It’s not surprising the new chairman of the North Carolina Republican Party is attacking Hillary Clinton on Twitter. What is surprising are his efforts to link Clinton to the Ku Klux Klan.
On July 22, Hassan Harnett tweeted, “Say No to Hillary Clinton and the liberal takeover.” The next day he mused, “Say No to the Democrat lies liberal agenda.” All stuff you might expect from North Carolina’s top Republican organizer.
But both messages also included two photos merged together, one side an unflattering picture of Hillary Clinton, the other a black and white photo of a Klan rally complete with a burning cross and the following text:
The KKK was created as the militant wing of the Democrat Party in order to fight Republican reconstruction.
Now here’s the thing about those words, “They are true,” says political scientist Michael Bitzer of Cawtaba College. “The KKK was closely associated with the Democratic party.” But Bitzer quickly adds that’s if you’re talking about Democrats from the turn of the last century.
Bitzer says it’s a monumental stretch to tie mainstream Democrats over the past 60 years to the Klan. Take these two laws for example – “the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 were signed by a Democratic president” – Lyndon Baines Johnson.
And of course, there’s America’s first African-American president, Democrat Barack Obama.
Harnett, from Cabarrus County, is the first African-American chairman of the state’s Republican party. He’s known as a grass roots organizer.
The tweets include the hash tags “black lives matter” and “Christian lives matter.”
But Bitzer is curious if these tweets will cause a backlash with voters and other key Republicans in the state.