Robert Mackey writes: Stop me if you’ve heard this one: An outsider politician who owes his station in life to the hundreds of millions he inherited from his father is running a failing campaign for office based on stoking fear of Muslims.
The word “failing” — as in 20 points down in the polls days before the election — is a clue that we are speaking about someone other than Donald Trump.
In this case, the politician’s name is Zac Goldsmith, and he is the millionaire scion of a prominent British family. He was thought of, until recently, as a mild-mannered Conservative member of Parliament, known mainly for his environmentalism and his sister’s friendship with the late Princess Diana.
For the past two months, however, he has generated waves of disgust and, polls suggest, not much sympathy, by pursuing a mayoral campaign filled with racially divisive innuendo about the supposed danger of electing his Labour Party rival, Sadiq Khan, a son of Pakistani Muslim immigrants.
The heavier the defeat for #NastyZac on Thursday, the longer it will be before the Tories dare to run a vile, racist campaign again. Vote!
— Pete Sinclair (@pete_sinclair) May 2, 2016
Things reached something of a crescendo over the weekend, when Goldsmith — advised by a political consultant whose website boasts that he was “described by Newt Gingrich as the U.K.’s own ‘Lee Atwater’” — published a dog-whistle appeal to voters in the Mail on Sunday, a right-wing tabloid, that implied Khan, a moderate member of Parliament, would somehow fail to defend the British capital from Islamist terrorists. [Continue reading…]