When Democrats have no legitimate arguments to make on the substantive issues facing the nation, they default to a tried-and-tested tactic: Accuse the Republicans of racism.

When Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton delivered her speech Thursday in Reno, Nevada, she said the reason American voters should oppose Donald Trump is because of his racism, intolerance and hatred. Besieged by a constant flow of scandal, the inheritor of eight dismal years of economic growth and an architect of a more dangerous world, Clinton has nowhere else to turn.

“A troubling case could be made that Romney indeed is a racist, at least of the country-club variety, a sad turn for a nation that only four years ago elected its first African-American president,” wrote columnist Robert Parry in 2012.

The racism tact from Clinton is nothing new.

Just when former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney begin to generate some momentum behind his candidacy, he similarly found himself at the receiving end of racially charged rhetoric and hyperbole in 2012.

Romney delivered a speech before the NAACP National Convention in July 2012 in which he said if people like “free stuff,” they should vote for President Obama’s reelection.

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Liberals in the media and Obama allies swiftly painted Romney’s remarks as racist for implying that black Americans were free-loaders on welfare.

Romney responded to the controversy during a fundraiser in Montana, saying, “That’s OK, I want people to know what I stand for and if I don’t stand for what they want, go vote for someone else, that’s just fine. But I hope people understand this. Your friends who like Obamacare, you remind them of this, if they want more stuff from government tell them to go vote for the other guy — more free stuff. But don’t forget nothing is really free.”

The incident was just the beginning of a concerted political effort to tag Romney with the label of prejudice.

The Left struck again when Romney joked that “no one’s ever asked to see my birth certificate.”

Who do you think would win the Presidency?

Columnist Robert Parry was one of the first to jump at the opportunity to cry racism.

“Romney may not be a crude racist, the sort who would dress up in white sheets and burn crosses on someone’s lawn. But America has had a long and equally grim history of country-club racists whose personal contempt toward blacks, Hispanics, Arabs and other dark-skinned people is cloaked in more genteel phrasing,” Parry wrote. “Taking everything into account … a troubling case could be made that Romney indeed is a racist, at least of the country-club variety, a sad turn for a nation that only four years ago elected its first African-American president.”

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Even 2008 GOP nominee Sen. John McCain experienced the disingenuous smear of racism from the Left.

McCain was panned as racist when he referred to Obama during an October debate as “that one” while gesturing toward him on stage.

Indeed, an October 2008 column in The Guardian implied that essentially everything McCain and his running mate, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, said on the campaign trail amounted to racially charged language.

“It can be argued that much of the Republicans’ recent rhetoric carries a racial subtext and that, unable to openly use Obama’s race as weapon, they instead employ coded language which suggests that Obama is different, foreign and ‘other,’” Lola Adesioye wrote. “Sarah Palin, for example, says ‘[Obama] is not a man who sees America the way you and I see America.’ There is no doubt that the ‘you and I’ she is referring to are white Americans, the Joe Six Packs and the hockey moms that she constantly talks about.”

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The pattern of smear makes fairly plain there is coded, racially charged language in every one of these presidential contests — but it isn’t coming from the Republicans.

Instead the Left, whenever challenged on legitimate, substantive issues, defaults to allegations of racism. Democrats want to prejudice voters against GOP policy proposals that are in the people’s own interest by coloring them with the stain of racism.

Of course, scandal-tarred Hillary Clinton, more desperate than Obama in either of his presidential bids to keep the focus off herself, has taken the racially charged attack to an unprecedented level.

Putting Klansmen into an attack ad and blasting it into millions of homes with millions of dollars is not a tactic Democrats have resorted to in a national election before. It’ll be up to the voters if it works.