A séance for Lee Atwater? Is the California Assocation of Realtors engaged in race-baiting anti-Asian hate with attacks?


By Dan Gougherty |

One of the most notorious political operatives of the last 40 years was the late Lee Atwater. A master of dirty tricks and disinformation before the term entered popular culture, Atwater famously ran race-baiting advertisements preying on white voters fears.

After seeing several attack ads aimed at Elk Grove City Councilmember and California Assembly candidate Stephanie Nguyen and former Elk Grove Mayor and Sacramento County Board of Supervisor Steve Ly, Atwater comes to mind. Although they have been subjected to attack mailers and TV commercials, the logical culmination came with a mailer received yesterday.

The mailer claims Nguyen and Ly are allies, and Nguyen "stood with the harasser against his victims."

As someone who has covered the Elk Grove City Council politics for almost 20 years, there is no truth to the allegations on the latest mailer. Please note this is not to meant as an endorsement of either candidate but rather a condemnation of race-bating politics.

If anything, Ly and Nguyen have an intertwining history that would make them anything but allies. I won't go into details here, but if you want to discuss it, contact me at the email listed below, and I'll give you the correct background.

Here is something to consider.

The Elk Grove City Council, including Ly and Nguyen, have rarely if ever voted against real estate interests, so the realtors have nothing they can point to as an attack justification. So what is their motivation?

Is it any coincidence both candidates are Asian?

Had the realtors gone after either just one of them, they could argue it is just politics. They could even argue it was still politics when they attacked each of them.

They crossed the line once they started aligning them in TV commercials and mailers. They seemed to say Nguyen is Asian, so she is naturally a Ly ally, even though they are not anything close to that. It is like saying someone from Ireland is closely aligned with a Polish person simply because they are European.

One of Atwater's tactics was to tell white voters that Blacks were coming for their jobs to instill fear and anger. Likewise, the CAR seems to be saying Asian politicians are plotting against you, and when combined with centuries old stereotypes alive and well in American culture, the reinforce any number of tropes.

From our perspective, they are engaging in a Lee Atwater sort of race-baiting campaign, preying on the worst instinct of a large segment of our population. This sort of race-baiting nowadays takes on another deadly aspect in the form of anti-Asian hate.

The CAR is responsible for these race-baiting ads. They are despicable acts and something that can only stoke and add to anti-Asian hate.   

CAR associates are you fine with that?  

editor at elk grove news dot net

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