Finally, a national Republican Party office holder, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), is stating the obvious about race and politics in the U.S.:
“The demographics race we’re losing badly. We’re not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term.”
Although there is recognition of an obvious truth here, for Graham, the “solution” to this “problem” is a matter of numbers – demographics – of “generating enough” white people to match, if not counter altogether, the surging black and brown masses set to minoritize “white America” within less than a generation. Graham also recognizes that not just freshly generated, ordinary white folks will do the trick, though. These newly generated white folks must be of a very specific type: “angry white guys,” who will have been properly socialized to strengthen and extend their four-century vice grip on power and all the other desirable aspects of life that come along with being power holders.
Implicit in Graham’s statement is also the recognition that the old, tried and true means of race-baiting, of frightening white people to the polls in support of Republican Party agendas, are about to become passe´. For example, look at the recent Republican television ad against President Obama’s supposed position on welfare:
“Under Obama’s plan, you wouldn’t have to work and wouldn’t have to train for a job. They just send you your welfare check and ‘welfare to work’ goes back to being plain old welfare.”
Of course, this ad is an out-and-out lie. It is reminiscent of President George H.W. Bush’s “Willie Horton” (black criminals raping/murdering white women) ad, of the late Senator Jesse Helms’ “white hands” ad crumpling up a pink slip because an affirmative action beneficiary (black male) just took their job; of Reagan’s Cadillac-driving “welfare queen,” of Nixon’s “Southern Strategy” and constant call and drumbeat for “law and order.”
Likewise, though false on its face, the Romney/Republican ad against welfare will enthuse, stimulate, generate some “angry white guys.” The refreshing thing about Graham’s statement is that he realizes that such tactics will not generate enough “angry white guys” to continue to make a difference in election outcomes. Graham can count. Plain, old and simple third grade arithmetic will no longer allow Republican Party, heterosexual white men (angry or not) to continue to lord it over everybody else. This November may be the very last election wherein these folks can eke out, by hook or by crook, if necessary, a final last hurrah for their kind of “leadership.”
According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, just two percent of delegates to the GOP convention in Tampa — 46 in total — were African American. In 2004, that number was 167. Why such a dramatic decline? The relatively rapid rise and election to the presidency of a half-white, half-black Democrat from Chicago caught most of these heretofore not-so-angry “white guys” off balance. Add to that the surging Hispanic American population (the Romney/Ryan ticket trails by 40 to 75 percentage points among Hispanic voters), and you get a damn near lily-white Republican Party National Convention.
Most Republican white men are still in denial and will continue to deny these numbers. Or just chalk them up to Obama’s “race” rather than their own long history of racism. And, no doubt Obama’s half-blackness is a factor, a big factor. The Republican Party continues to refuse to live up to its avowed “openness” through policy and practice. Rather, it deems as sufficient the showcasing or window dressing (or stage dressing) of high-profile “minorities” up front; or by recruiting only those “minorities” who will put a black or brown face on their retrograde racism.
That “strategy” has never worked. Black people, especially, are very familiar with, have a long and deep history with people like Clarence Thomas and Condoleezza Rice. We know who they are, what they are, and what and who they really represent. These are people who have “made it” up the social, political and economic ladder on the backs of the broader black community. Once at the top, though, they turn and pull the ladder up, out of reach of the rest of us.
And so, unable to attract “minority” voters, Republicans must turn to their “base.” Ron Brownstein, in a piece in National Journal, puts it nicely:
“Republican strategists clearly feel the weight of trying to assemble a national majority with so little support among minorities that they must win three in five whites. ‘This is the last time anyone will try to do this,’ one said. A GOP coalition that relies almost entirely on whites could squeeze out one more narrow victory in November. But if Republicans can’t find more effective ways to bridge the priorities of their conservative core and the diversifying Next America, that weight will grow more daunting every year.”
This is now an ideal world for Democrats. The numbers favor them and they are trying mightily to, in fact, increase the number of minority voters. In this event, no special “strategy” beyond intense voter “education” and registration campaigns is needed. The Republicans will continue to shoot themselves in both feet with their increasingly blatant racist appeals, policies and practices.
Politics American style is a bottom-line, zero-sum game. As Harold Washington used to say about his chances of becoming Chicago’s first black mayor, “We (Democrats) have the numbers.” Republicans have deliberately placed themselves in a “white ghetto” where they will remain on the outside looking in – if they don’t change their ways, and quickly.
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