Republican Mike Huckabee wasn’t even on the debate stage Tuesday night, as Democratic candidates sparred over who should be their party’s nominee for president in 2016. Yet, the former Arkansas Governor may have ended up the night’s big loser anyway, because he couldn’t refrain from blasting out a racist tweet to make a dig at Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.
In attacking Sanders’ economic ideas, Huckabee tweeted:
I trust @BernieSanders with my tax dollars like I trust a North Korean chef with my labrador! #DemDebate
In contrast to the respectful dialogue that was occurring on the debate stage, Huckabee’s jab served as a jarring reminder of Mike Huckabee’s mean spirited racism, and by extension the racism that finds comfort and support in his political party.
Huckabee went for an easy mark by making his reference about a North Korean cook, since North Korea as a nation is essentially an international pariah. There isn’t a significant North Korean voting bloc in the United States for obvious reasons. However, the stereotyping of Koreans specifically, and Asians more generally, as people who will butcher your dog for an easy meal, is a level of bigotry that is so appalling, one wonders how Huckabee could think his joke was funny.
However, when one considers that the Republican Party has mostly decided that they can win by appealing to the prejudices of xenophobes, homophobes and racists, it is little wonder that Huckabee thought his joke would be a real knee slapper. Depicting Asians as dog murdering savages doesn’t bother Huckabee, because he is surrounded by right-wing bigots. He doesn’t even recognize how racist his remark sounds to people who unlike him, haven’t spent the last several years denying the existence of racism.
A party that accuses Mexican immigrants of being racists, Middle Eastern Muslims of being mostly terrorists, and a party that regards the president as a tyrannical usurper born in Africa, is a party that will tolerate Mike Huckabee’s demeaning stereotypes about Koreans. The rest of America however does not need to tolerate Huckabee’s racism.
Mike Huckabee’s ugly true colors resurfaced when he tweeted during the Democratic debate. While he was hoping to use his racist humor to slam Bernie Sanders’ economic policies, his barb missed the mark. Instead of striking a blow at democratic socialism, Huckabee’s comment boomeranged, reminding everyone in America that Mike Huckabee is a racist bully, and unfit to lead any organization, much less run an entire country.
Huckabee’s offensive tweet should put an end to his presidential ambitions. In the Republican Party, his cruel blunder may not prove politically fatal immediately. However, its hard to imagine he has much of a political future once he leaves the sanctuary of the Republican Party and has to face a diverse general electorate. Huckabee managed to lose Tuesday night’s debate without even stepping onto the stage.
Keith Brekhus is a progressive American who currently resides in Red Lodge, Montana. He is co-host for the Liberal Fix radio show. He holds a Master’s Degree in Sociology from the University of Missouri. In 2002, he ran for Congress as a Green Party candidate in the state of Missouri. In 2014, he worked as a field organizer for Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick’s successful re-election bid in Arizona’s 1st Congressional District. He can be followed on Twitter @keithbrekhus or on Facebook.