Highlights: The Dog Whistle Politics of Race

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Author and legal scholar Ian Haney López spoke with Bill about dog whistle politics — code words that use race to turn Americans against each other and manipulate voters — in a two part interview. Below are highlight clips from the episodes.

On Ronald Reagan’s Racially Tinged Stump Speeches
By playing on stereotypes, Haney López says Reagan was able to get middle-class white voters to support economic policies that helped corporations and the wealthy.

On Romney’s “47 Percent”
In this clip, Haney López says Mitt Romney’s infamous statement played into existing racial biases and was “the narrative that his audience wants to hear.”

On Bill Clinton’s Embrace of Dog Whistling
While Bill Clinton was considered by many African-Americans as “the first black president,” Haney López says he took on policies like “ramping up Ronald Reagan’s war on drugs and converting it into a general war on crime” that played into dog whistle politics.

What’s Driving the Tea Party?
As the tea party celebrates its fifth birthday this month, Ian Haney López, author of Dog Whistle Politics, talks to Bill about how the movement has used strategic racism to get voters to the polls. “When you look at what animates the tea party, there are several different hatreds that are core to the tea party.”

On Latinos and the Future of Dog Whistle Politics
Haney López says he expects strategic racism in politics will evolve to include members of the Latino and Asian communities.

Watch all of part one and part two of Bill’s interview with Haney López.

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