Dean Joseph Curtis Professor of Law Michael Higginbotham contributed an op-ed to The Baltimore Sun that describes the presumptive Hillary Clinton-Donald Trump match-up as “nothing less than a battle for America’s racial soul.”
In “A battle for America’s racial soul” (June 8), Higginbotham said Trump’s initial refusal to disavow the support of former KKK leader David Duke spoke volumes about the presumptive Republican nominee. (Trump later did disavow Duke and blamed his earlier, noncommittal statement on a “bad earpiece.”)
“For American voters, what really matters is not what Mr. Trump could or could not hear during a television interview, but what David Duke heard by listening to Donald Trump,” Higginbotham wrote.
What Duke heard, Higginbotham said, were Trump’s “racial code words.”
While Trump denies using such language – “I have a great relationship with the blacks,” he’s said — Higginbotham points out that “when racists like David Duke come racing over in support,” it’s clear that a “racial dog whistle” is being used.
Meanwhile, Higginbotham wrote, Clinton has “made clear that racial inequality throughout American society must be addressed and that ‘America must be made whole’ to include all of its citizens.”
Concluded Higginbotham: “Hillary Clinton’s articulation of the problems and commitment to implementing solutions that could unify Americans will create a sharp contrast with Donald Trump’s racial innuendoes and divisive language. The stakes of this election are indeed high, with America’s racial soul up for grabs.”