Just when you think our political culture can’t sink any lower, the race card gets tossed onto the table, as those who know how to play that game reach from the gutter to portray themselves as enlightened.

It’s a tired old tactic, yet in the right hands it remains regrettably effective.

More than 30 years ago, in one of his most inglorious moments, the late Ted Kennedy went onto the Senate floor, ostensibly to philosophically oppose Ronald Reagan’s nomination of Judge Robert Bork to the Supreme Court.

Fair enough. They surely had philosophical differences.

But tossing decency to the wind, Ted went for the jugular, insisting “Robert Bork’s America is a land in which blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters!”

That was vile, detestable, shameful, but because he was the darling of the left wing — indeed, its liberal lion! — Ted got away with it when he should have been profusely apologizing.

A decade ago, while he was still vice president, Joe Biden contemptibly tried to play that same card at a political rally in Virginia, telling blacks in the audience that Republican contender Mitt Romney “would put y’all back in chains!”

What is it about a charismatic guy like Biden that makes him think wit or humor can be extracted from the image of a black man in chains?

It’s what makes an eloquent airhead like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who went from tending bar in the Bronx to becoming a self-absorbed congressional rookie, look at the chaos illegal immigration is causing along our southern border and have the staggering ignorance to suggest it’s reminiscent of Nazi ovens in World War II.

Partisan leanings notwithstanding, it’s very discouraging to see what passes for leadership in America today, and Thursday night’s dog-and-pony show on CNN to set up the Democratic debate lineups just added to the discouragement.

Quick: Of the 20 Democratic presidential contenders now assigned their platform positions in the upcoming debates, how many can you name?

You can’t remember them all? You’re not alone.

They’re quite unimpressive.

Just think, we have 16 more months of hot air from this crowd before the first vote is cast.

And for race to have already been tossed into the dialogue — the “squad” is comprised of “women of color,” in case you haven’t noticed — makes you want to cry out, “We’re better than this!”

Or are we? We sure claim to be.

But talk is cheap, especially political rhetoric.

So if race is all a candidate has to sell, do the country a favor and shop elsewhere.


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