No Republicans Have Condemned the “Magic Negro” CD: What Can We Learn?

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


Brief recap. Chip Saltsman, a Tennessee Republican who is seeking the chairmanship of the Republican National Committee, sent a CD of holiday music to committee members earlier this month. That CD contained a Rush Limbaugh song titled “Barack the Magic Negro.” (Listen here.) The song is sung by a white political humorist who tries to impersonate the voice of Reverend Al Sharpton. As Sharpton, the singer complains about Obama being palatable to white people “because he’s not from da hood.”

Saltsman defended the song, saying it is a “light-hearted political parod[y].” That got me thinking. Has any Republican criticized Saltsman for distributing the song? Here’s Mike Allen of Politico, who is stunned to the find the answer is “no.”

WHY HAS IT BEEN 18 HOURS SINCE THIS WAS POSTED AND NOT A SINGLE REPUBLICAN OFFICIAL HAS CONDEMNED IT? YOUNG PEOPLE IN THE PARTY FIND IT DISGUSTING/ASTONISHING AND CALLED THE LINK TO OUR ATTENTION AS A ‘YA CAN’T MAKE IT UP.’

What’s the motivation here? It’s not that all Republican officials are racist, of course. I think it has something to do with the fact that conservatives by and large hate political correctness and hate being told by liberals that they stepped over the lines of polite discourse. I’ve frequently objected to an insensitive joke, only to be admonished, “Lighten up, it’s supposed to be funny.” Because, obviously, the fact that there is humorous intent makes the racism/sexism/homophobia okay.

The first Republican official who condemns Saltsman will be the first to bend to the will of the liberal PC Nazis (i.e. the biggest wimp). And I think that’s why we aren’t seeing people speaking out, including the African-American candidates in the race for the RNC chair. If this little episode has enough steam to stick around until after the holidays, top GOPers won’t be able to ignore it any longer. They’ll have to make a difficult choice. Sticking to their misguided principles will mean a third week of bad press for the Party.

Update: Conservatives are starting to find their voice(s).

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate