The term seems to have arisen during Harvey Gantt's second bid (1996) to unseat longtime racist North Carolina senator Jesse Helms. In his 1990 campaign against Gantt, Helms ran a television ad ad showing a black man taking a white man's job, intended as a criticism of the idea of racial quotas. Gantt's 1996 response to Helms's covert 1990 accusation (that Gantt supported such quotas) was apparently seen as playing the race card.
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