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Why Aren’t Democrats Punishing Their Own Congressional Racists?

The Republican Party leadership in Congress is doing what it should do by not only distancing themselves from Representative Steve King, but punishing him for idiotic remarks he made to the New York Times where he questioned why white supremacy is considered offensive.  With prominent Senators like Mitch McConnell and Mitt Romney calling for King’s resignation, House Republican leaders stripped him of his committee appointments.

The next logical step is obviously for the Republican Party as an organization to announce that they will not support, fundraise, or otherwise participate in any future campaign by King. 

This is obviously the right thing to do.

Of course, there are likely to be several voices who suggest that it’s the only thing Republicans can do.  Constantly fending off accusations of racism from the Democrat Party, who willingly (and shamefully) race-baits ever election cycle for the sake of power, the presence of a real racist in their midst – one who publicly acknowledges it, no less – is anything but helpful.

But here’s my sincere question: why aren’t the Democrats expected to do the same?  Or maybe the better question is why the Democrats don’t apparently want to do the same?  Not only have they failed to punish the racist anti-Semites in their midst, not only have they failed to even distance themselves from them, they have celebrated them.

To be clear, I’m not talking about those Democrats who have fraternized with known racists like Louis Farrakhan.  While that association should surely raise eyebrows and warrant legitimate requests for disavowal and apology, it’s not the same thing as personally making racist comments.  That would be an apples-to-oranges comparison.  I’m talking apples-to-apples.

Ilhan Omar, the newly elected Congresswoman replacing Keith Ellison from Minnesota, famously tweeted her racist views: “Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel. #Gaza #Palestine #Israel.”  For those unfamiliar with Jew hatred,

“Omar used a well-worn anti-Semitic trope about the preternatural ability of a nefarious Jewish cabal to deceive the world.  It’s something you would expect to read in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion or hear from a professor of comparative literature at Columbia University, not a US congresswoman.”

And she’s not alone.  Her colleague, the famously potty-mouthed Michigan representative Rashida Tlaib, has a history of anti-Semitism as well.  Take what Jonathan Tobin recently documented:

Far more important was a statement Tlaib made days later about a debate in the Senate about a bill seeking to prevent those who do business with the federal government from complying with boycotts of Israel and its citizens. Tlaib tweeted that those who are supporting the bill “forgot what country they represent.”

The implication was clear. Tlaib’s accusation reeked of the classic anti-Semitic trope of dual loyalty, which smears Jews as seeking to manipulate the US against its interests. It also evoked decades-old ­libels, like “The Protocols of the ­Elders of Zion,” since it framed broad support for the Jewish state in the US as a nefarious conspiracy rather than an ­expression of the common values that unite the two democracies.

Republican leaders are making sure Steve King gets what his racism has earned.  We’re left to wonder why the Democrats aren’t willing to do the same for two of their own. 

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