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A 99% White Party is Bad for Republicans – and for America

A 99% White Party is Bad for Republicans – and for America
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Written by Tim Price

“If planning a trip to a beach or amusement park at some date, find out whether it is likely to be swamped with blacks on that date… Do not act the Good Samaritan to blacks in apparent distress, e.g., on the highway… In a pure meritocracy there would be very low proportions of blacks in cognitively demanding jobs.”

These are just a few of the pearls of anti-wisdom offered by conservative pundit John Derbyshire in his instantly infamous essay, “The Talk: Nonblack Version.” Derbyshire’s employers at the National Review were quick to distance themselves from him and his racist manifesto, which was written as a response to the outcry over the hunting and killing of Trayvon Martin.

But as other commentators have pointed out, there’s more to this story. For one thing, “Derb” has been producing openly racist (and homophobic) material for years now without repercussion. So why did the premiere intellectual journal of American conservatives only disassociate itself from a bigot once the very last vestiges of plausible deniability had been stripped away?

The answer lies in the fact that the conservative movement, while not racist in and of itself, is beholden to racists who support it. And in order to maintain their support, it appeases them either actively or through sins of omission in ways that alienate other potential supporters and create barriers to real progress on racial justice.

I want to be clear that conservatives are not inherently racists, just as progressives are not by default free of racism. While some conservative policies, such as restricting voting rights, cracking down on undocumented immigrants, and slashing the social safety net may have racially disparate outcomes in practice, there are intellectual and moral arguments for each of these that that have nothing to do with race.

Sadly, Republicans often fail to make them because they’re busy sending more coded signals than a third base coach in order to appease the most reactionary elements of their base. And when taken in aggregate, it’s easy to see why minority groups perceive the conservative agenda as actively hostile toward their interests, even if that’s not the intent.

The uneasy alliance between high-minded conservative wonks and unreconstructed racists is a legacy of Richard Nixon’s Southern Strategy, which used civil rights as a wedge with white voters to turn the formerly Democratic “Solid South” into staunch Republican territory. But while that approach has continued to reap short-term rewards, it’s a bad bet in the long run.

As Roosevelt Institute Fellow Dorian Warren has noted, “the Republican strategy is basically to be a white party and a white southern party. The time is ticking on that demographic in this country.” With the voting bloc of angry white conservatives from the old Confederacy giving way to the most diverse and progressive generation in history, Republicans risk political extinction if they can’t refurbish their image and adapt their policies accordingly.

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115 comments

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11:46AM PDT on Apr 16, 2012

"Republicans risk political extinction if they can’t refurbish their image and adapt their policies accordingly."

That would be just WONDERFUL! and, THE SOONER THE BETTER. Can't be TOO soon!

Republican Political Extinction -- YAY!
THEN, the DEMOCRATS would be our right-wing party -- similar to Centrist parties in Europe.
We could THEN have a REAL Party on the Left -- representing Women, Young People, various Ethnicities, LGBTQ people, the better-educated, etc. {yes, I'm a SNOB and FOR good education!} -- something like the Greens started out to be, or some of the people coming from the Occupy movement. {These voters now vote for the Dems, by DEFAULT -- they often SAY, "It's just the lesser of two evils!"}
Repubs then would be a minor, unimportant third-party for Creationists, the Sexually-repressed {including repressed Gays}, Haters, Fascists, Misogynists, Lunatics, and assorted Reactionary Cranks.....

11:26AM PDT on Apr 16, 2012

We never said ALL women are smart. Just the ones that are going away from the republican party as fast as they can, in ever growing numbers.

Paul thinks the left are "friggin nuts", but he thinks the republican party cares about him. Now how friggin nuts is that?

11:04PM PDT on Apr 15, 2012

If you are Republican, then you are a liar, a bigot, a woman hater, anti-choice, a war monger.
That is their agenda and if you vote for them they will DO that, whether you like it or not.
It doesn't matter if you like gays or women, THEY don't and THEY are the only ones that
COUNT because THEY have POWER and you don't. So if you are Republican you support
HATRED, TORTURE AND DEATH of our YOUNG CHILDREN WHO ARE SENT TO BOGUS
WARS STARTED BY THEM! The most loving response I can come up with for you is
DISGUSTING and IGNORANT.

10:23PM PDT on Apr 15, 2012

How, HOW can anyone vote for these "people"

6:26PM PDT on Apr 15, 2012

unfortunately... it is the Republicans 'out here' that PUT those Republicans 'up there' IN DC... into positions of power (Congress, White House, etc).

1:18PM PDT on Apr 15, 2012

These are extremists - dangerous, selfish, racist, slime, and just plain wrong! WE can't let them win! I like that - Republicans are Slytherin!

12:16PM PDT on Apr 15, 2012

While I agree that the rabid right's ideas are based on fear and the Repugnican party has had anti-woman policies, I do believe it is true that our country would benefit if both parties were anti-racist, as well as pro-choice and pro-gay rights.

9:30AM PDT on Apr 15, 2012

pure conservatism is a mental defect/disease based on FEAR

8:06AM PDT on Apr 15, 2012

“the Republican strategy is basically to be a white party and a white southern party." I think this statement pretty much covers the Republican party of 'no'.


7:38AM PDT on Apr 15, 2012

I think about the fine American people I've met on Care2 and elsewhere, I look at the younger generation, and I have hope.

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