It is a whole lot easier to get people to kill or vilify other people when they think the opposition is less-than-human.
During World War I the Wilson administration called Germans “the Huns” to dehumanize them and undermine any allegiance German immigrants might have for their country of origin. Calling the foes “Japs” in World War II made it easier for the Roosevelt Administration to bomb civilian targets and place American citizens of Japanese origin in internment camps. It is notable that in both cases, these were extremely “progressive” administrations.
So, it may not be that surprising that during the current progressive administration the opposition has been dismissed as “racists” and “tea baggers.” Who cares about protecting the rights of racist tea baggers? They are illegitimate. They are not worth paying attention to. They are not your friends and neighbors; they are people to be shunned. Go ahead and audit them. Don’t allow them to organize or get tax exempt status ― their views are beyond the pale ― voicing racist tea bagger ideas is probably a hate crime anyway. So it goes in these days of total political war.
Still, it is jarring when the same approach bleeds into what should be a fairly innocuous discussion of insurance costs.