How Do Racially and Sexually Insensitive Comments Affect Elections?
1 year ago
A history of political gaffes and the impact they make on campaigns, or not.
Yesterday was supposed to be the end of the world for Texas Governor and GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry. When news broke that he leased campgrounds named “Niggerhead” since the early 1980s and only changed the name recently, this event was referred to as “disqualifying” and “insensitive.”
Surely, Perry isn’t the first politician to be associated with racially insensitive words. But for the most part history shows us that even after making crazy remarks pertaining to race, gender and sexual orientation it might not have as much of an impact as you think.
Oklahoma State Representative Sally Kern once said “blacks don’t work as hard as whites,” and also this jewel: “Here in America we've had what, maybe three known real big terrorist attacks on our nation? But every day our young people especially -- all of us, but our young people especially -- are in a sense bombarded with the message that homosexuality is normal and natural." But those statements haven’t stopped her from winning three re-elections since then.
In addition to getting caught using his political power to lace his own pockets, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal had a successful 2010 campaign partially based on attacks that said his primary opponent Karen Handel “promoted” homosexuality as well as for a community organization called YouthPride. The group doesn’t go out and tell kids to be gay, but does offer those who are HIV-positive education and prevention workshops and other counseling services. Deal said Handel's support for organizations like that are the “last straw” for Georgia. The state listened and elected him Governor.