The Wrong Basket

August 3rd, 2009at 07:20am Posted by Eli

Digby wonders why the Republicans are going so hard after Sotomayor:

This is what I find inexplicable about Republican strategy. They knew before she was nominated that the person Obama named was 99% likely to be confirmed. They knew she was replacing a liberal on the court, so no harm no foul in terms of the balance on the court. And they know they have a problem with Hispanics, the fastest growing demographic in the country. Allowing a large margin to vote for Sotomayor would be an easy way to ease some of those tensions, buy some good will and provide some cover the next time the Democrats try to block a nominee, without having to actually do anything. It’s just good politics.

And yet they’ve gone out of their way to publicly sully the woman’s reputation and now are pulling every possible string to keep the vote as tight as possible, thereby reinforcing the notion that they hate Hispanics so much that they will do everything in their power, even when they are sure to lose, to keep one from the Supreme Court.

(…)

This is so politically obtuse that makes me wonder what in the hell these people are really worried about. It occurs to me that they are seeing something much more devastating in their numbers than just losing the Hispanic vote of the future. It seems they must be afraid of losing the white working class. Assuming they are behaving rationally (which is assuming a lot) the only logical reason they could have for ginning up all this racial animosity is if they feel the need to secure their base with the old tried and true racial resentment. If they were secure there, they could afford to be magnanimous toward Sotomayor in a situation that makes no substantial change in policy.

Of course, it could also just be that they are a bunch of sexist, racist bastards themselves and just can’t stand the idea of a woman of Puerto Rican extraction being in power. With these people it’s usually a good idea to apply Occam’s Razor and call it a day.

If doubling down on racism is an actual strategy, then it’s a very desperate and risky one.  They’re putting all their eggs in a basket which is shrinking.  Even if white people aren’t becoming less racist over time (and I’d like to think we are), their proportion of the electorate is getting smaller.  Winning the racist vote is going to be less and less valuable, and alienating the minority and non-racist vote is going to be more and more damaging.

So good luck clinging to that Southern Strategy, Republicans, even now that it’s becoming more anchor than life preserver.

Entry Filed under: Judiciary,Politics,Racism,Republicans,Wankers


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