Remorse, Racist Politicians, and Forgiveness
Robert Byrd went on to get a 100 percent rating from the NAACP and Hugo Black became one of the leading white voices for integration. These people all thought that it was necessary to become Klan members in order to further their political careers.
In 2002 Louisiana, was it really required to be a Klansman in order to advance your career? Byrd and Black went on to deeply regret their affiliation with the Klan. Whip Scalise doesn’t seem to regret anything — he just seems to try to be spinning the whole thing. I’m not sure that someone can spin their way out of this in the modern era, but doubling down on the ignorance card doesn’t seem like a good strategy.
Trent Lott was unable to salvage his career yet Truman, Black, and Byrd were. Admitting you were wrong and moving to the left on race is the only way to overcome this sort of political problem. If that’s true, and if you have to move to the left to overcome being labeled as a racist, I don’t think Scalise will survive.