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View Diary: New Study: Race plays large role in Tea Party anger (285 comments)

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  •  race (3+ / 0-)
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    wayward, tvanel, sethyeah

    has, at least in my view, been the motivating factor for conservative anger since the beginning of the movement, and has been used by that movement to great effect.  Rove might have shifted the anger to teh gay, but the racial sentiment is obviously still there.  Hyperbolic?  For example:

    National Review, Goldwater against civil rights bill
    Nixon's southern strategy
    Reagan- welfare queen, Philadephia, MS speech
    Bush I- Willie Horton
    Jesse Helms- you needed that job, but they had to give it to a minority!
    Current- illegal Mexican invasion, birthers

    Why do they do it?  It works with their base.  Any conversation with a hardcore Republican I've ever had finds people who are far angrier at the idea that some black or "illegal" is getting some sort of free benefit then they are at Halliburton or AIG or any other million-dollar corporate welfare recipient.  In bad times, this works with your dimmer independent voters too.

    And now we have a black guy in the White House when the economy is still bad. Sadly, it's too easy for them.  Of course the health care bill is for lazy blacks who don't want to pay for health care.  Of course the stimulus is taking your hard earned tax dollars and giving it to THEM.

    Until we either deal with this problem or the old racists die off, our country is not going to make nearly the progress it needs to. Sigh.

    I judge wisely, as if nothing ever surprise me

    by mcfly on Thu Apr 08, 2010 at 02:52:24 PM PDT

    •  From the Party of Lincoln to the Party of the CSA (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mcfly, condorcet, JeffW, Tchrldy

      Once upon a time, the Republican Party was the Party of Lincoln.  The Party that freed the slaves.  The Republicans had a decent, though not perfect, record on civil rights.  Whatever their flaws, they were better than the Democrats, who had a large faction of unrepentant segregationists as part of the coalition.  Black voters were overwhelmingly Republican.

      The GOP's dominance of the black vote started to wane during the New Deal.  But then EVERYONE was voting for FDR.  This was also the time in which many Democrats started to awaken to civil rights.

      As late as 1960, the GOP could still claim to be the Party of Lincoln.  In my own small southern hometown, the local paper urged white voters to vote for Kennedy, despite his Catholic religion, in order to stop "NAACP Nixon".

      Kennedy cautiously supported civil rights, but after his death, LBJ enthusiastically supported it.  The Democrats supported civil rights!  The Civil Rights Act of 1964 passed with a bipartisan majority.

      However, one person who did not support this Act was Barry Goldwater, who was running against LBJ in the Presidential election. He would claim that he did so on "libertarian grounds", and given his support for prior civil rights legislation and his membership in the NAACP, that was probably true.  However, Goldwater's opposition to the Civil Right Act won him a lot of racist friends.  Although Goldwater got buried in the election, he won several southern states that had not voted Republican since reconstruction. Goldwater may not have been a racist himself, but he suddenly had a lot of racist friends.

      Four years later, "NAACP Nixon" saw an opportunity. Remember, this was a three-way race.  George Wallace was the candidate of the angry segregationist Democrats, while Humphrey was, well, there because RFK couldn't be.  Still, Nixon figured the key to victory was to get the Wallace voters to vote for him.  And thus the Southern strategy was born.  Nixon would turn Southern anger into Republican votes.

      Nixon's actual record on civil rights was pretty good.  His Southern strategy was mostly cynical political calculation, and a very effective one and not just in the South.  

      Ford was not one for race baiting.  11 of the 12 former Confederate states went to Jimmy Carter.

      Reagan was more unconcerned about civil rights than against it.  He let his handlers do what needed to be done. He said what needed to be said. He won two landslide elections.

      Bush, Sr. was more like Nixon than Reagan.  He had Lee Atwater as his campaign manager.  The Willie Horton ad would have made perfect sense if Horton were white, but it helped that he was black.  Still, the underlying theme, that Dukakis was running "revolving door prisons", played on well-cultivated racial themes.  Dukakis was going to let the scary, bad, dark people roam the streets, while Bush was going to lock them up and throw away the key.  

      Economic problems cost Bush, Sr. re-election.  Furthermore, Clinton was no Michael Dukakis, going out of his way to let people know that he disapproved of certain kinds of hip-hop and that he too would keep bad people locked behind bars, effectively taking these issues off the table. The Democrats won. Four years later, Bob Dole never had a chance.  

      By the time 2000 came around it was clear to anyone who was paying attention to demographics that the days of the politics of white resentment were numbered.  However, the Republican Party had built itself, especially in the South on white resentment.  John McCain proposed a new, though somewhat incoherent, direction.  New Hampshire liked it, but South Carolina Republicans forcefully shot it down.  Instead, the nomination went to George W. Bush.  Bush, Jr.'s strategy was to move away from race and onto religion as the new cultural dividing line.  Clinton's zipper problems had certainly offended many, even his supporters, and the Republicans wanted to capitalize on that, even though Clinton himself was term limited.  Imagine if all those conservative black and Latino christians were part of the Republican coalition!  His strategy wasn't great, but something beats nothing, which is all that Al Gore had.  Gore's inept campaign couldn't even win Tennessee, turning what should have been a Democratic landslide into a virtual tie, which was decided in Bush's favor.

      A year later, Bush got a bit of political help from Osama bin Laden as now his strategists could focus white resentment on a new group.  Furthermore, the Republicans got to wave the flag and talk tough, which has always worked for them in the past.  However, by now the Republican message had become farcical, with Orange Alerts!!! conveniently timed to interrupt good news for Democrats or bad news for Republicans.  

      Although he won in 2004, this strategy could not work.  A party that was rebuilt largely on white resentment cannot expand.  And there simply aren't enough Muslims to redirect this resentment towards. To defeat McCain, he had to make alliances that would doom the very strategy needed to save the GOP. The failure of immigration reform, which had the support of President Bush, all the Democrats and several prominent Republicans was the when Bush's big tent collapsed.  

      By 2008, the chickens had come home to roost and the GOP was in tatters. The economic right had been horribly, horribly, wrong about some very important things, which led to financial meltdown, and the voters were angry.  The war had been both costly and messy and flag waiving and tough talking were no longer the vote getters they once were.  Furthermore, the GOP's "guardians of morality" in Congress were increasingly getting caught with their pants down or taking bribes.  In desperation, they turned to John McCain, the only Republican who wasn't widely hated by the American people and not headed for a double-digit beating from either Democrat.

      I think McCain wanted to run his "grand unity moderate" campaign, but the party wouldn't let them.  Although McCain's voting record is quite conservative, his willingness to work with Democrats made him "impure" among a party base who had been fed nearly a half-century of us vs. them politics.  As a result, he needed a "pure" running mate to get the party behind him.  And he found her.

      Although the election was probably unwinnable for McCain after the crash, when he added Palin to the ticket, he lost control of his own campaign and it showed.  McCain wanted to reach out to moderates and needed to in order to have any hope of winning.  Palin liked to play to the mob.  As McCain's defeat became more and more likely, things got uglier and uglier.  Toward the end, we got to witness the embarrassing sight of McCain having to defend his opponent from his own supporters.

      Now, the Republican Party is the party of the angry mob.  Not all Republicans are part of the mob, but the mob controls the Republican Party.  Unlike the days of Nixon where a cynical politician manipulated resentful white voters, now resentful white voters manipulate Republican politicians.  The inmates are running the asylum on the other side of the aisle.  God help us if they get in power.

      "I am not a member of any organized political party. I am a Democrat." - Will Rogers

      by wayward on Thu Apr 08, 2010 at 05:52:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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