. Goodstein explained that correct pronunciation is a simple way to show respect for somebody running on the national ticket.
Carlson, sensing an opportunity to toss red meat to his white voters, decided to harp on the issue and bat the name around.
“So I’m disrespecting her by mispronouncing her name unintentionally? So it begins! You’re not allowed to criticize Kamala Harris or Kamala Harris or whatever because of…” he said, using both the correct and incorrect pronunciations.
“No, not whatever,” said Goodstein.
“Look I unintentionally pronounced her name but I love the idea that she’s immune from criticism,” Carlson responded even though Goodstein never suggested she was so immune.
The strategy here is totally transparent. Republicans who act like “Kamala” is a hard-to-pronounce name are trying to otherize her. Since it’s not a traditionally white name they want to use it to alienate white voters. It’s the same reason they relished saying “Barack Hussein Obama.” If this is the best they’ve got, Trump must be sweating bullets.
Tucker Carlson loses it when a guest corrects his pronunciation of Kamala Harris's name pic.twitter.com/1fHIrPGuwN
— nikki mccann ramírez (@NikkiMcR) August 12, 2020
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