A group of House conservatives have been discussing an "America First Caucus” that would aim to protect and advance what they call "Anglo-Saxon political traditions.”

On the surface, the words "Anglo-Saxon” seem like a euphemism for "White.” Read this way, the words aren’t a racist dog-whistle that can be heard only by some. They’re just a plain old whistle, obviously racist to anyone who has ears.

But as it turns out, the idea of specifically Saxon political traditions also has a deeper history. This one is connected to an enduring myth about the American constitutional tradition: that it ultimately traces its roots to an ancient Saxon — that is, German — tradition of hardy self-government by unruly tribes. In the 19th century, the idea of the Saxon constitution acquired a shameful association not only with so-called scientific racism but also with anti-Catholic and anti-immigrant xenophobia.