‘Lean into the culture war’: House conservatives push fight against critical race theory

“We believe that individuals should be judged based on the contents of their character, not their skin. And we believe that America’s institutions should be colorblind, just as our Constitution is colorblind,” states the memo, obtained by POLITICO. “This is the same vision shared by civil rights icon Martin Luther King, Jr.”

And if it wasn’t crystal clear, the memo — titled “Lean into the culture war” — goes on to say: “We are in a culture war … we are winning.”

The memo is just the latest sign that the right is hoping to capitalize on the grassroots angst over critical race theory and excite its base voters in next year’s midterms. Former President Donald Trump has called for a ban on critical race theory at both the local school level and in the federal government. And several states have already approved bans on teaching critical race theory in schools or anything that can be packaged as such.

Under Banks’ watch, the Republican Study Committee has taken on a larger messaging role inside the House GOP conference. Members of the conservative group were presented polling during their weekly lunch on Wednesday that shows 79 percent of respondents in swing districts do not believe children should be taught “that their destiny and inherent value depends on their skin color” — the definition the GOP has adopted for critical race theory.

In fact, the concept of critical race theory is relatively new and its definition is vague. That’s why Democrats doubt that the anti-critical race theory rhetoric will actually break through with the average voter. They also point out that teaching critical race theory does not imply white students should feel guilty about past infringement on Black Americans’ civil rights and that the ideology is not taught in many of the schools where lawmakers are seeking to ban it.

Meanwhile, not everyone in the GOP agrees that Republicans should lean too heavily into the culture wars. During a speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library last month, former Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said: “As the left gets more ‘woke,’ the rest of America is getting weary. It’s exhausting. And we conservatives have to be careful not to get caught up in every little cultural battle. “