Former advisers to Donald Trump are hoping that uproar over the teaching of critical race theory will help the Republican party regain control of Congress in 2022.
Steve Bannon, the former president’s chief strategist, is among the high-profile names fighting the introduction of critical theory in classrooms, and disagrees that racism is systemic.
Talking to Politico, Mr Bannon referred to the Tea Party movement from 2010, in which fringe candidates on the conservative right campaigned for free markets and fiscal responsibility, and retook the House.
“This is the Tea Party to the 10th power,” said Mr Bannon of the uproar over critical race theory, and its introduction into American classrooms. “This isn’t Q[Anon], this is mainstream suburban mums – and a lot of these people aren’t Trump voters.”
Issues of racism and segregation, critical race theory alleges, have been tied to law making and law enforcement since the era of slavery and Jim Crow laws in the south – and are relevant today, in the wake of George Floyd’s murder by Minneapolis police.
Republicans – looking for a way to take back Congress – allegedly see concerns about teaching critical race theory in schools as a way of furthering the party’s appeal to white voters.
A poll by Morning Consultant on Wednesday revealed that among Republican voters, 48 per cent viewed critical race theory negatively. For Democrats, 12 per cent held the same view, with 32 per cent finding it favourable.
On 18 March, the day Florida governor Ron DeSantis called for it to be banned from classrooms, internet searches for “critical race theory” spiked, according to Politico.
And at a Republican conference in North Carolina, Mr Trump was recently applauded for calling for a ban on the teaching of critical race theory in schools, the federal government, and US armed forces.
Mr Bannon said of the reaction to Republican uproar on race theory: “I look at this and say, ‘Hey, this is how we are going to win.’ I see 50 [House Republican] seats in 2022. Keep this up.”
“I think you’re going to see a lot more emphasis from Trump on it and DeSantis and others,” he added. “People who are serious in 2024 and beyond are going to focus on it.”
Two former budget advisers are also working to further the uproar around race theory, reported Politico, which includes funding and help with campaigning.
President Joe Biden, on his first day in office in January, signed an order revoking Mr Trump’s 1776 project, which was a Republican response to a New York Times’ initiative, framed around ideas of “patriotism”.
Democrats have been calling for critical race theory to be taught in classrooms and workplaces as a way of addressing issues of everyday racism after a year of Black Lives Matter demonstrations.
It includes backing The New York Times’ 1619 project, which caused outrage among Republicans last year for recognising the 400th anniversary of slavery in the US, and the contribution of Black Americans to society.