Lee Atwater Explains Every Republican Campaign Since 1964

Lee Atwater:

You start out in 1954 by saying, “Nigger, nigger, nigger.” By 1968 you can’t say “nigger”—that hurts you, backfires. So you say stuff like, uh, forced busing, states’ rights, and all that stuff, and you’re getting so abstract. Now, you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is, blacks get hurt worse than whites.… “We want to cut this,” is much more abstract than even the busing thing, uh, and a hell of a lot more abstract than “Nigger, nigger.”


  1. Explain again: how do lower taxes hurt blacks more than whites?

    Lib answer to any intellectual challenge:

    That’s so RAAAAAAAACIST!!!

  2. The reason Atwater’s political message works is that a majority of white voters incorrectly believe blacks and Latinos benefit most from government transfers and public services. A politician who proposes cutting taxes and cutting spending is understood by those voters to be proposing cutting white people’s taxes and cutting spending going to brown people.

    In reality, it’s downscale Southern whites who take the most in government transfers (http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_reckoning/2012/10/25/blue_state_red_face_guess_who_benefits_more_from_your_taxes.html)

  3. Jack Contado says:

    bullshit. I’m a voter. Believeing that to be true represents a liberal fantasy of a conservative stereotype.

  4. What garbage, Geeting. Why would you reprint this quote, let alone attempt to give it credibility? What a horrific, offensive post. I am absolutely shocked you feel OK about the post or your own comment. Serious lack of judgement, I would say.

    • Jon Geeting says:

      This is how Republicans run campaigns. It is their message, and has been their message in every political race from President on down to dog catcher since 1964.

    • Jon Geeting says:

      Also I certainly am not giving it credibility – quite the opposite. It’s absolutely horrifying, and people need to come to terms with why it’s so horrifying. It is because one of our two major political parties uses a racist dog whistle message to win elections based on white racial backlash politics. Don’t shoot the messenger.

  5. That is NOT how Republicans run their campaigns. It is what Lee Atwater said in the 80’s. How repulsive to automatically label Republicans (and anyone else who wants to have an honest conversation about tax reform and entitlements) as a racist.

    You’re giving the quote plenty of credibility by sticking it on all Republicans. That is offensive.

    • Jon Geeting says:

      The Republican Party just ran an election where there was no daylight between any of their candidates on the question of whether 47% of the population are moochers. *Your* taxes are going to *those* people (wink wink). Mitt Romney ran a bunch of ads lying about Obama gutting welfare reform and taking away work requirements. The Atwater strategy is alive and well. It is at the center of the Republican Party’s political message. The only reason it didn’t work again this time is that there aren’t enough white voters to win a national majority.

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