Thursday, April 24, 2014

Democrats, once again the party of race.

Holder: America racial "cowards" (2009)
"If it's wrong to use race to deny people opportunities, it is equally wrong to use race to help some at the expense of others. Using skin color rather than merit to pick winners and losers is a policy that fosters cynicism. Such policies only serve the politicians, who hand out the spoils, using racial preference as governmental levers as they win power and treasure for themselves. . . There is a race industry in politics. And many elites — from politicians to journalists — continue to argue in favor of race-based policy. But here's the thing: Mr. Obama was elected twice. Twice."

 --John Kass, Chicago Tribune

John Kass, a conservative, has the courage to write words that will brand him a racist. Yet Kass lacks the courage to call Democrats what they are. It’s Democratic politicians, and Democrats alone, who use “racial preference as governmental levers as they win power and treasure for themselves.” And the “elites” who “argue in favor of race-based policy” are exclusively progressive Democrats.

Republicans feel unfairly associated with racism and would be only too happy to end campaigns based upon race, and upon sex, and upon sexual preferences. The politics of victimhood, of race, sex, or sexual preference identity, is the politics practiced by the party that elected Obama twice. Twice.

In my adult lifetime, Democrats were the party that tiptoed past legalized segregation in the South in order to hold together a coalition of conservative Southern Democrats--Dixiecrats who by virtue of their seniority controlled almost all leadership positions in Congress--and northern liberal Democrats who helped elect Woodrow Wilson (2x), Franklin Roosevelt (4x), Harry Truman, and John Kennedy + Lyndon Johnson in the years before 1964. Years when famous racists were Democrats. It’s a fact, and a fact that embarrassed me and millions of other Democrats at the time.

In 1964, Republican Barry Goldwater voted against Johnson’s 1964 Civil Rights Act, and thereby won South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana, the only states he carried outside his native Arizona. In 1968, Republican Richard Nixon lost Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana plus Arkansas to third-party Southerner and Dixiecrat George Wallace. In the process, Nixon almost lost the 1968 election.

Following that close call, Nixon embraced a “Southern Strategy” aimed at winning over white Southerners so alienated from the Democratic civil rights drive that they wasted “lost cause” votes on Goldwater in 1964 and Wallace in 1968. The “Southern Strategy” eventually turned the more conservative South into the Republican Party’s main base of strength.

After the “Southern Strategy” helped deliver Nixon’s sweeping 1972 victory, Democrats won the White House only when they nominated Southerners who could grab some of that good ol’ Southern voting--Georgia’s Jimmy Carter in 1976 and Arkansas’ Bill Clinton in 1992 and 1996 (Al Gore, ostensibly from Tennessee but really a senator’s son raised in Washington D.C., lost his home state and the rest of the South in 2000).

The Southern Strategy worked for Republicans until Obama’s elections. The Democrats’ national elite plus government and government-supported employees at the top, combined with minority, unmarried female, and youth “victims” at the bottom, has now grown to roughly 60% of the electorate.

And so, the GOP “Southern Strategy” has backfired, as did Romney’s “voluntary deportation” swipe at Hispanics in 2012. The GOP hasn’t since 1988 effectively employed the code-word racism of “crime in the streets,” “forced busing,” “welfare queens,” or in that final occasion, “Dukakis freed Willie Horton.”

Republicans are back to suffering as they did more than half a century earlier from Democrats’ use of the race issue. This time, however, progressives employ race against white males, not for holding onto white Southern support.

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