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Political Competition, Not Racism, Changes Voter Alignments ^ | April 22, 2014 | Michael Barone

Posted on 04/22/2014 4:34:37 AM PDT by Kaslin

Have the Republicans become the white man's party? Are the depth and bitterness of Republicans' opposition to Barack Obama and his administration the product of racism?

Those are questions you hear in the clash of political argument, and you will hear plenty of answers in the affirmative if you click onto MSNBC or with any regularity.

You can find a more nuanced and thoughtful analysis in Jonathan Chait's recent New York magazine article, "The Color of His Presidency."

Chait, a liberal, starts off by noting that the post-racial America that Obama seemed to promise in his 2004 national convention speech and his 2008 campaign has not come into being.

On the contrary, "Race, always the deepest and most volatile fault line in American history," he writes, "has now become the primal grievance in our politics, the source of a narrative of persecution each side uses to make sense of the world."

Many liberals see racism in every criticism of the Obama presidency, even though, as Chait points out, Bill Clinton met with similar and in some cases more strident opposition.

Conservatives, he argues, "dwell in a paranoia of their own, in which racism is used as a cudgel to delegitimize their core beliefs." Understandably so, given his description of liberals' "paranoia of a white racism."

Chait defends liberals by arguing that the debates on big government were inevitably produced by the Obama agenda and "there is no separating this discussion from one's sympathies or prejudices toward, and identification with, black America."

But he also admits that "advocating tax cuts is not in any meaningful sense racist." And he seems to ignore the argument that policies that directed large sums of money disproportionately at blacks -- like the welfare programs from the 1970s to the 1990s, which the Obama administration is trying to partially resurrect -- harm more than benefit their intended beneficiaries.

This is, after all, what House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan was getting at when he lamented "a culture, in our inner cities in particular, of men not working." The fact that Obama has made similar arguments didn't prevent Ryan from being excoriated as racist by some liberals.

On balance, Chait absolves Republicans (and Democrats) of the charge of racism. But he is one of many analysts, including some conservatives, who have warned Republicans of the danger of becoming a party made up almost exclusively of white people.

That puts them at risk, the argument goes, of becoming a permanent minority in a nation with increasing percentages of Hispanics and Asians and with blacks voting almost unanimously for Democrats.

There's obviously some peril there. Mitt Romney won 59 percent of white votes in 2012, the same as George H.W. Bush in 1988. But with a smaller nonwhite electorate, Bush won 53 percent of the total popular vote to Romney's 47 percent.

History tells us that Republican presidential candidates have never won more than Romney's 59 percent of the white vote except in 1972 and 1984 when incumbent presidents were re-elected in landslides.

But history also tells us that until the 1940s (except during Reconstruction), whites constituted nearly 100 percent of the electorate. Southern Blacks weren't allowed to vote, and there were few Hispanics or Asians.

The relevant electoral divisions in the past were between groups of whites -- Southerners and Northerners, Catholics and Protestants, New England Yankees and Jacksonian frontiersmen.

The parties competed by maximizing solidarity among favorable demographic or regional minorities, while quietly seeking inroads among other groups.

Awareness of minority status tends to produce greater partisan solidarity. Extreme examples include Irish for 120 years after the potato famine, white Southerners for 90 years after the Civil War and blacks since 1964.

That may be happening again. Political scientist Larry Bartels points to research that shows that when Independent voters in the West were asked "if they had heard that California had become a majority-minority state," they were more likely to vote Republican by a sizable 11 points.

These days, voters nationally are being told, by triumphant liberals and defensive conservatives, that America is headed toward becoming a majority-minority nation. So whites may become more Republican than ever, not because of racism but because of the dynamics of competitive party politics.

Republicans still face challenges among nonwhites. But Democrats may face similar challenges among whites, and charges of racism won't help.

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: partyplatform; racism; voting

1 posted on 04/22/2014 4:34:38 AM PDT by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin

Yes, of course. We’re all racists. Which proves only that communism is no more effective for a nation of racists than a nation of drunks.

2 posted on 04/22/2014 4:37:03 AM PDT by PaleoBob
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To: All
OBAMA'S RAISON D'ETRE and why he won't rest till every US law is eradicated: It is an article of faith among minorities that all US laws and all our rules and regs were created by evil, racist white men for the sole purpose of subjugating people of color and keeping them in poverty.

Clearly ,Obama does not see himself as president of a thriving, productive America----an America of achievers, workers and doers.

Obama has a distaste for a thriving republic of freedom-loving citizens----in his befuddled mind he occupies the WH for the singular purpose of empowering self-made victims, slackers, do-nothings, lay-a-beds, gutter snipes, welchers, weasels, con artists, and other social misfits.

THE PAY-ME-I'M-A-VICTIM SCAM Obama's stupid "income inequality” whine is part and parcel of progressives' incessant greed/envy/entitlement rant.

More akin to a dirt-poor Third World satrap than a thriving republic ruled by laws and immutable market forces.

Obama can't seem to rise above his inane "community organizer" mentality. When he was crawling around the nabe preaching envy and greed----duping people on food stamps into believing they could payoff mortgages (ne'er do wells who taxpayers were forced to bail out).

Addicting people to government handouts is the "community organizer's" con game--to get votes--buying loyalty w/ other people's tax dollars.

3 posted on 04/22/2014 4:48:46 AM PDT by Liz
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To: Kaslin
Have the Republicans become the white man's party?

I wish someone would.

4 posted on 04/22/2014 5:03:06 AM PDT by Pearls Before Swine
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To: Kaslin
charges of racism won't help.

Sure they will.

They'll help keep minority members voting Democratic.

They'll help keep whites who are desperate to see themselves as enlightened voting Democratic.

They'll help progressively devalue the charge of racism until it eventually becomes meaningless.

Perhaps most importantly, they'll probably lead to a resurgence of real white racism.

5 posted on 04/22/2014 5:19:26 AM PDT by Sherman Logan
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To: PaleoBob
Democrats became the party of blacks, gays, illegals, union leaders and dependent women.

Who does that leave us with?

Everyone else.

Whites, legal Hispanics, Asians, Native Americans, married men and women, union members (NOT bosses) and straight men and women.

6 posted on 04/22/2014 5:59:42 AM PDT by GOPJ (Democrats are waging war on white middle class men...)
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To: Kaslin

As the US becomes majority-minority and whites make up nothing more than a sizeable minority in the US, it is inevitable that they will cease to dominate national election results. And this of course, is also true of the GOP which, perhaps through no intentional action, has become identified as the “white” party.

All that being the case, where does it take the US as a hole? If the cities are any example, then it may simply be the case that as to local elections, the whites and the GOP may well continue to be a dominant force in the rural counties and the exurban counties, typically those one county removed from a major metro area. As to the Metro areas, we’ve seen them become one-party, Democrat jurisdictions in which both voter turnout and particularly “white” voter turn out is quite small due to lack of any real interest. Similarly, in the new majority-minority America, we may well see ever lower turnout as to National elections as whites simply drop out as a voting base in such elections, leaving “National” elections to be fought out between candidates from other minority constituencies. This will leave the House of Representin’ (a term from Idiocracy-the Movie), split along racial lines as between Metro areas and Rural Areas.

I can’t quite imagine what the Senate will come to resemble and of course, the White Hut will be held by a long line of know-not bloviators like Obama, Sharpton, Hilary, the Castro Brothers from San Antonio, and finally of course, “Camacho”!

What this means for the “productive”, working class is that State politics becomes ever more important and it becomes increasingly important that the “National” government be defanged as it were with the Presidency reduced to mere symbolic value. Thus, just as no one cares who is Mayor of largely bankrupt cities, LA, Houston, Dallas, Detroit, Chicago, etc., it will become the case that no one is particularly interested in who squats in the White Hut. By the same token, we’re likely to see more movements to create break away states, such as the movement to break up California and Colorado such that the bankrupt Democrat jurisdictions can be isolated from the productive rural counties.

An interesting future, indeed!

7 posted on 04/22/2014 6:11:29 AM PDT by Rich21IE
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