Monday, August 30, 2010

The GOP: Getting Whiter By The Day

Believe it or not, there was a time when the Republican Party enjoyed strong African-American support. It was not for nothing that it was known as the Party of Lincoln.

While that support was effectively frittered away because of Richard Nixon's so-called Southern Strategy, the GOP has attracted substantial Hispanic and Asian American support in recent years, the former because Hispanics tend to be pro-life religious conservatives and Asian Americans, predominately Vietnamese, tend to embrace the party's hard-line anti-communist stand.

But the Republican Party's jihad -- yes, it's a jihad -- against Americans who do not happen to be of the Caucasian persuasion is having the effect of making the GOP whiter by the day.

That is perhaps an inevitable consequence of a party who's leading lights today are practiced race baiters.

Look no further than Glenn Beck's "Restoring Honor" rally on Saturday at the Lincoln Memorial, not coincidentally the site of Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream Speech" on the same day 47 years ago. Sarah Palin, who recently defended a radio shock jock's repeated use of the N-word on the air, is a featured speaker.

This race baiting is not happening in a vaccum, but what passed for Republican Party leadership before the great right-wing takeover has timidly taken to the fainting couch rather than call out these and other dog whistlers.

Then there is race baiting's evil twin -- the notion that if they're not like us they're not true Americans, which is the subtext of the party's embrace of draconian immigration laws and repeal of the 14th Amendment.

To say that this jihad is short sighted misses the point.

It is indeed short sighted considering that whites will be in the minority come 2050 or so and the largest blocs of new voters are Hispanics and Asian Americans. But the Republican Party today is not about tomorrow. It is about coddling its xenophobic white base even if it means fielding candidates so nutty and temperamentally unsuited to lead that once sure electoral gains are dashed.

Cartoon by Ben Sargent/Universal Press Syndicate

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