A study published online this month in Public Opinion Quarterly provides new evidence that one GOP campaign -- intentionally or not -- has aired advertisements that exacerbate viewers' racial biases.
Analyzing 126 advertisements from the presidential campaign in 2008, the authors first digitally measured the darkness of the two nominees' skin in each spot, then sorted the ads into categories based on themes. President Barack Obama and his opponent, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., looked very different in various advertisements depending on how the footage was edited and produced.
That was particularly the case in negative advertisements, in which each campaign manipulated the images of its opponent to shadow or wash out his face for dramatic effect.
Interestingly, though, when McCain's campaign aired spots that connected Obama with alleged criminal activity by liberal groups, the producers almost always used images that made Obama's skin appear very dark.
Eighty-six percent of these ads contained an image of the president in which the his skin tone was in the darkest quartile of all ads studied.
Likewise, as the election approached, images of Obama in spots aired by McCain's campaign became gradually darker.
Of course for contrast they also lightened John McCain's already pasty white complexion so that there would be no doubt as to who was on the side of white and right and who was on the side of....the dark and dangerous other.
The image at the top was taken from a 2012 anti-Obama ad put out by the group Vets for a Strong America, so clearly the practice did not end with McCain's 2008 campaign.
In light of this is it really surprising that Donald Trump launched his presidential campaign by accusing Mexico of sending us their criminals, and then started drawing the racists out of the woodwork with racially charged rhetoric?
After all he is not a dumb man. He KNEW that lying just beneath the surface of many Republicans was a KKK member struggling to get out.
And as it turns out John McCain, and of course Sarah Palin, were the ones to show him the way.