Steven King could have done himself a favor by bowing out gracefully. But by running again, he gave both parties an opportunity to push a narrative on the topic of racism.
The Democrats may THINK this one will help them more. But the jury is still out on that one.
Two views of one outcome:
Rep. Steve King, the controversial nine-term Republican congressman from Iowa, lost a heavily contested primary race on Tuesday night to a well-funded state Sen. Randy Feenstra.
King’s loss in Iowa’s Republican primary contest marks the beginning of the end for the provocative lawmaker who for years had been a conservative lightning rod in Washington for his hardline views on issues ranging from immigration to abortion.
Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel tweeted early Wednesday that King’s “white supremacist rhetoric is totally inconsistent with the Republican Party, and I’m glad Iowa Republicans rejected him at the ballot.”
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., tweeted, “Goodbye, Rep. Steve King. You are certainly not the only white supremacist in federal government, but you were among the most prominent. It’s a shame Republicans held you up as long as they did.” — FoxNews
And that, right in those final two paragraphs, is the basic outline of each party’s narrative. She might not realize it, but one narrative features AOC, herself, pretty prominently.
As the quote says, King was a ‘lightning rod’, and has made a number of controversial statements over the years. Depending on whether you agree with his critics or his defenders, some of those statements were either racist, or they have been misinterpreted as such.
The quote in question:
“White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?” King asked the paper. “Why did I sit in classes teaching me about the merits of our history and our civilization?”
In his statement Monday, King insisted his use of “that language” was referring “ONLY to Western Civilization and NOT to any previously stated evil ideology ALL of which I have denounced. —FoxNews
Unfortunately for him, in a ‘woke’ world where soundbites determine the rise and fall of political futures, the result was the same either way.
In the short term, King did a Mea Culpa and even voted in agreement with a Congressional vote of disapproval written in response to his allegedly racist statements. It did not, however, name him personally in its language.
King said he’d vote “yes” on the resolution of disapproval about his comments.
“I agree with the language in it,” he said, referring to the language condemning white supremacy and white nationalism.
He urged his colleagues to vote for the resolution.
“I’m putting up a yes on the board here. What you say here is right and it’s true and it’s just,” he said.
This came after King defending his comments, arguing again they were mischaracterized and lamented that there is no tape to prove it. He repeated the same premise that was in his statement last night. — KCCI
Consequently, he was stripped of any committee assignments.
Here come the talking points:
Now that King has lost the primary, the Democrats are crowing. As we can see in the AOC tweet, they are pushing the ‘Republicans-are-racist’ narrative they love so dearly. They see this evidence of having taken a scalp, of forcing out one of the other team, to (they think) make room for one of their own.
But playing that ‘racist’ card is a risky gamble for the Democrats. Especially this year, with the rise of the squad. It sets up a counter-narrative.
For one thing, this primary means King hasn’t quietly slipped off out the back door. He tried to keep his seat, but the Republican voters of his district had lost confidence in him, giving someone ELSE the right to represent their party’s interests, instead.
This is proof positive that, contrary to the Democrat talking points, Republicans take such issues seriously, and are willing to clean house. This, in turn, sets up a potential Achilles heel for the Democrats:
Not long after that near-unanimous vote to disapprove of King’s comments in a Democrat-controlled House, Ilhan Omar made some antisemitic statements. With a bulletproof majority, the ball was in the Democrat’s court. Pelosi was faced with a choice. She could take a strong stand, showing that Democrats took such things just as seriously as the Republicans did. Or she could downplay it.
She downplayed it, leaving her free to criticizes the Republicans alleged racism, without actually acknowledging her own party’s racist statements. Her deliberate obfuscation on this issue was completely unmasked when political goals Pelosi named as ‘racist’ in the Spring of 2019 were being openly advanced by Democrats in the Squad only a few months later.
With King primaried, two things happen.
First, it opens up a spot for a representative who CAN hold a committee role, advancing MAGA policy agenda items.
Second, it shows that Republicans are serious about keeping their own house in order… and Democrats are not. For example, since AOC decided to weigh in, let’s begin with her OWN racial record. — FAIL: AOC Calls Trump Antisemitic… That Was A Mistake
How will this all play out in the end? That’s anybody’s guess.
And just for fun, since Dems love that ‘guilt by association’ game…