Just A Spoonful Of Racism Helps The Medicine Go Down…

6 comments August 24th, 2007at 07:58pm Posted by Eli

Krugman is full of sweetness and light today, as usual:

So now Mitt Romney is trying to Willie Hortonize Rudy Giuliani. And thereby hangs a tale — the tale, in fact, of American politics past and future, and the ultimate reason Karl Rove’s vision of a permanent Republican majority was a foolish fantasy.

(…)

[S]ome Republicans are trying to make similar use of the recent murder of three college students in Newark, a crime in which two of the suspects are Hispanic illegal immigrants. Tom Tancredo flew into Newark to accuse the city’s leaders of inviting the crime by failing to enforce immigration laws, while Newt Gingrich declared that the “war here at home” against illegal immigrants is “even more deadly than the war in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

And Mr. Romney, who pretends to be whatever he thinks the G.O.P. base wants him to be, is running a radio ad denouncing New York as a “sanctuary city” for illegal immigrants, an implicit attack on Mr. Giuliani.

Strangely, nobody seems to be trying to make a national political issue out of other horrifying crimes, like the Connecticut home invasion in which two paroled convicts, both white, are accused of killing a mother and her two daughters. Oh, and by the way: over all, Hispanic immigrants appear to commit relatively few crimes — in fact, their incarceration rate is actually lower than that of native-born non-Hispanic whites.

To appreciate what’s going on here you need to understand the difference between the goals of the modern Republican Party and the strategy it uses to win elections.

The people who run the G.O.P. are concerned, above all, with making America safe for the rich. Their ultimate goal, as Grover Norquist once put it, is to get America back to the way it was “up until Teddy Roosevelt, when the socialists took over,” getting rid of “the income tax, the death tax, regulation, all that.”

But right-wing economic ideology has never been a vote-winner. Instead, the party’s electoral strategy has depended largely on exploiting racial fear and animosity.

Ronald Reagan didn’t become governor of California by preaching the wonders of free enterprise; he did it by attacking the state’s fair housing law, denouncing welfare cheats and associating liberals with urban riots. Reagan didn’t begin his 1980 campaign with a speech on supply-side economics, he began it — at the urging of a young Trent Lott — with a speech supporting states’ rights delivered just outside Philadelphia, Miss., where three civil rights workers were murdered in 1964.

And if you look at the political successes of the G.O.P. since it was taken over by movement conservatives, they had very little to do with public opposition to taxes, moral values, perceived strength on national security, or any of the other explanations usually offered. To an almost embarrassing extent, they all come down to just five words: southern whites starting voting Republican.

(…)

But Republicans have a problem: demographic changes are making their race-based electoral strategy decreasingly effective. Quite simply, America is becoming less white, mainly because of immigration. Hispanic and Asian voters were only 4 percent of the electorate in 1980, but they were 11 percent of voters in 2004 — and that number will keep rising for the foreseeable future.

Those numbers are the reason Karl Rove was so eager to reach out to Hispanic voters. But the whites the G.O.P. has counted on to vote their color, not their economic interests, are having none of it. From their point of view, it’s us versus them — and everyone who looks different is one of them.

So now we have the spectacle of Republicans competing over who can be most convincingly anti-Hispanic. I know, officially they’re not hostile to Hispanics in general, only to illegal immigrants, but that’s a distinction neither the G.O.P. base nor Hispanic voters takes seriously.

Today’s G.O.P., in short, is trapped by its history of cynicism. For decades it has exploited racial animosity to win over white voters — and now, when Republican politicians need to reach out to an increasingly diverse country, the base won’t let them.

Well, there’s a happy ending, at least. But how sad is it that racism (and sexism, and homophobia) are the sugarcoating to make the Republican agenda more appealing? I’m picturing something like this:

PROSPECTIVE REPUBLICAN VOTER: I don’t see how any of these tax cuts benefit me – I don’t make that kind of money. And it looks like you’re always taking my employer’s side instead of mine.

REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: We hate blacks, Mexicans, women, and gays.

PROSPECTIVE REPUBLICAN VOTER: Okay, I’m in.

(Also, you will be relieved to know that Rudy is not taking this threat lying down. He’s hired Scott Howell & Company to do his media – they’re the folks responsible for the racist “Harold, call me” ad in Tennessee.)

Entry Filed under: Immigration,Politics,Racism,Republicans,Romney,Rudy,Sexism,Teh Gay

6 Comments

  • 1. Petro  |  August 24th, 2007 at 8:13 pm

    …Republicans have a problem: …Quite simply, America is becoming less white

    *sigh* – If only it could be said that “America is becoming less racist.” But H.S.Thompson smacks me upside the head from beyond the grave for that foolishness…

  • 2. Eli  |  August 24th, 2007 at 8:19 pm

    Well, it sort of is, but only through sheer demographics.

    It’s depressing to know that a voting majority can be constructed from hate and fear.

  • 3. spocko  |  August 24th, 2007 at 8:34 pm

    I like this. Good one. Did you do this or is it part of Krugman?
    PROSPECTIVE REPUBLICAN VOTER: I dont see how any of these tax cuts benefit me – I dont make that kind of money. And it looks like youre always taking my employers side instead of mine.

    REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: We hate blacks, Mexicans, women, and gays.

    PROSPECTIVE REPUBLICAN VOTER: Okay, Im in.

  • 4. Eli  |  August 24th, 2007 at 8:37 pm

    Thanks, that was me.

  • 5. Eli  |  August 24th, 2007 at 8:41 pm

    Tweaked the verbiage a bit to hopefully make that a bit more clear.

  • 6. www.dmocrats.org  |  August 25th, 2007 at 4:37 am

    Do you want to destroy the hold that corporations have over congress and the president? Simple. Organize and Demand progressive legislation from some of these corporations and do not buy from them until they get the GOP to get congress to enact this legislation.

    If you want to put an end to the Republiklan party, then

    Send this letter to the Republican party now! Also put this on your web page so others can see it.

    Copy and paste the letter below and email it directly to info@gop.com the Republican Party and get 2 friends to send this letter and have those 2 friends get 2 friends to send it and so on. Thank you. Drop me a message to info@dmocrats.org with the subject Done after you have sent the email.

    Hello

    Get your Republican party to end the war in Iraq, with Bush and Cheney resigning, and until you do we stop buying televisions, refrigerators, stoves, ovens, dishwashers, dvd players, stereo equipment, light bulbs from one of your party’s major contributors and War contractors General Electric Corporation ( 203 373 2211 ) who cannot afford to lose a large sector of the publics business and money.

    Get your Republican party to remove the FICA taxable income cap and tax all of a person’s income for social security purposes and enact HR 676 Single payer universal health care into law and repeal Medicare Part D and place the prescription drug benefit in Medicare Part B covering 80 percent of all medication with no extra premiums, no extra deductibles, no means tests, no coverage gaps, and completely remove the means test to Medicare Part B and until you do, we will not buy consumer products and prescription drugs from one of the biggest pharmacy chains and GOP contributors in the country, Rite Aid, who cannot afford to lose a large sector of the publics business and money.

    Get your Republican party to enact a $10 an hour minimum wage, and until you do, we will not go to the following restaurants and GOP contributors Wendy’s, Outback Steakhouse, Olive Garden, Red Lobster, and Dominos Pizza who cannot afford to lose a large sector of the publics business and money.

    Get your Republican party to enact into law Universal vote by mail with paper ballots counted by civil servants with civil servants registering voters and keeping track of registrations, and until you do, we will not buy any GOP contributor Dell computers or monitors or go to the following restaurants and GOP contributors Wendy’s, Outback Steakhouse, Olive Garden, Red Lobster, and Dominos Pizza who cannot afford to lose a large sector of the publics business and money.

    Get your Republican party to get congress to pass and enact a law legalizing abortions from conception to six months, and to nine months when the life of the mother appears threatened, and until you do we stop doing business with two of your biggest contributors Dominos Pizza and Curves for Women Health Clubs.

    Signed,


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