Ramaswamy and the art of politics by division – The Boston Globe

GOP presidential hopeful is stealing a page from Trump’s book

Re “Ramaswamy puts his views on racism into spotlight” (Page A1, Sept. 2): One may wonder if Vivek Ramaswamy really believes the nonsense he spouts about racism in this country, but whether sincere or cynical, he is stealing a page from Donald Trump’s book on the art of politics by division. Like Trump, Ramaswamy has figured out that gaslighting about race and making naked appeals to bigotry can win a candidate a lot of attention — and votes — in this country.

Ramaswamy brays that systemic racism doesn’t exist. Yet all around the country Republican lawmakers are busy gerrymandering and enacting voter eligibility laws that effectively disenfranchise voters of color and make it more difficult for them to vote. To intimidate voters and election officials alike, they are enacting criminal provisions that impose severe sentences for even good-faith violations. They are closing polling places. They are even criminalizing efforts to support and assist voters.

The bigotry is not confined to voting rights. Republican lawmakers are outlawing the teaching of Black history and propagating outrageous lies about the supposed educational value of human enslavement.

What else can we call this but the essence of systemic, institutionalized racism? And is it dying away, as Ramaswamy might suggest? Of course not. Indeed, one could argue that race relations in our country are getting worse, fueled in part by the sort of nonsense that public figures like Ramaswamy and Trump are selling. Until we reject these opportunistic frauds and their efforts to divide, our common struggle to address race will continue.

Jack O’Connor


Media need to be wary not to fall for distractions

I fear that articles like “Ramaswamy puts his views on racism into spotlight” follow the path that the US media took in their coverage of Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential race. Over and over, Trump spoke and — “squirrel!” — the media snapped their heads around like Dug the dog in the movie “Up.” Like Dug, the members of the press stopped whatever they were doing and chased the squirrel. Trump played the distraction game with unique expertise.

More recently, the mainstream media have learned the Trump lesson and, for the most part, they’ve chosen to examine what he says or events he organizes and report only that which is actual news. Your article highlights Ramaswamy’s squirrel distraction and his outrageous comments about race relations in this country. This is not news. I understand your point that he is playing the race card, but we have to be careful not to fall for his game.

Edward M. Cook


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