Can The Republicans Be The White Party And Win?

by John Holbo on June 30, 2013

Following up my Shelby post: Dave Weigel has a post, “Do Republicans Really Need Hispanic Votes? Nope!” He links to part two of a three-part analysis by Sean Trende (part 1, part 3). Trende proposes that even if Dems get 90% black, Hispanic and Asian, this is likely to depress the Dem share of the white vote to the point where Reps remain competitive for decades. He suggests that, electorally, the ‘Arizona model’ – i.e. apparently go out of your way to piss off Hispanics (he doesn’t put it that way) – is about as likely to work as the ‘Full Rubio’.

I have no opinion about Sean Trende and I don’t usually rely on “Real Clear Politics” for my wonky analysis, to say the least. But, whatever the merits or demerits of his specific deployments of data, this does strike me as noteworthy. It’s the first time I’ve seen a ‘wonky’ Republican suggest maybe extreme racial polarization should be on the table as a strategic option. It’s so obvious it would be a bad thing for the whole country that I find it dismaying.

{ 113 comments }

1

Anderson 06.30.13 at 3:30 am

The man is, ahem, whistling Dixie. GOP in-ya-face bigotry gives the Dems the non-white vote without the Dems’ having to pander to those voters so much as to alienate whites.

Republican acquaintances assume blacks vote for Dems because of gov’t handouts; they don’t grasp it’s much more voting AGAINST Repubs than voting FOR Dems.

2

Marc 06.30.13 at 3:37 am

The rest of the country isn’t as racist as the South. So it isn’t going to work nationally the way it does in Dixie.

3

Witt 06.30.13 at 4:07 am

I haven’t clicked through, but an awful lot of the analysis I’ve seen on this glides over the fact that Republicans are old. It gets a lot harder to win elections when your electorate keeps dying off.

(I actually think the Republicans will be able to peel off additional ethnic conservative groups a la Cubans in the ’80s and ’90s and remain a viable party, but it ain’t white folks alone going to keep them there.)

4

Rakesh Bhandari 06.30.13 at 4:15 am

I caution against blogging and commenting on the politics of racial polarization without having studied the most important academic work on the topic

http://www.harvardlawreview.org/issues/126/april13/forum_1005.php

I have not yet read this piece and don’t know where it stands in relation to other academic work in the field.

This is a serious topic that requires careful study.

5

Witt 06.30.13 at 4:23 am

Having now clicked through, I have to say that one thing that jumps out is the trend toward more “red” (conservative) states in the middle part of the US. I really wonder how that squares with the Census data showing that 1 in 3 US counties (1,00o out of 3,100 or so) is now “dying” (more deaths than births/in-migration). Just four years ago, it was only 1 in 4 counties.

6

Anderson 06.30.13 at 4:35 am

5: the last 11 (white) residents of Prairie State can still elect 3 of their number to Senate and House. It is remarkable that the Dems have their thin Senate majority.

7

bad Jim 06.30.13 at 6:16 am

Is there any reason to suppose that whites are becoming increasingly racist? Statistics on interracial dating and marriage would suggest otherwise.

The Republicans aren’t making themselves repugnant by their racism alone. Like the Confederates, they’re militantly Christian, which distinctly limits their appeal to the young, 30% of whom consider themselves non-religious, and to women, who their religious strictures would disadvantage. There’s no reason to expect the gender or generation gaps to decrease.

8

Glen Tomkins 06.30.13 at 6:18 am

“Trende proposes that even if Dems get 90% black, Hispanic and Asian, this is likely to depress the Dem share of the white vote to the point where Reps remain competitive for decades.”

There’s absolutely nothing new about this idea that a coalition forfeits votes in one group simply by getting more votes from another group. A lot of people vote against something at least as much as they vote for something. The application of the idea to race, and specifically that the Ds paid for gaining the black vote after the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act by losing the segregationist vote, is also a half century old.

So, sure, using racial polarization to chisel votes sure would be a dismayingly bad thing for the country. We know this because it has been a dismayingly bad thing for the country, for 50 years in its latest iteration, but for centuries earlier as Jim Crow and slavery before that.

Could it keep working for them? Sure. They’ll have to change tactics with the times, the way they will be able to exploit racism successfully will have to change as people get wise to the old ways and their consequences. But their side have been at this for a long time, and so far have always changed in time to at least stay in the game, if not dominate it for a season now and again.

Just considering the US, our side thought we had them when we wrote 1808 into the Constitution as the last year slaves could be imported into the US. Slavery as it existed then, horrible and inhumane as it was, was not so inhumane as to rely on the permanent enslavement of a whole people in perpetuity. The age-old pattern was to exploit the first, unacculturated, generation as unskilled labor, then educate the second generation to lucrative trades, since having skilled labor purchase its freedom from the owner was so much more profitable, and incidentally humane, than raising up another generation capable of only manual labor. By cutting off the supply of new, unacculturated slaves, we imagined we had found a clever way to end slavery in the US by slow degrees, since no one could imagine the slave states would be so monstrous as to change the conditions of slavery so as to doom a race to servitude until the end of time. Had the slaveholders followed Leviticus, the last slave would have been freed by 1857.

But the slavocrats sure fooled us. I expect at least equal resourcefulness and ruthlessness from their spiritual heirs. That expectation has yet to be disappointed, and I’m sure they’ll find a way to make racism work for them, the country and common humanity be damned.

9

John Quiggin 06.30.13 at 6:27 am

As I said a while ago, you really need to treat “Southern White” as an ethnicity*, providing a bloc vote to the Repubs
http://crookedtimber.org/2012/11/16/southern-white-as-an-ethnicity/

Once you do, it’s apparent that the Repubs don’t have a lock on the (non-Southern) white vote. There’s no reason to think that running against Hispanics will do them much good with this group, and their dominance of the Southern white vote is so complete that there’s not a lot of upside there.

* To restate, not all light-skinned people who live in the former Confederacy regard themselves as Southerners, and some self-identified Southerners now live elsewhere.

10

shah8 06.30.13 at 6:34 am

I wish people would be more sensibly intersectional.

First of all, how’s the performance among white women doing? Second, how are those Republicans doing among poor whites? Lastly, just how media-friendly is it to be the party of selfish old white dicks in a nation of urban dwellers (and the white people who live in those places)?

Any concerted analysis would show that the Republicans are doomed as a national party, and all their efforts at gerrymandering leaves them truly susceptible to flips in white sentiment. Gotta realize, this can and does happen in other countries, most notably South American countries.

The real danger has always been the PRI-ization of the Democratic Party, as exemplified by Rahm Emanuel.

11

bad Jim 06.30.13 at 7:14 am

Mostly likely everybody’s already seen this, but perhaps it bears repeating:

At about 800 people per square mile, people switch from voting primarily Republican to voting primarily Democratic. Put another way, below 800 people per square mile, there is a 66% chance that you voted Republican. Above 800 people per square mile, there is a 66% chance that you voted Democrat. A 66% preference is a clear, dominant majority.

12

Rakesh Bhandari 06.30.13 at 7:59 am

Quiggin writes: “it’s apparent that the Repubs don’t have a lock on the (non-Southern) white vote. There’s no reason to think that running against Hispanics will do them much good with this group, and their dominance of the Southern white vote is so complete that there’s not a lot of upside there.”

Are you sure about not having a lock? The data that you cite shows Obama clearly losing the white vote outside the South. I don’t think Romney lost the white vote in a SINGLE state. Why is this not greater cause for concern?

It seems (and I wish that we had someone with expertise here rather than references to politico.com) that the Democrats cannot win states outside the South with a majority of white votes and that are not even winning a majority of even any sub-category of white voters–not a majority of white male votes, not a majority of white female votes, not a majority of white working class votes, not a majority of high school educated whites, not a majority of college educated whites (though I would imagine that Obama did win that subgroup in some non-Southern states, but I am not sure).

I think it’s fairly shocking that Obama lost some of those sub-groups of whites to Romney in non-Southern states, and I would not jump to the conclusion that the ex-Confederacy is post-racial.

The Democrats can of course lose the white vote by a lesser or greater margin, but it seems that they depend on high minority turnout and in particular winning a substantial majority of the Latino vote.

13

Rakesh Bhandari 06.30.13 at 8:09 am

Again we need better data to evaluate the extent of racial polarization. At this point we don’t even know how the vote broke down for Romney. Did he in fact lose the white vote in any state? Maine, Iowa, for example. I don’t know. What Quiggin’s link does show is that Romney did win the white vote outside the South. I think that he did even better with whites than McCain had. Don’t have time to run down the data. I wish the topic hadn’t been broached without someone here with real expertise both on the history of racial politics in the US and recent election data.

14

Rob 06.30.13 at 8:46 am

“It’s the first time I’ve seen a ‘wonky’ Republican suggest maybe extreme racial polarization should be on the table as a strategic option”

I’m not sure that “strategic option” is the right characterization. Most of the talk on this issue has been coming from those who are predicting a long-term Republican collapse due to racial polarization in combination with demographic shifts, and all that this Trende guy is saying is that if this happens, it need not be fatal to Republican electoral performance. That doesn’t exactly make it desirable, but it does mean that the Republicans can continue voting against immigration reform without fearing the electoral consequences too much. Of course, he might be wrong (and I hope that he is, though I would also hope that it doesn’t come to that).

Where I’d disagree with the OP is in the implication that the bad thing about resisting immigration reform is that it’s racially polarizing. Advocating immigration reform is polarizing too, insofar as there’s a statistical relationship between membership of a racial group and support for that particular policy it will cause more people from that group to gravitate towards the party advocating it. If the Democrats wanted to, they could tailor a policy agenda precisely towards capturing as many ethnic minority votes as possible and that would be an extremely polarizing thing to do. In an adversarial political system it almost guarantees racial polarization! The model implied by the OP is that the Democrats advocate policies that gain support from certain minorities, the Republicans refuse to support them, therefore the Republicans are responsible for, or have in fact caused, possibly by selecting it as a strategic option, that racial polarization. This is sort-of true but it’s also sort-of useless, because it ignores the question of whether or not the policies being advocated or resisted are actually good ideas or not. For me, immigration reform is an obviously good idea and I think the Republicans should be damned for resisting an obviously good idea, rather than for resisting an idea that happens to be supported by (some, most?) people of certain ethnicities.

15

Anderson 06.30.13 at 8:48 am

Obama won the white vote in ME MA IA WA OR NH CT, i.e. states lacking large minority populations. This appears to be about par for Democrats.

The basis for the majority’s vote in Shelby County becomes that much more clear. See this in the NYT:

“The share of Hispanic voters rose in many states won by Obama. That can be attributed both to the surging Hispanic population in the country and to the Obama campaign’s incredible get-out-the-vote operation. It is less clear why the black vote held steady or grew in many of those states. In Ohio, for example, blacks jumped from being 11 percent of the voters in 2008 to 15 percent this year.”

Republicans see the “minority vote” as skewing the natural (white!) vote; GOP-controlled states can now work to “correct” that.

16

Anderson 06.30.13 at 8:54 am

See the notorious pre-election Politico article that said it was not a “broad mandate” for Obama to win as “the popular choice of Hispanics, African-Americans, single women and highly educated urban whites.”

Josh Marshall mocked this as “Obama’s winning but not with the best votes. I mean really, if you can’t win with a broad cross-section of white people, can you really be said to represent the country? Really.”

17

Rakesh Bhandari 06.30.13 at 8:56 am

That may well be true about the list of states that you give, Anderson, and there are not very populous ones.

I would still like to see the data. I doubt that even in those states did Obama win the white male vote. And it would seem that even in most non-Southern states Obama wins just around 50% of the white women vote outside the South (which would give him 46% of the white vote on the assumption that about 42% of white men voted for him outside the South) .

How would you read that? That would indicate to me that the Republican Party does indeed have a lock on the majority of the white vote even outside the South, for if Romney/Ryan did not lead to a mass defection of white women from the Republican Party, then I have a hard time imagining what would.

18

Anderson 06.30.13 at 9:12 am

Rakesh, you are probably right. Tho as noted upthread, it’s the older white vote especially that the GOP has a lock on. Some younger voters will shift right with age, but I doubt enough to maintain the present level.

(MS had only 10 % of its whites vote Obama, of whom males were surely a minority. I maybe should apply for endangered-species status ….)

19

Rakesh Bhandari 06.30.13 at 9:25 am

But I hear Oxford, MS is very nice.

Oops, above, I meant to say I am not convinced that the states outside the South (the non-ex-Confederacy) is well characterized as post-racial. I know that Tedlock and others have questioned the significance of Mahzarin Banaji’s Implicit Association Tests, but my guess is that the results would be dismaying everywhere in the country.

20

Marc 06.30.13 at 9:31 am

There is a strong age trend in partisan identification. The whites-only approach just isn’t going to work. The Republicans have also antagonized groups that they historically did well with – Asian-Americans and Muslims, for instance. And there are entire regions of the country – both coasts and a lot of the Midwest, for example – where the Republican label is incredibly toxic. The last national Republican win was in 1988.

What has happened historically is that the definition of white has been redefined to include the Other: e.g. Catholics, Eastern Europeans, Southern Europeans, and Jews. If this was expanded to include non-AA people then the math stays feasible; but the current party is so extreme and bigoted that this isn’t practical. The main question is whether the party changes attitude after a couple more decisive presidential losses.

21

Philip 06.30.13 at 9:37 am

If the Republicans stay far right on issues that matter to non-whites then the Democrats don’t need to ‘pander’ – they can maintain centrist policies that will appeal across the board and still scoop up the vast majority of non-white votes. How would this alienate whites, save for a sudden upsurge in racism? It doesn’t seem to make much sense.

22

Mao Cheng Ji 06.30.13 at 9:49 am

“Can The Republicans Be The White Party And Win?”

Depending on the economic conditions, the Republican can remain the pro-business, anti-labor, anti-tax, and anti-immigration party and win. For example, if employment model shifts more towards self-employment, independent contractors. The race composition seems coincidental.

23

soru 06.30.13 at 11:42 am

What has happened historically is that the definition of white has been redefined to include the Other

A potential winning strategy for Republicans would be to redefine white to include black. Everyone seems to assume that it’s Latinos they are going to try to include, leaving African-Americans outside as so many times before. But sometimes things that are 200 years old do die. And white and black Americans probably do share more culturally than, say, white Americans and white Europeans.

What pro-black, anti-foreigner/immigrant wedge issues could be fitted into the Republicans general rhetorical approach?

24

pedant 06.30.13 at 12:28 pm

“It’s so obvious it would be a bad thing for the whole country that I find it dismaying.”

So you find it dismaying: why is your finding it dismaying a bad thing for the whole country? Surely your sense of dismay does not have such far-reaching consequences?

I mean–I don’t think it would be a bad thing for the country at all that you find it dismaying. Go ahead! Find it dismaying! The country will suffer only mild harms at most. Who knows–maybe your sense of dismay will be a good thing for the whole country.

A fortiori, it does not strike me as *obvious* that it would be a bad thing for the whole country that you find it dismaying, much less *so* obvious. Isn’t your sense of self-importa

Oh. Never mind.

[seriously, this was the way that your sentence parsed itself the first two times I read it, sc. p = I find the Buchanan-Atwater strategy dismaying.
q= p would be a bad thing for the whole country.
r = q is so obvious.
Only on the third try would it parse itself the way you intended, sc. "[The Buchanan-Atwater strategy is so obviously a bad thing for the whole country that I find the Buchanan-Atwater strategy dismaying in virtue of its badness for the whole country.]

25

P 06.30.13 at 1:02 pm

The Republicans aren’t making themselves repugnant by their racism alone. Like the Confederates, they’re militantly Christian, which distinctly limits their appeal to the young, 30% of whom consider themselves non-religious, and to women, who their religious strictures would disadvantage. There’s no reason to expect the gender or generation gaps to decrease.

Romney won the white under-30 vote (Obama won it in 2008), indicating that Republicans do appeal to young whites, too. Women are generally more religious than men, so the idea that they in particular would be repelled by religious politics does not make sense.

What has happened historically is that the definition of white has been redefined to include the Other: e.g. Catholics, Eastern Europeans, Southern Europeans, and Jews.

Why does this ahistorical meme that some groups were initially not but later “became white” in America continue to flourish? It’s as if people didn’t know that federal agencies, courts, schools, private businesses, etc. all used to categorize people by race in America, and that all of them regarded all immigrants from Europe, including Catholics and Eastern and Southern Europeans, as white. Similarly, the racial anthropology of the day considered all Europeans to be white. Being naturalized, voting, or getting married to a white person was often only possible if you were white, but no European-descended person was ever denied any of these rights.

There were certainly ethnic and religious prejudices against different groups of whites by the WASP establishment, for example, but it’s a misuse of terminology to define those groups as non-white. Fox and Guglielmo recently wrote an excellent article on this.

26

John Holbo 06.30.13 at 1:41 pm

“Only on the third try would it parse itself the way you intended.”

I think this is confusion, Pedant. I think you were doing the parsing, not the sentence itself.

27

Hector_St_Clare 06.30.13 at 2:23 pm

Bad Jim,

1) women are more religious than men, cross culturally. Islam may be an exception, but just about all other religious groups in the US, have more women members than men. this is also the case, historically, in Europe and Latin America.

2) despite what some liberals think (for reasons that are unclear to me) women are just about as equally likely to be pro life than men. they are about 15% less likely to believe abortion should be banned, in the most recent polls I’ve seen, but that’s not a huge difference and I’m not sure it is robust over time.

3) young people are increasingly non religious, but the trend will probably bottom out st 40% non religious eventually, assuming current birth and conversion trends, and that hasn’t been coupled with change in views about abortion. abortion opinion polls are mostly at a stalemate, but young people are actually a bit more pro life than their elders, and there are demographic reasons to expect that to be the case.

I don’t disagree with your broader point, and Republicans are certainly losing young people over the gay issues.

28

pedant 06.30.13 at 3:04 pm

Yeah, well, sure: in one sense, I was doing the parsing.

But that’s not really how we experience language, is it? When things work right, we are not aware of doing any parsing at all. It’s only when things go off the rails that we have to do something consciously. Parsing is presumably a bit like breathing, in being under both unconscious control and (at other times) under conscious control.

I don’t think my claim was any more confused than saying, e.g., “at first, the picture looked like a rabbit. Then larger contextual clues ruled out its being a rabbit. Only on the third try did it look like a duck.” Yeah, it’s me to whom the appearance is appearing. But the experience is just that it looks a certain way.

29

Britta 06.30.13 at 3:06 pm

Here is some pretty good evidence that Republicans have never met anyone non-white or under 35.

Republicans have been claiming for decades that they’re going to pick up recent immigrants and non-black ethnics, however all evidence points to the contrary. Besides Cubans and maybe Soviet Jews who have historical reasons for being Republican, even socially conservative new immigrants (e.g. Koreans) are overwhelming Democratic and becoming more so. Republicans think they can court non-Muslim South Asians and East Asians as the “good minorities” while actively being hostile towards Muslims and blacks and assume South & East Asians to be flattered, rather than insulted and disgusted by their racism. Plus add in their Fundamentalist Christian Randianism and there’s really not much appealing there to anyone who’s not already an older wealthy white male.

30

Sebastian H 06.30.13 at 3:17 pm

The age consideration is huge. It will be difficult to pull off a huge long term race based political play without pissing off the young voters you need to replace the hard core racists that die off of old age.

31

LFC 06.30.13 at 3:21 pm

@ R Bandari
If you want long, wonky, expert posts on U.S. electoral politics, replete w graphs, tables, charts, and regression lines, try The Monkey Cage. It’s usually a bit too much info for my needs, one of several reasons I look at the blog only irregularly, but chacun a son gout [sorry, no accents].

32

John Holbo 06.30.13 at 3:23 pm

“But that’s not really how we experience language, is it?”

Yes, but this amounts to dragging in common sense. I took your first comment to imply that, for purposes of the present discussion, pedantry exclusive of common sense was to be our standard. If, on the other hand, you do want to drag common sense into it, we have to revisit not only my comment but your original contribution as well. For consistency’s sake.

33

LFC 06.30.13 at 3:26 pm

oops, spelling correction: Bhandari

34

pedant 06.30.13 at 3:35 pm

Ah: okay.

If we’re setting the ground-rules for the conversation as a whole, then I agree: common-sense should be off-limits.

And that said, I agree that my response to your response was bad form. You were well within your rights to parse my parsing of “it parses itself.”

To be sure, I could complain about the relative magnitudes of the infractions, but why get parsnippy? When it comes to parsing, a parasang is as good as a parsec.

35

Rakesh Bhandari 06.30.13 at 3:52 pm

Thanks for the cite to the Fox and Guglielmo piece @25. Here is an interesting claim (and the piece is complex and will take time for me to study):

“no boundary separated SEEs [South and Eastern Europeans] rom whites; SEEs were not widely recognized as nonwhite, nor was such a boundary institutionalized. In fact, where white was a meaningful category, SEEs were virtually always included within it. To be sure, a fairly bright boundary separated SEEs from northern and western Europeans (NWEs) for a time. This boundary was based on religion, national origin, citizenship status, and even intra-European racial categories. It was not, however, based on whiteness or nonwhiteness. One way to think about this is that race and color were not perfect synonyms in the first half of the 20th century: one could be considered both white (color) and racially inferior to other whites (race; T. Guglielmo 2003, pp. 8–9). Instead of a white racial boundary shifting to include SEEs, then, we argue instead that the SEE-NWE boundary blurred significantly over time. Exactly how and when this blurring took place is a subject we leave for others to discuss. The crucial point we emphasize, however, is that the SEE story suggests the remarkable stability of the white-nonwhite boundary, not, as is sometimes assumed, its fluidity.”

So if SEEs were considered to be of an inferior race but still white, then what race were they? What race were the North West Europeans in the mythology of the time? Is this analysis suggesting that an Aryan conception of race, which is distinct from race conceived simply in terms of whiteness or European origins, dissolved sometime in the 20th century? Was it an Aryan self-identity of NW Europeans that led to restrictive immigration laws against the SEE’s in the 1920 (see Desmond King, Making Americans)? So the point would be not that SEE’s came to be Aryan too but that the Aryan self-identity finally dissolved probably sometime after WWII due to the horrors done in its name.

I would recommend looking at Thomas Trautman’s Aryans and British India. In his controversial reading Sir William Jones initially understood by Aryan those peoples who could be understood to share some linguistic root. Over the course of the 19th century the intension of the term “Aryan” shifts to designate some group of those within that language group that–and here is the mythology– broke off from the rest at some point in the deep ethnological past to evolve into a special biologically distinct group.

At this point, it became possible not to consider Indians themselves Aryan. The consequence was that Indians were not allowed into the US (see the Thind case) on the grounds that their claims to Aryanness were bogus. Hitler could kill millions of “gypsies” whose roots may well be in Northern India in the name of Aryan purity.

36

Omega Centauri 06.30.13 at 3:54 pm

They’ve had a fairly effective younger voter suppression dynamic going. The more politics looks dirty and immoral, the fewer younger could be voters actually participate. We see this especially in non-presidential elections. Republicans gain by low voter turnout among the younger voters. So the tactic of continually attacking the reputations of all politicians of the other party provides two advantages, most obviously it (usually) hurts the reputation of the target. But secondly it depressing voting among the young. The older voters preferences have much greater weight, precisely because their turnout is so much higher.

We are probably close to seeing the backside of the gay marriage issue. Within a few years it will be a done deal, and its importance in determing voter preferences will recede. On this issue the Republicans can win, by having lost comprehensively.

37

Bruce Wilder 06.30.13 at 4:03 pm

The capital fact of American politics is the rise of the plutocracy and the economic domination and immiseration that implies. A classic model for reconciling people to a plutocracy was the politics of the American South, with its distinctive racial component and deep resentments and cynicism. Having a racial caste available, to be treated as untouchables, impoverished and exploited, had economic and political dimensions. It allowed a kind of political populism to flourish, and provide an escape valve for the some of the pressures from below and an alternative to the politics of aristocratic pretension, promoted by plantation owners and mine owners, who dominated society.

The politics of polarization and resentment, in our own time, lacking an economy with a use for a racial caste, will have to find different anchors, if it is to work. The new economically dispossessed are in the suburbs and ex-urbs, mourning an economy that died with cheap oil and climate change. They are disproportionately white, that is true. I think they are also reached by the sexual polarization, which is pushed by Republicans with their traditionalist, patriarchal concern with social issues, like abortion, with predictable gains in reaction for the Democrats.

I read racial polarization alongside the sexual polarization and the urban/ex-urb split, as attempts to adapt the patterns of partisan politics to plutocracy. In that context, Obama’s attempt to exploit the on-going political realignment to capture more of the the secular, urban pro-business conservatives for the Democrats, securing for the Democrats a presumptive majority against the Rump Republican Party, risks, as Shah8 says, PRI-ization. That is, a politics of permanent and thoroughly institutionalized corruption, aimed, in economic terms, of minimizing the provision of public goods: no justice, lousy infrastructure, crappy public education and social services, instituting peonization.

38

Rakesh Bhandari 06.30.13 at 4:09 pm

Again the Fox and Guglielmo piece is complex. I have not finished it, much less digested it. In terms of racial differences within the white group, I am being reminded of Reginald Horsman’s very, very interesting analysis of the mythology of Anglo-Saxonism in US history. For racial discrimination against other whites to weaken, then Anglo-Saxon and Aryan mythology had to weaken, I would suppose. On the making of Anglo Saxon and Aryan mythology, great works include those by Reginald Horsman (Race and Manifest Destiny), Thomas Trautman (Aryans and British History) and Bruce Lincoln (Theorizing Myth; he defines myth as ideology in narrative form and scholarship as myth with footnotes!).

39

Rakesh Bhandari 06.30.13 at 4:13 pm

Again Fox and Gugliemo’s historical account of the position of Mexican Americans in the US will require careful study. It would seem to me that Mexicanos with indios origins have never been treated as white while those who could claim that their family lines originate in Spain (Hispanics) have straddled the white/non-white line. Famously many activists rejected the designation Hispanic in the 60s and 70s and insisted on being called Chicano.

40

Gene O'Grady 06.30.13 at 4:13 pm

For what it’s worth when my wife’s Swedish/Norwegian family were in Texas (they got around a lot), her aunt (born about 1903 as I recall) heard from a girl in her class that there were only three white kids in the class and the rest were just Swedes.

That girl, of course, ended up as a lifelong friend.

41

Rakesh Bhandari 06.30.13 at 4:16 pm

What a touching story, Gene.

42

John Holbo 06.30.13 at 4:29 pm

“Ah: okay.”

It was a clunky sentence, just so you don’t think I’m defensive about that.

43

LFC 06.30.13 at 5:07 pm

@38
I’ve seen the Horsman bk cited a lot. Never read it.

44

Rakesh Bhandari 06.30.13 at 5:12 pm

Maybe 15 year since I read it. Horsman gives a very interesting reading of Thomas Jefferson’s mythology of Anglo-Saxonism, of the role played by racial mythology in the Mexican-American war. It’s on a bookshelf somewhere. I think it has been challenged by recent scholars in some important aspects, perhaps Elisa Tamarkin.

45

Rich Puchalsky 06.30.13 at 5:37 pm

“In that context, Obama’s attempt to exploit the on-going political realignment to capture more of the the secular, urban pro-business conservatives for the Democrats, securing for the Democrats a presumptive majority against the Rump Republican Party, risks, as Shah8 says, PRI-ization. That is, a politics of permanent and thoroughly institutionalized corruption, aimed, in economic terms, of minimizing the provision of public goods: no justice, lousy infrastructure, crappy public education and social services, instituting peonization.”

It may be worthwhile to point out that every “lesser evil” argument ends up empowering this peonization. One consequence of the GOP having to hold its racist base and being so bad is that the Democrats only have to be a little bit better. Therefore, they can let themselves be captured entirely by plutocratic interests, which is the course of least resistance in any case. Plutocratic interests are fine with e.g. gay marriage: sometimes a plutocrat or their child is gay, after all, and it costs nothing to let people get married.

So, because of the unwillingness of people on the left to do anything more than follow the lesser evil, we’re heading for a two-party state in which the parties are (rural and Southern whites plus plutocracy) and (urban whites and non-whites plus plutocracy). All of the non-plutocratic elements of society are left with non-electoral paths. But these will come to nothing, most likely, because the GOP is already the white party and has been for some time, and provides a reliable worse case to keep the left half of the plutocratic system in line.

Ideas are meaningless within this setup. Demographics will slowly lead to more and more dominance by the left plutocratic party, but at the same time, the country will break. I have no idea which of the many possible ways that will happen, but I don’t necessarily expect something dramatic. Just that, as is already happening, we’ll slide further and further down various statistical lists until we’re like Russia: a dysfunctional backwater with an aging nuclear missile fleet that makes people still take it somewhat seriously. But the real action, globally, will be going on somewhere else.

46

musical mountaineer 06.30.13 at 5:43 pm

“It’s the first time I’ve seen a ‘wonky’ Republican suggest maybe extreme racial polarization should be on the table as a strategic option. It’s so obvious it would be a bad thing for the whole country that I find it dismaying.”

Merely dismaying? I’d call it appalling. Horrifying.

Next thing you know, Republicans will accuse our first Black President of deliberately exacerbating racial tensions in the wake of the Trayvon Martin shooting, to boost Black turnout at the polls. When George Zimmerman is found Not Guilty, no doubt the Repubs will try to blame Obama for the resulting destruction and violence. Innocent people will surely be killed as a result of this cynical racial politicking. The entire White Hispanic population of the country will be in continuous danger of extermination. Worst of all, some asshole is sure to point out that Crooked Timber has done what it could to muddy the waters and amplify the hate.

The most distressing part isn’t even the sheer evil. It’s the utter incapability of rational self-examination. We truly are dealing with oblivious moral idiots.

47

Rakesh Bhandari 06.30.13 at 6:18 pm

Last for the day, but I assume that the last post was written by one of the CT blog rollers. I don’t get the point(s),

A few things. Don’t assume that most Latinos identify with, or are proud, of Zimmerman. Or can be made to identify with him by Republicans trying to win Latinos back.

Zimmerman assumed Trayvon guilty and despicable and pursued him against the direction of the police. He created a situation in which a fight broke out. Even during the fight he does not seem to have identified himself as a wannabe cop even though no weapon was pulled against him. He got his nose broken by a guy a lot smaller than him. He’s not in the right shooting a smaller guy who humiliated him. Sometimes you have to take a hard shot and not shoot someone dead.

Whether Zimmerman is guilty, he will cost the neighborhood association a lot of money in the civil suit for being a punk. I don’t see Latinos rallying behind him.

48

Hector_St_Clare 06.30.13 at 6:42 pm

Re: Obama won the white vote in ME MA IA WA OR NH CT, i.e. states lacking large minority populations

MA and CT have 75% and 71% of the population being non-Hispanic whites, which is substantially more than the country at large (63%), but they’re still not lily-white states. ME, IA etc. are more close to being lily-white (though even Iowa is something like 12% minority). Also, did you mean to include Rhode Island? their demographics are similar to MA, and Obama won the state overwhelmingly.

49

Britta 06.30.13 at 6:59 pm

35

Yes, people who debate over whether x group was considered white often miss that white wasn’t/isn’t really a salient category in terms of thinking about race/ethnicity/group identity until relatively recently. According to 19th European racial theory, pretty much everyone from Nepal to Morocco was white, excluding Turkic, Finno-Ugaric, and Basque peoples. However, if you look at how European racial discrimination played out, people who were unarguably white (Jews, Roma, Slavs, Armenians) were the victims of racialized hostility and genocide, whereas people who were considered non-white (Hungarians, Finns, Basques) were generally not. Like “Aryan,” “white” was also based on linguistic categories rather than perceived shared genetics, phenotype, or even culture. Speakers of Indo-European (Aryan), Semitic, and ‘Hamitic’ (non-Semitic NE African) language families were all Caucasian/white. Within Europe itself, people were categorized as ‘Nordic,’ ‘Alpine,’ or ‘Mediterranean,’ a classification system that mapped on rather poorly to the linguistic one. When it came to intra-European racism in the US, this latter was extremely influential, in large part due to Madison Grant. There was a huge panic about letting in “Mediterranean” peoples to the US, but no one thought they weren’t white. I agree that the phenomenon is not that people became white, but that “white” increasingly became the most important racial category in the US. This view primarily focuses on the Northern US, because it seems that in the South white/black were the most salient racial categories from a much earlier time. I haven’t done research, but I wouldn’t be surprised if immigrant panic was less marked in the South.

Gene

I’ve actually encountered this as well, where ‘white’ is a shorthand for generic whitebread American with no identifying ‘ethnic’ features, and anything identifiably ‘European’ is not white.

50

P 06.30.13 at 7:37 pm

So if SEEs were considered to be of an inferior race but still white, then what race were they?

They were white, but not Nordic. It was common to divide the white race into subcategories like Nordic, Alpine, and Mediterranean.

51

John Quiggin 06.30.13 at 7:52 pm

They are already getting 80-90 in Southern states, which implies close to 100 per cent among self-identified Southern whites, the group most receptive to the kind of appeal proposed here.

Assuming that a third of the white population is Southern (not all physically located in the South), and that Romney won the total white vote 60-40, the non-Southern white vote must have been split fairly evenly.

Trende’s analysis requires that the Repubs get a 65-35 majority among whites, an increase of 5 percentage points in the R vote. But that implies a required gain of 7.5 percentage points among n0n-Southern whites, which is huge, and unlikely to be helped much by racist appeals.

The problem is worse when you disaggregate by age as well as Southern-Northern. Romney won narrowly among young whites, but that implies a loss among non-Southern young whites.

Here is a set of estimates by state
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/11/10/1159759/-Percent-of-White-vote-won-by-Obama-2012-by-state

which broadly supports this, in my view.

52

Rakesh Bhandari 06.30.13 at 8:25 pm

Based on exit poll data, Jon Wiener has Obama losing whites in NY. His numbers differ from what are estimates at the Daily Kos site (hopefully not Excel errors there either). Plus, young non-Southern whites voting for Obama may become more conservative as they get older. Recent electoral results show that the Republicans got white majorities in all but a few non-populous states, and it’s no more reasonable to assume that their hold will weaken than it will strengthen. After all, Romney did better with whites than McCain did; and I can’t see the Republicans again alienating as many white women. The attempt to confine the salience of racial identity and problems of discrimination to the South is not well-grounded in the evidence as it has so far been presented.

From the Nation:

The Bad News About White People: Romney Won the White Vote Almost Everywhere
Jon Wiener on November 7, 2012 – 1:41 PM ET

If only white people had voted on Tuesday, Mitt Romney would have carried every state except for Massachusetts, Iowa, Connecticut and New Hampshire, according to the news media’s exit polls. Nationally, Romney won 59 percent of the white vote, a towering twenty-point margin over Obama. (Exit polls were canceled in nineteen states by the consortium of news media that run them.)

The pattern is not limited to the South, with its history of racism and segregation. Even in the deepest blue states, white voters went for Romney: 53 percent in California, 52 percent in New York, 55 percent in Pennsylvania.

Liberals hoped that whites who opposed Obama in 2008 would learn toleration and acceptance of racial difference after four years with a black president in the White House. But what happened was the opposite: Romney won 4 percent more of the white vote in 2012 than John McCain won in 2008.
Read more: The Bad News About White People: Romney Won the White Vote Almost Everywhere | The Nation http://www.thenation.com/blog/171093/bad-news-about-white-people-romney-won-white-vote-almost-everywhere#ixzz2XjUtiH8o
Follow us: @thenation on Twitter | TheNationMagazine on Facebook

53

musical mountaineer 06.30.13 at 8:44 pm

“Don’t assume that most Latinos identify with, or are proud, of Zimmerman. Or can be made to identify with him by Republicans trying to win Latinos back.”

You’re weird. I don’t care about these things. Someone earlier on this thread said the Republicans are doomed as a national party, and I agree, and the sooner the better.

Now, I’ll type this real slow: JH says Republicans are developing an electoral strategy that…er…does not include outreach to minorities. Maybe the Repubs have despaired of breaking the Democrat strangle-lock on minority votes. Maybe they’re a just bunch of racists who have decided they’re not interested in representing Blacks or Hispanics, and they expect enough whites to go along with that. And that’s “dismaying” because it’s the “first time” that “extreme racial polarization” has been considered as a legitimate political tactic. Which is, of course, “bad for the country”.

My point is, it’s worse than dismaying, it’s far from the first time, and Democrats are by far the worst offenders, with perhaps their most notable atrocity playing out in the news right now. After decades of success using extreme racial polarization as a main strategy, the Democrat party is institutionally, nay, structurally dependent on race hate for its electoral survival. They’ll prevent racial reconciliation at all costs. Democrats and the Mass Media (BIRM) have consistently striven to keep Blacks immiserated, powerless, ignorant and angry. The present administration has taken all this to a new, violent level. Obama’s policies have been devastating to Blacks, and his racially-charged rhetoric has been devastating to race relations. After six years of a Black Democrat President, racial tension is the worst it’s been in my lifetime. And Crooked Timber, to the limited extent possible, has helped this along. When, inevitably, George Zimmerman walks free*, there’s going to be blood in the streets. Some of you deserve some of the blame for that.

Dismaying, indeed.

* If you’d like to know what the witnesses are saying in George Zimmerman’s murder trial, you can read Andrew Branca’s series of posts at legalinsurrection.com. Much of what you think you know is mistaken. Based on the testimony of prosecution witnesses (we haven’t even heard from defense witnesses yet), it seems most likely that Martin attacked without provocation, and the “creepy-ass cracka”, who had no chance to retreat, would be dead today if he hadn’t had a gun. Evidence which has been made public but not yet introduced in Court, shows that Martin was an advanced street fighter with a nasty mean streak. In his own self-characterization, he was the worst kind of gun nut, a racist, a “no-limit nigga”, a “gangsta”, and he liked to beat people up and see them bleed. He sure as fuck wasn’t afraid of the out-of-shape, tub-of-lard Zimmerman. Who, by the way, will never have a life again, guilty or not.

So, you know, it’s kind of bad for the country when you jump in with no facts and say that Trayvon’s killing was a cold-blooded, racially-motivated “quasi state-sanctioned execution” as Belle Waring put it in these pages. In fact that kind of talk is pretty much guaranteed to result in violent reprisals against whites, which we may expect in the near future. Thanks, guys!

54

Ronan(rf) 06.30.13 at 8:45 pm

“The Monkey Cage. It’s usually a bit too much info for my needs, one of several reasons..”

Yeah it can be a bit much. Like wistfully remembering a first love and then having someone repetitively pick apart your memory of it using complex modelling techniques and advanced statistical analysis

55

hix 06.30.13 at 8:51 pm

Living in the far south, ruled by the same ethno-cultural structural majority party since over 60 years, i have to say, no it is not obvious how this is so bad.

Live is good in Bavaria. Nope, dont see how this has to be bad. Republicans have to move to the left in this scenario, otherwise they cannot catch the entire lower class white vote, so its the rich who are out of better options in this scenario. Cant possibly get any worse anyway.

56

LFC 06.30.13 at 9:45 pm

Ronan:

Like wistfully remembering a first love and then having someone repetitively pick apart your memory of it using complex modelling techniques and advanced statistical analysis.

This is such a good line that I think you should e-mail it to John Sides immediately. (With a cc to A. Gelman, of course.) To be fair, not *everyone* at The Monkey Cage shares Sides’s penchant for ‘value-free’, neopositivist social science; still, what a great line!

57

Marc 06.30.13 at 9:49 pm

@52: Obama won. You seem determined to minimize all of the evidence that goes against what you want to think is so. Why? The thesis being debated is that the Republicans can somehow gain a larger share of the white vote in the face of antagonizing all minority groups and against strong demographic trends in the majority. A different Republican party might be able to do something, but they will need to change.

If you want an actual republican, and a window into the thinking that animates the party, the racial resentment in musical mountaneers’ posts is a useful tonic. This stone-cold racism and projection is who they are. It’s why the Democrats = Republicans crap is a lie. And it’s useful to have the hate in front of us to remind us of that.

58

musical mountaineer 06.30.13 at 10:26 pm

“racial resentment in musical mountaneers’ posts”

-1 for reading comprehension
-1 for spelling

59

Marc 06.30.13 at 10:58 pm

@58: You’re living in a paranoid fantasy world. A black kid gets killed, and the real problem is that people got angry about it and that blacks will slaughter whites on the street in retaliation.

Please proceed, however. It is instructive for people here to see what the US contemporary right actually is.

60

musical mountaineer 07.01.13 at 12:11 am

“It is instructive for people here to see what the US contemporary right actually is.”

No, it’s not. You are not instructed. You do not see.

“A black kid gets killed”

Look, if it had been as Belle Waring said in the first place, I would be on your side of the argument. If Trayvon Martin had been screaming for help, begging for mercy on his knees as George Zimmerman mercilessly and cruelly ended his life, well, you couldn’t find one percent of one percent who would want anything other than that George Zimmerman should be raped to death in jail.

But to all appearances, what really happened is that Trayvon Martin did his level best to kill George Zimmerman, for no reason whatsoever. And Trayvon Martin’s level best was plenty good enough to get the job done, except that George Zimmerman, who was on his back getting his face pounded in, screaming for help and begging for mercy, happened to have a gun.

When this story first broke, conservative commentators reserved their opinions. Zimmerman was a neighborhood watch guy, which can kind of cut both ways. He might have been a civic-minded individual who was tired of petty crime in his neighborhood (and if you don’t have petty crime in your neighborhood, God Bless You, but you don’t understand how exhausting and deeply traumatic petty crime can be). He might also have been a wannabe cop, a psychopath with violent fantasies and a deep need to manipulate, dominate and control others. Conservatives didn’t know for sure at first, so they shut the fuck up, which is exactly the right thing to do in a case like this, until the dust settles and you get some facts.

President Obama and Belle Waring were, by comparison, incontinent in their rush to judgment. “A black kid gets killed” was all they needed to know. And it turns out they were almost certainly wrong about what really happened. But in the meantime, with help from the Mayjer Meeja, they made Common Knowledge out of their wrongness. At this point, they ought to apologize. But they won’t, because having Trayvon Martin as a martyr is politically valuable, whereas fostering understanding and mutual trust is worthless in their view. And if George Zimmerman goes to hell on earth as a result, hey whatever, he’s just a White Hispanic, and there’s only one of those.

Now, I happen to believe that Black Americans have made some unique contributions to American culture, from which I personally have benefited tremendously. I also would say that Black Americans have some legitimate grievances, which do not stop with the end of slavery and which continue to the present day. But I’m not quite ready to grant Black Americans a license to murder me. And this is basically what you all are arguing for. You’re saying the facts in the Zimmerman case don’t matter; Trayvon Martin had an inborn right to murder George Zimmerman, and self-defense under those circumstances is murder in its own right.

I call bullshit. Black and White are both human, both the same in moral importance and moral responsibility. Murder is murder; self-defense is self-defense. Yeah, I know. Setting Blacks and Whites on the same moral level is racist. Fine, I’m a racist. At least I’m not the kind of racist who thinks Blacks are too stupid to be able to vote if they have to show ID.

In other news, the largest political protest in the history of humanity happened today. It took a lot of courage to show up, but literally millions joined the marches. The participants were not white. They were protesting President Obama, among other things. So at least I’ve got them on my side.

Keep speaking Power to Truth, fuckers.

61

musical mountaineer 07.01.13 at 12:13 am

I would like to repeat the Belle Waring was incontinent. Very incontinent. Really just grossly, splatteringly incontinent.

Thank you.

62

Marc 07.01.13 at 12:38 am

And I’d like to repeat that your fantasy world bears no relationship to reality. A vigilante stalked an unarmed kid and killed him. Absent the stalking there is no murder. This is not “Martin did his level best to kill someone for no reason.” Martin did not chase an innocent down.

I know that on the right in the US the biggest crime is to call racist behavior what it is. Too bad. The character assassination of the dead is racist. The assumption that blacks as a group will seek racially motivated retribution is racist. And you are a racist.

63

musical mountaineer 07.01.13 at 12:57 am

Everyone here thanks you for your comment, Marc. I like it because it’s like watching Dumb and Dumber. Others like it because it means they don’t have to read my comment.

Win-win!

64

Witt 07.01.13 at 1:33 am

In case 60 might lead anyone astray:

Rape: still not a punishment.
Rape: still not a hoped-for outcome when an offender is imprisoned.
Rape: still not a punchline or a rhetoric enhancer.

Thought it was worth clarifying. Anyone who wants more on the trauma, emotional health, and prison, I’d point you to the excellent James Gilligan, starting with his book Violence.

65

pedant 07.01.13 at 2:16 am

Well, Witt, that’s just part and parcel of musical mountaineer’s performative explication of the term “creepy-ass cracker.” Some people weren’t sure what it meant, so he dropped by to act it out.

66

David 07.01.13 at 2:20 am

Wow! Musical Mountaineer is back with a vengeance. Still giving trolls everywhere a bad reputation.

67

musical mountaineer 07.01.13 at 2:21 am

“Rape”

Okay, here’s something we agree on. There are way too many people in prison in this country. Way too many of them get raped and otherwise severely harmed, without recourse. In many cases, their plight is monstrously unjust.

But if Zimmerman goes to jail and lands in gen-pop, he most certainly will be raped and killed. However you think things ought to be in the criminal justice system, in the real world that’s the stakes Zimmerman is playing for. For my part, if Zimmerman really was the cold-blooded, racially motivated killer you’ve all decided he is, I wouldn’t much care. I’d still prefer to see the system fixed, but not for Zimmerman’s sake so much as for the sake of institutional integrity and justice in general.

As it is, I very much doubt he even remotely deserves it. If you’re categorically opposed to prison rape (which is reasonable), maybe you ought to be more circumspect before condemning someone to that fate.

68

musical mountaineer 07.01.13 at 2:33 am

Okay, so, to sum up so you can get back to your discussion: extreme racial polarization as a political tactic in America is nothing new, it’s awfully effective, it’s pretty much exclusively used by Democrats, it’s vastly harmful to the country, yadda yadda.

The original question was, will extreme racial polarization work for Republicans? I think this question is moot, and uninteresting even if it wasn’t moot, and whether it’s interesting or not the answer is no. So that’s my contribution. I’d be better behaved, except you guys never talk about what I want to talk about, like the fact that 17 million demonstrators braved live fire to come out against President Obama in Egypt today.

Whatever. As you were.

69

John Holbo 07.01.13 at 3:05 am

Well good morning everyone. Musical mountaineer has had his say and I hereby announce that further trolling along these lines will be deleted.

70

Rakesh Bhandari 07.01.13 at 3:15 am

If Republicans split the white vote outside the South–and Quiggin’s calculation seems right– that seems to have resulted from their losing the white vote in a few non-Southern states almost as decisively as they won a lot of Southern states; in the end, however, the Republicans actually won the white vote in the vast majority of states outside of the South!

The Republicans seem to have won the white vote in CA, NY and PA, though we have conflicting estimates of what happened in NY. Perhaps the Republicans lose that hold on whites due to generational change, or perhaps they shore up their white advantage by not antagonizing as many as white women over reproductive rights and equal pay while they find a way of keeping the right-wing evangelical vote. The strategy could be to tag the Democrats with supporting abortion into the second trimester or something like that. All the Republicans may have to do is commit to fighting something like that without necessarily promising to oppose abortions after a rape that resulted in pregnancy.

If the Republicans can do this, while the Courts make minority voting more difficult and the next Presidential candidate does not inspire the minority vote in the same way that Obama has, the Republicans could win a lot of elections in states all over the Union on the basis of winning white majorities. That Romney did so well after a disastrous campaign–he won bigger white majorities than McCain–suggests that the future of the white vote outside the South is still uncertain.

The evidence does not give us an unambiguous picture of Republicans losing their majority of whites everywhere but the ex-Confederacy.

Romney tried to clean up after the election by targeting minorities for his loss in some incredibly spiteful and overtly racialist statements, lest anyone think his contempt for the 47% implied that the Republican leadership thinks badly of poorer whites. Without another error like that 47% comment, the Republicans should do better with whites next time.

I certainly agree that we can end up taking about race and forgetting class. But in the US anti-poor sentiment is tied up with anti-black sentiment, and anti-black sentiment is strengthened by anti-poor sentiment. It’s not easy to disentangle the prejudices in fact. They are both stronger than they would individually be due to their powerful interactive effects.

71

John Quiggin 07.01.13 at 3:28 am

Conversely, I think Obama’s performance on the economy did him much more damage than the standard models suggest. After getting a limited stimulus through in 2009 he dropped the ball on the issue and handed it to the Repubs. And, while measures like GDP show some recovery, the variable most relevant to voters is the employment-population ratio, which hasn’t recovered at all.

So, if the Repubs were at all electable, Obama should have been crushed. (Conversely, if had run hard on the economy, and against Bush, from the moment he took office, he could have swept the board, maybe even in the South)

Clinton, or whoever runs for the Dems in 2016 won’t have such a problem with economics. The economy should have picked up a bit, or else the drop in employment will be the new normal.

BTW Rakesh, I agree with what you say about race and class.

72

Rakesh Bhandari 07.01.13 at 3:40 am

The Republicans were electable but for the incompetence of Romney. They were done in by the Carter videotape, misogynists whom they will learn to keep in the closet and Romney’s opposing the auto bailout. If the next Republican does not make such mistakes and can discipline the fringe, they could be back on the basis of bigger white majorities. More poor whites, more white women and the same percentage of white men. Of course that alone would probably not do it–voting has to become more difficult in a targeted way and the next Democrat can’t be as successful in turning out the minority vote.

73

Meredith 07.01.13 at 4:16 am

The many ways to slice and dice argued here persuade me that nothing is already written. It is up to us — each and all — to make things happen right. And think local, from school board to state legislature. (Charlie Pierce is eloquent on the local/state groundwork, which progressives have been mostly lazy about.)

For what it’s worth, in canvassing for Elizabeth Warren in western MA last fall (and for Markey a week or two ago — really, that recently? feels ages longer), my husband and I were both struck by the nice (truly — really nice!) Polish and French and Italian older women (add the hyphenated American). Their retired husbands usually very pro-Dem because they were strong unionists (ah, those were the days). But the wives: quiet, good Catholic housewives, and boy did they support Warren (birth control, even abortion — rock-bottom feminism, folks!). These women knew better than many younger women what was at stake, but the younger women (and men) will catch up if the Repubs keep at their current game.

It is not already written, people! Get out and work! Think Wendy Davis!

74

Maneki Nekko 07.01.13 at 4:47 am

“I haven’t done research, but I wouldn’t be surprised if immigrant panic was less marked in the South.”

Sorry but no, Britta. Recall that the Ku Klux Klan was not just anti-black, but anti-Catholic, anti-Jew, and anti-immigrant.

And if you look at US cities outside the former Confederacy, you’ll notice that almost all of them were populated by Irish, Jewish, Italian, German, and other immigrant groups during the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Inside Dixie? Not so much. Only New Orleans, a major port of entry, grudgingly allowed immigrants to settle in large numbers. And any true Southerner will tell you not New Orleans isn’t “really” a Southern city at all.

75

Britta 07.01.13 at 4:55 am

Rakesh,

I really don’t see the Republicans reining in their misogyny. Besides the few rape comments, Republicans don’t understand why defunding Planned Parenthood, restricting access to affordable contraception, or requiring women to carry unviable or even already dead fetuses to term is unappealing to women. On top of this is their opposition to the Lily Ledbetter act, and I don’t see any sign of growing awareness on this either. After the last election, they chalked up their loss of younger white women as due to them being sluts with Jungle Fever (check out NRO right after the election), so if anything it shows them heading in the opposite direction. This is on top of all the other reasons why someone wouldn’t support Republicans, such as their opposition to a stimulus, job creation, and affordable healthcare.

76

js. 07.01.13 at 5:03 am

[P]erhaps [Republicans] shore up their white advantage by not antagonizing as many as white women over reproductive rights and equal pay while they find a way of keeping the right-wing evangelical vote.

While I’m hardly one to think that the Republican party is in terminal decline, this seems highly optimistic, at least in the short term, say 2 4-year election cycles. For a whole lot of big-time Republicans, being resolutely misogynistic doesn’t seem so much like a side concern or a rhetorical move that might be dropped but like a core principle. (So that, e.g., even the most prominent members of the “libertarian” wing of the party are resolutely anti-reproductive rights—see Paul fils most obviously.) It’s going to be somewhere between extraordinarily difficult and downright impossible to closet this.

This, on the other hand,

But in the US anti-poor sentiment is tied up with anti-black sentiment, and anti-black sentiment is strengthened by anti-poor sentiment. It’s not easy to disentangle the prejudices in fact. They are both stronger than they would individually be due to their powerful interactive effects.

bears repeating a thousand times.

77

js. 07.01.13 at 5:06 am

Posted my last before I say Britta’s 75—which is exactly right, I think.

78

Lee A. Arnold 07.01.13 at 5:24 am

Swing voters still decide most elections and racial polarization definitely does not appeal to them. They prefer peace, comity, and compromise. The likely reasons Romney picked up white voters over Obama were the bad economy (as John Q. writes at #71) + the imagined socialist evils of Obamacare. (However, on economic issues, swing voters carry no particular brief in favor of the rich, either. So increases in top marginal rates can be on the table, and probably will be in the future. The fact that they now are not, is a reflection of the fact that most Senators of both parties are intellectually corrupt multi-millionaires.) I don’t know where swing voters sit on immigration reform so it may not be a total political disaster for the House Republicans to fail to pass an immigration reform bill at this moment. It may not matter anyway. Republicans are already in an historical cul de sac, and there may be no way out. Capitalism is causing more inequality and a greater need for the welfare state, and the GOP has taken untenable positions on this issue.

79

Rakesh Bhandari 07.01.13 at 5:38 am

OK many Republicans push horrible anti-woman policies,as Britta and JS say, but still the Republicans won something like 50% of the white women vote outside of the South! And they could well improve on that number if Limbaugh can restrain himself from calling anyone a slut soon before an election and the fringe can keep to itself its biological theories about the reproduction system after rape in the same way that it keeps to itself its concerns about the Elders of Zion (who may be believed to have played some role in manufacturing that birth certificate given the way their derivative bets pay off iff there is a Muslim socialist in office).

80

bad Jim 07.01.13 at 6:46 am

Mano Singham points us to a study issued by the College Republican National Committee analyzing the enormous population gap demonstrated in the 2008 and 2012 elections:

While Obama’s advantage among young people shrank from 34
points in the 2008 election to 23 points in 2012, the election reinforced the
generational challenge faced by the GOP.

Yet they maintain that the youth vote is winnable, noting:

In the first election where 18-year-olds were eligible to vote, some
52% of voters under age 30 cast their ballots for Richard Nixon. Prior to Obama,
it was Ronald Reagan who held the record for winning the highest proportion of
young voters at 59% in 1984. Indeed, in the 2000 election, George W. Bush only
lost young voters by 2 points, while at the same time losing senior citizens (aged
65 and older) by 4 points.

The study is remarkably obtuse; in my brief perusal I found no mention of race, and sexual issues were discussed only in terms of making the conservation position palatable.

The 2010 and 2012 election campaigns have presented a Republican party becoming increasingly extremist, and there’s no evidence to suggest a change in trend. The main business of the House of Representatives has become the repetitive passing of futile anti-abortion bills, an ongoing orgy of fruitless self-gratification (not that there’s anything wrong with that). The best bet is that they’ll be even more sexist and racist the next time around.

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Britta 07.01.13 at 7:49 am

I think a large part of the problem is that Republicans assume their policy positions would very popular if their words weren’t twisted by the PC-Nazi Liberal-Islamofascist media. As js noted, they think it’s a marketing or PR problem, not a substantive problem with their positions. As long as they keep assuming that this is their problem, they are going to keep alienating women, young people, and minorities.

Also, while white women broke for Romney, single white women voted for Obama 2:1, and made up 18% of the electorate. Since marriage among heterosexuals is rapidly on the decline, inability to pick to pick up the unmarried female vote will be a growing problem in the future.

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Britta 07.01.13 at 8:43 am

While the Western hemisphere is asleep, let me continue to monopolize the conversation. A big problem is the a large proportion of Republicans believe on some level that black people and women are fundamentally inferior to white men, even if they wouldn’t express explicitly it in such terms. As such, they have no respect for and also undervalue the intelligence of both groups. The lack of respect means that when women and black people fail to assume their God-given social roles as gratefully subservient, Republicans freely unveil their contempt. For example, single women in total make up 23% of the electorate, yet Republicans felt free to heap insults on this demographic by calling them stupid wanton sluts when it became clear they opposed Republican policies. (Limbaugh wasn’t the only one, and no prominent Republican came forward to denounce the sexism behind that position.) Since women and black people are supposed to be subservient, the assumption is these voters need to be chastised and insulted until they fall back in line, rather than attracted or courted as potential voters. The underestimation of intelligence means that Republicans assume that their contempt is not blatantly obvious to the groups in question. A key example is voting disenfranchisement and Republican voting projections, where Republicans made very little attempt to disguise their opinion that they would win because blacks and young people were too lazy to vote and would be deterred or outsmarted by obvious disenfranchisement methods. It never appeared to cross their minds that black people and young people could and would pay attention to these claims and would actively oppose disenfranchisement and voter apathy. If you read Republican media, there is no idea that black people, young people, immigrants, and women might be part of the audience. Rather, they are always brought up as the recalcitrant other in a framework of “what are we going to do about The Blacks?” etc. A favorite recent example of blatant condescension, this time towards young people, is Republicans’ attempt to attract Millennials through “humorous” tweets and “internet memes,” since young people can’t understand complex issues.

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Mao Cheng Ji 07.01.13 at 10:33 am

“even the most prominent members of the “libertarian” wing of the party are resolutely anti-reproductive rights … It’s going to be somewhere between extraordinarily difficult and downright impossible to closet this”

But why would they want to closet it; this is just a matter of framing, like most of these culture-war things. They are ” resolutely anti-reproductive rights” and you are resolutely anti-”rights of the unborn children”. When you frame it your way, it feels like the opponents must be at a disadvantage, but it works both ways. And that’s the whole point. Politicians don’t really care about abortions.

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Katherine 07.01.13 at 10:42 am

And they could well improve on that number if Limbaugh can restrain himself from calling anyone a slut soon before an election and the fringe can keep to itself its biological theories about the reproduction system after rape

I agree with Britta entirely. There’s no evidence that the Republicans will be able to restrain themselves or keep their biologicaly “theories” to themselves – quite the opposite. Now the woman-hating horse has been let out, it has bolted and bolted good. Attempts by the less rabid wonan-haters to close the stable door are too little too late.

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Christiaan 07.01.13 at 11:50 am

Rakesh, the incompetence of Romney was a direct result of the extremism of the Republicans. So these things are not independent. A Republican candidate could not appeal to a (much) larger share of the non-Southern white, end certainly not minorities, for the simple reason that such appeal would not allow him to get into the general election in the first place. Appealing more to their core Southern-white voters and against minorities only makes this problem worse.

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Witt 07.01.13 at 12:13 pm

The Republicans seem to have won the white vote in CA, NY and PA, though we have conflicting estimates of what happened in NY. Perhaps the Republicans lose that hold on whites due to generational change….

Ding ding ding. We have a winner (for Pennsylvania at least). The latest Census/American Community Survey numbers are:

White (non-Hispanic) – 39% over 50 years old, median age 42.7 years
Black (non-Hispanic) – 25% over 50 years old, median age 30.8 years
Asian (non-Hispanic) – 21% over 50 years old, median age 30.6 years
Hispanic (white or black only) – 14% over 50 years old, median age about 25

The numbers are probably slightly more extreme than this, because the numbers I looked at included people who checked white as their only race *as well as* those who checked white and some other race.

And I didn’t bother running the Other/Alaskan Native/Hawaiian categories, because in PA they’re tiny. And the Asian Hispanics are similarly tiny (a few thousand Filipinos, mostly).

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Trader Joe 07.01.13 at 12:47 pm

Despite all the misogeny, racism and other deficiencies the Republicans have still managed to win a clear plurality of governorships (39 I think) and a similar number of state houses – this doesn’t suggest a party that’s on the verge of becoming obsolete despite its abundant deficiencies.

While gerrymandering and other factors are likely to be a part of the story, its likewise possible that there is still a sizeable swing vote in many states that are prepared to vote for candidates that are individually appealing regarless of the related party politics. Or maybe said differently, state by state party mobilization and blocs are apparently weaker than national blocs.

Virginia is a good example of a state that has swung back and forth between Democrat an Republican governors and not always in-line with national trends despite swinging decidedly Democrat in each of the last two general elections. Their two senators are democrat, yet they also elect Eric Cantor in the House (in a hugely safe seat).

On a national level the Republicans are in clear disarray and it is on this level that the deficiencies are most evident. The fact that an article about completely ignoring the Latino vote can even be contemplated as a strategy is evidence of the rot within the national party thinking.

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jonnybutter 07.01.13 at 12:59 pm

Rakesh, the incompetence of Romney was a direct result of the extremism of the Republicans.

I would say The Romney Incompetence was real but is a separate issue from Republican extremism and incompetence. The latter are illustrated by the fact that Romney was the GOP’s *strongest* candidate (I guess because that dreamy Jeb Bush was not available). It’s Republican overall incompetence to have to run the quintessential jerk boss during a depression. But he was their best. I think the GOP really is in a bind at the moment and it’s just going to get worse. But they have an ace in the hole..

I’m in sympathy with what Rich P said @45. The enablers of our political dysfunction are the Dems. They ensure that movement conservatism lives on – and on and on and on – past its natural due date. If the dems were anything more than even very vaguely ideologically coherent (as the GOP is quite coherent, for an US party), it might be a different story, but…no. The GOP still defines both parties, and still sets the terms of debate. Republicans use canine-level psychology, and it works like a charm. viz My dog knows that if I let him walk in front of me on the leash, I am letting *him* lead *me*, letting him run the show. I can only react.

There is a persistant (*not* transient) ‘enthusiasm gap’ , and it’s not because of policy, but in spite of it. Lots of people might vote for dems, except that they (sanely) find the dems to be contemptible. To paraphrase the great William Jefferson Clinton, people will choose crazy and dangerous over contemptible.

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L 07.01.13 at 1:28 pm

These things seem very obvious:

They can be the racist white party where that works for them and win enough districts to stop bills in Congress they don’t like.

Gerrymandering and vote suppression will be very helpful in some places.

Republicans can be the white party and still field charismatic, seemingly moderate candidates exactly as they do now. People will vote for the candidate and forget about the party.

Demographics are shifting but not extremely fast so whites will still vote for them and–this is where I am wondering why there is the assumption things have changed so much–whites are not going to base their votes on eschewing racism. When have they ever done that?

They’ve worked this strategy for 50 years. I don’t see things changing fast enough for any worries to arise about the strategy. There are questions about what else they’ve got to offer. In the places where racism doesn’t work, a smart Republican candidate will offer the moderate Centrist Lite deal. As puzzling as it is to some, even some people who considered themselves well-informed (but who were missing some key facts) honestly could not tell the difference between Bush and Gore in 2000. Why think this won’t happen again?

I wouldn’t put it exactly like johnnybutter puts it but I think the Dems make the bushwacking strategy very easy by running away from anything that looks too liberal, thus becoming less distinctive. I think Obama’s victory was due to the few things he did that didn’t follow this model but the Dems are so wedded to this model that we can’t expect this to happen every time.

John Quiggin said: “There’s no reason to think that running against Hispanics will do them much good with this group” I don’t think you are right. In the Southwest and the South this works extremely well if you run against Mexicans and Central Americans. No one runs against Cubans.

I see no reason to think this strategy of Centrist Lite where necessary and racist dog whistle where possible won’t work like it has for many more years to come.

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Barry 07.01.13 at 1:40 pm

Sebastian H 06.30.13 at 3:17 pm

” The age consideration is huge. It will be difficult to pull off a huge long term race based political play without pissing off the young voters you need to replace the hard core racists that die off of old age.”

And not piss off the hard core older racists. One of the things which struck me about the anti-Hispanic backlash from 2008 – ?? in the GOP is that it seems to be a genuine successful revolt of the Base against the elites. The elites were happy to include Hispanics in the GOP; the Base told them to stick it where the sun didn’t shine, and seem to have actually succeeded.

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Barry 07.01.13 at 1:41 pm

Rakesh: ” That Romney did so well after a disastrous campaign–he won bigger white majorities than McCain–suggests that the future of the white vote outside the South is still uncertain. “

Somebody compared Romney’s performance to GOP Senate candidates; Romney did better.

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Uncle Kvetch 07.01.13 at 1:49 pm

I would say The Romney Incompetence was real but is a separate issue from Republican extremism and incompetence.

I’m not sure I agree with this. Republican extremism meant that Romney had to run against his own record as governor of Massachusetts, instead of on it. Having to maintain with a straight face that RomneyCare was a singular achievement of his term in MA but would be a disaster for the country certainly didn’t make him look competent.

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jonnybutter 07.01.13 at 1:56 pm

Republican extremism meant that Romney had to run against his own record as governor of Massachusetts, instead of on it.

True. But Romney was politically incompetent on top of being in a bad postion. Probably doesn’t matter that much, just entertaining.

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Billikin 07.01.13 at 1:56 pm

What’s the premise? We are all Southerners now? {sigh}

We may not be in post-racist Nirvana, but everywhere I have looked, racial relations have improved over the last 20 years. I doubt making the Republican Party a White Supremacist movement will help it.

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Uncle Kvetch 07.01.13 at 2:15 pm

But Romney was politically incompetent on top of being in a bad postion.

Oh, absolutely…I didn’t mean to imply an either/or.

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Omega Centauri 07.01.13 at 2:22 pm

I think part of the reason for jonnybutter’s contemptible behavior of democrats is that they are compromised by the incompatible needs of (A) appearing to be the champion of the little people, while (B) having to chase wealthy corporate funders. This pretty much forces them into incompatible positions.

I find it remarkable that no one was mentioned environment here. I know this discussion is about race, but it is amazing how hostile house Republicans are to anything remotely good for the environment. This strikes me as even more outrageous than their racial and sexual positions.

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MPAVictoria 07.01.13 at 7:16 pm

“I find it remarkable that no one was mentioned environment here. I know this discussion is about race, but it is amazing how hostile house Republicans are to anything remotely good for the environment. This strikes me as even more outrageous than their racial and sexual positions.”

Indeed. Even right-wing assholes have to breathe!

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AcademicLurker 07.01.13 at 7:38 pm

Even right-wing assholes have to breathe!

But if the choice is between breathing or pissing off the hippies, they’ll go with pissing off the hippies ever time.

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Anderson 07.01.13 at 7:41 pm

Half those wingnuts think the Rapture is going to come in their lifetimes anyway. Followed by the Tribulation. Drowned hippie pagans = feature, not bug.

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Ronan(rf) 07.01.13 at 9:03 pm

Thanks LFC ; )

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Ronan(rf) 07.01.13 at 9:04 pm

That was meant to be a smile instead if a wink, but I think the wink looks better..a little bit saucy though

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Mary McCurnin 07.01.13 at 9:11 pm

Only if the Republicans continue to cheat.

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tib 07.02.13 at 8:42 pm

More power to Trende, I hope he wins the Republican establishment’s ear and that it works out as well as his 2012 analysis did.

The reality is that the Republicans probably reached their ceiling with white men in 2012 (62%) and they have little to offer the white women who voted for Obama (42%). The missing white voters are far more likely to be disaffected, poor Democrats hurt by high unemployment (remember white Republicans were highly motivated in 2012), but as Karl Rove pointed out even if Republicans won the missing whites at 62% they still lose the election by a substantial margin.

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NotRepublican 07.03.13 at 3:48 pm

It’s the first time I’ve seen a ‘wonky’ Republican suggest maybe extreme racial polarization should be on the table as a strategic option. It’s so obvious it would be a bad thing for the whole country that I find it dismaying.

This really made me laugh. Racial polarization has been a “strategic option” used by Democrats, not all to be sure, for decades. La Raza anyone? Al Sharpton anyone? Morris Dees anyone? …Bueller?
It might dismay you, John, but it seems to work.

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Britta 07.04.13 at 9:07 am

Well, looks like they’re pretty much over denying they’re solely the party of white people:

http://www.nationalreview.com/agenda/352689/how-partisan-demographics-shape-policy-thinking-reihan-salam

If you don’t want to read an NRO article, here is a line that pretty much sums up the argument:

“Republican governors of states with large numbers of uninsured individuals generally don’t represent the uninsured population, which is disproportionately Latino and black and low-income. “

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Walt 07.04.13 at 10:46 am

You think La Raza is an important force in American politics? Are you fucking high? I never even heard of Morris Dees, and the only reason I heard of La Raza is because Republicans always bring it up.

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Britta 07.04.13 at 11:04 am

I grew up hearing about Morris Dees, because he is a hero who figured out how to target hate groups as a whole rather than just arresting individual offenders. Unless the argument that putting Aryan Nations out of business and bankgrupting White Aryan Resistance (the hate group whose members murdered Mulugeta Seraw) is racist, I’m not sure how Morris Dees is racist. But…I suppose up is down, hatred is love, war is peace?

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sherparick 07.04.13 at 2:46 pm

Professor Quiggin has already acted regarding the troll. There are Copperheads in the North, northern whites who identify with Southern “Values” and culture, but I believe they already vote Republican. After all, Charles Murray, the leading intellectual proponent of “racialist” views these last 40 years, got started as a “crossburner” in high school in Iowa when there was only two black families in his county. http://phoenixwoman.blogspot.com/2005/08/charles-murray-crossburner.html

But it is a minority opinion, a substantial minority, but a minority in the Northern tier states who have adopted New England folkways as our primary culture. I don’t think it will get any bigger no matter ho hard the Republicans push the racial, tribal, and sexual anxiety buttons. I think they have reached the limits on how this idiocy plays with people who have been raised in in a way that finds Southern culture as repellent as their cursed “Battle Flag.”

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Lee A. Arnold 07.04.13 at 5:12 pm

The fact that the Republicans are on the intellectual skids (or about two meters further down the skids than the Democrats) has little to do with who wins President. President (or state governor) is usually about personality and leadership stature. Appearances count, big time. Romney could have won the election. If I had been his campaign manager, he would have won. Not that I would ever do that.

Swing voters do not care much about party platforms, because they already figure that both parties are lying. Swing voters are way, way past the supposed realizations in comment threads like these, that the Democrats are secretly another party of the rich. Golly, you think? Everybody else already KNOWS this, people.

For years, Republicans weree elected President, then acted as moderate Democrats, just as all Democratic presidents act as moderate Republicans. There is some slight gain for the preferred policies of the home team in the Oval Office of course, but not really that much, and also now and then, some horrifying idiot will declare a war, but in general, all Presidents tend to move to the middle of the road and play it safe. (For two very good reasons: the System is much bigger than you; and when you become President, you become an historical figure who is supposed to look after everyone.)

The Republican Party has entered an historical cul de sac, however, for another couple of very strong reasons. First, they have been preaching a phony economic theory that had a good run for about 30 years (i.e., supply-side Reaganomics) but now is appearing in direct opposition to the unavoidable reality of the welfare state, whereas before this time, their rhetoric could paper over the contradictions. Second, their base voters — not the swing voters, but the 25-27% of the population that the Republicans must depend upon, to come out in the elections — seriously believes the phony economic theory. Thus the “mainstream Republicans” in the leadership (Boehner, etc.) must continue to serve up this swill to the masses, while not believing it themselves, and while being cut off at the knees while trying to get any serious governmental business performed.

(To put it in terms of some of people here, supply-side Reaganomics is only half of neoliberalism. The other half is the necessity of a rather large welfare/environmental state to address inequity, risk, and exterior environmental uncertainties.)

In a nutshell, the Republican Party is pulling itself further to the right than it really wants to go, to continue to win elections, except in certain districts. They do not appear to know how to pull themselves out of this mess. Current symptoms?: 1. Hoping that Marco Rubio turns into something he is not (i.e., a man with the answers). 2. Waiting to see if Rand Paul can pull off a libertarian resurgence while avoiding any mention of the need to address increasing equality (good luck in selling that!) 3. Banging on abortion with renewed fervor, to shore up the social-conservative part of a base that is at risk of staying home in future elections. 4. Sudden silence on the topic of the national debt, after projections since the sequester (plus the little tax hikes on the wealthy) prove what a silly illusion the supposed monster really is, and how easily a little more taxes will defuse the whole issue. And, 5. Hoping (against hope) to somehow neutralize Obamacare, before the state market exchanges prove to every last clod in the country that the private insurance companies are charging 20% on top (and had been charging up to 40% !!) for NO VALUE ADDED — none! — and after that, the U.S. votes for a single payer in the following national election. Good luck, trying to stop the inevitable!

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Bruce Wilder 07.04.13 at 6:33 pm

It is not the legendary swing voter, who bothers me — it is the non-voter. I think I might be becoming one myself, as I’ve moved beyond any faith that voting for a Democrat does any good, whatsoever.

Talking about racial polarization, while demonizing the Other Party is a neat trick, but ought to provoke some sober reflection, the morning after a drunken orgy of projecting the Republicans into demographic eclipse (while they still control the House and most States). Contra Lee A Arnold, two-party systems do make whatever they serve up into the middle-of-the-road, yes, but they are building the friggin’ road, people. The question is not whether the politician ambles near the center of the road, the question is, where is the road going?

Two-party systems work well, when both Parties are trustworthy enough to alternate in office, and can be held responsible to their voters; then, they hold personal, idiosyncratic corruption in check. Two-party systems work well, when they are building the road along a sensible, realistic route, not when they head into the foothills of the Plutocrat’s Himalayas, and start heading for the cliffs, looking for the Shangra-La of Permanent Kleptocracy, where nothing falls apart, just because you stole the pipes and the foundation stones.

The whole country is deeply, deeply corrupt, and no one in power is ever held accountable for anything. The U.S. has become a kleptocracy. That libertarian / neoliberal third-way claptrap is just a rationalization for dismantling the New Deal, and selling it at a yard sale. The only thing valued by the society is celebrity, and the only growth industries are fraud and usury.

The social welfare state? It’s Obamacare, where people, working part-time jobs to pay off student loans that will follow them to the grave can be fined for not spending 10 grand on crappy insurance, that their employer won’t provide, or go on Medicare, that the Governor of their State won’t provide, on the off-chance that they will need some over-priced medical procedure or phramaceutical, which they probably cannot even afford the co-pay for, in any case.

Instead of worrying about what the Republican Party may become — and the demon’s eye view is not realistic; it’s just a way of not examining either the grievances of its followers or the real agenda of its leadership directorship — it might make more sense to worry about what the Democratic Party has become. Not just the other Party of the Rich, but the Party of secret courts, secret wars, torturing whistleblowers, and banksters, large and in-charge.

Obama isn’t just a disappointment. Obama is evil. Poison.

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Bruce Wilder 07.04.13 at 6:35 pm

Oh, yeah, Happy Independence Day!

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Mao Cheng Ji 07.04.13 at 7:26 pm

Another thing about a two-party system is that demonizing the other party works better than rallying around your own. The infamous ‘lesser evil’ concept. You win without making any meaningful commitment. You win merely because you’re not a racist, or because you’re not a godless commie. No incentive to fight FOR anything.

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Lee A. Arnold 07.04.13 at 7:37 pm

The problem with supposing that the ultimate evil of the thing is all you need to know, is that you won’t be able to change the system without lots more people getting killed. Either that, or else you are hoping to scream loud enough so that everyone has some sort of religious revelation in response, and the whole System suddenly changes course. (The U.S. did not suddenly become a kleptocracy, but has been one since at least the middle of the 19th century. On the other hand, the Democrats are no longer overtly racist, as they were then.) By contrast, the virtue in NOT worrying about who is stuck in the category of irredeemable evil, but instead learning what is going on and figuring out how to use it to your advantage for a few steps forward, or at least until somebody pushes back the other way, is in seeing them squirm when you hold them to their supposed principles, and in making things a little better maybe without so many people getting killed. You get to make the road go a little bit in your direction. That is all you get. That is the purpose of the U.S. democracy as the founders appear to have envisaged it. Now, you can also try to change the game, i.e. change the Constitution, and that’s okay, though I won’t be with you personally, because sometimes people prefer poker over bridge, but you are still end up in some other stupid game. You can also think outside of the game, i.e. change the intellectual premises of political thought, but then the categories of and good and evil compose a mere preliminary distinction, not the heavy lifting that is required.

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