Rachel Maddow Breaks Down How the Racist Political Past is Present

We're still living out the Southern Strategy Republicans dreamed up in the 1960s.

By Julianne Hing Oct 20, 2010

This election season we’ve seen political candidates drop offensive racially charged comments with such casual impunity that cataloguing them all, let alone mustering up the anger to react, has become a daunting task. But last night Rachel Maddow summarized this election cycle in a historical context that made for must-see TV.

Maddow rounded up some of the most recent bits: West Virginia Republican nominee for Senate John Raese’s disrespectful indifference toward Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor (he can’t be bothered to care to remember what her name is or how to pronounce it), or calling Secretary of Energy Steven Chu "Dr. Chow Mein." And what about Nevada’s Republican Senate nominee Sharron Angle being forced to explain her "Thanks, Pal" ad showing brown-skinned men who are labeled "illegals"–and then telling a crowd of Latino students they looked a bit "Asian" to her?

Maddow argues that we’re seeing the return of the Southern Strategy, a civil rights-era GOP campaign ploy to appeal to whites’ fears of blacks’ growing political power.

Our favorite political commentator and Facing Race keynote speaker Melissa Harris-Perry (the former Melissa Harris-Lacewell) weighed in as well. We’ve put the whole segment above. It’s long, but the beginning in particular is a great history lesson to put today’s insanity in context.