Two of the dumbest memes you can find in the fever swamps of far-right politics are that Democrats are still the party of white supremacy, as they were in the 19th and part of the 20th century, and that Democrats hate and want to destroy their own country. It has come to light that Tudor Dixon, the Republican nominee running for governor of Michigan, managed to combine these two bizarre notions in the summer of 2020.
CNN reports that Dixon spun her weird fable during a June 2020 appearance on the America’s Voice network:
“The country today is divided, and this was the plan. It’s been in the works for years. The idea that you can topple the greatest country in the world. But to topple a country like the United States of America, you must be planning this for decades,” said Dixon. “Why wouldn’t that come from the party that lost the Civil War? The party that wanted to own people because they viewed them as less than human? Do you think that the Democrats are over losing to the north?”
There is a calisthenic right-wing argument that today’s Democrats “own” Black people by making them dependent on Big Government and giving them orders on how to vote; this “plantation theory,” which calls people slaves for consistently preferring one party over the other (just as Black people once did in favor of Republicans when Democrats really were the party of white supremacy), is pretty dumb and/or disingenuous too. But the idea that today’s Democrats somehow identify with the Confederate States of America — you know, the people whose statues progressives are forever tearing down, to the horror of Donald Trump, in the region currently dominated by Republicans — is beyond dumb. Yet Dixon’s remarks got worse, per CNN:
Dixon went on to claim that Democrats used the COVID-19 pandemic and the killing of Floyd to divide the country and feed white people “white guilt” so they can assume power and “gladly own” and enslave people of all colors “again.”
“Democrat leaders, meanwhile, they sat back in their designer suits, eating their fillet with their nice béarnaise sauce while they watched the country rip itself apart because they were getting it all back, the slaves again,” said Dixon. “This time they’d be people of all colors — poor and broken — looking to them and begging for help. And they will gladly own you,” adding that next they will take “your guns, your speech, and your God.”
Dixon did mix up her imagery a bit. As a Southerner myself, I’m pretty sure the plantation owners of the antebellum South wore linen and cotton rather than “designer suits” and chowed down on meat with sawmill gravy rather than a “nice béarnaise sauce.”
Yes, this was more than two years ago. But much as it’s hard to believe that Marjorie Taylor Greene, who longed for the violent death of Democratic leaders before she ran for office, can’t just wave away her own not-so-distant words, Dixon must also be held accountable for sounding like an unhinged or, worse yet, a cynical demagogue with these comments. It’s all the more relevant since, by some accounts, she has been surging in the polls recently in her contest against Michigan’s Democratic incumbent governor, Gretchen Whitmer. Dixon needs to explain her words.