Washington Post national columnist and hamburger height fact-checker Philip Bump released a column on Thursday discussing what he considers to be the latest scandal plaguing the Republican Party: the use of the terms “Chinese Communist Party” and “CCP.”
Bump begins his confused diatribe by recalling that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis used to sell campaign merchandise that read “Don’t Fauci my Florida,” but that turned into “critical race theory” and decrying everything ‘“woke,’ whatever that happened to mean on any given day.”
Eventually, in paragraph eight, Bump gets around to the article’s supposed subject, “During the GOP presidential primary debate on Wednesday, DeSantis didn’t use the word ‘woke’ once. (He also didn’t say ‘Fauci.’) But he did use another pejorative term: “CCP,” referring to the Chinese Communist Party. At another point, he referred to his opposition to ‘communist China.’ DeSantis has mentioned ‘CCP’ or Chinese communism six times since the beginning of August — and numerous times before that.”
However, even Bump can’t argue that nothing new is going on, “Criticizing China’s communism is by no means new in American politics, of course.” However, “this phrasing, the “CCP” iteration of that criticism, seems to be in vogue at the moment. How did that happen?”
Normal people would say it is a campaign season so candidates are talking about the challenges facing the country, but Bump had another explanation: Fox News, “As always, a useful way to answer such questions is to look at when it has been used on Fox News. Analysis of closed-captioning collected by the Internet Archive shows that use of ‘Chinese Communist Party’ or ‘CCP’ has been far more common on Fox News and Fox Business than on CNN and MSNBC. But there’s a clear point at which those references became more common: the start of the coronavirus pandemic in early 2020.”
Perhaps that means CNN and MSNBC should discuss China more often, but during that same time, they have managed to talk a lot about Vladimir Putin and Russia, even outside the context of his war on Ukraine. By Bump’s logic that means they and Democrats are not discussing foreign policy or national security issues, but mere pejoratives.
As for, Bump he seems to, again, throw cold water on his own thesis, “This is interesting, if not surprising. The pandemic spurred new attention to the reliability of the Chinese government as questions swirled about how and where the coronavirus first emerged. It was obvious that China was suppressing information about the virus and its effects on its population. There was reason to focus on China and on its leaders, members of the Communist Party.”
“The pejorative outlasted that concern about the pandemic. China remains a geopolitical threat to the United States, obviously, so this new appellation has applications that extend beyond how it handled the coronavirus,” Bump adds.
Concluding his article, Bump alludes to the Cold War past for why Republicans like the term:
There was another utility to it in both 2020 and after, of course: It once again pits America against communism. Republicans (and particularly Trump) have repeatedly characterized the American left as communistic — meaning, in this reinvigorated context, that they are anti-American.
The term became popular on the right. DeSantis, an experienced purveyor of right-wing jargon, picked it up. So Fauci and “wokeism” get a moment out of the spotlight.
Bump’s article therefore could be summarized as “The CCP is bad and a threat, but the GOP is also bad, so therefore the term CCP is a Republican insult.” But, left-wing commentators and reporters such as Bump can’t have it both ways: they cannot suggest terms like “Chinese virus” are racist and then say differentiating between the country and its government and Communist Party is a “pejorative.”