Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Is the Republican Party a "Neo-Racist" Organization?

I present, as a test case, the issue of whether the Republican Party should be identified as a “neo-racist” entity...I want to test the theory that there is one truth in political discourse that the media has almost entirely failed to recognize or fears to utter, one at the heart of presidential campaign reporting: The Republican Party is an institutionally, structurally racist entity. It’s the veritable elephant in the room of campaign coverage. 
No, I’m not saying all Republicans are racist. I’m saying that as a party, ever since Goldwater and Nixon concocted the benighted, openly racist “Southern Strategy” in the ’60s, the Republican Party has profited from overt and covert racism.
Once more, and as we are fond of saying, racism is not an opinion.While Ron Rosenbaum is a bit off in his suggestion that "the media" has not been discussing Mitt Romney's racial appeals to aggrieved whites in order to defeat the country's first black president (see my pieces here, here, here, and here). He is also to be commended for finally broaching, on a national website of no small amount of prominence, the fact of Mitt Romney's support of his religion's white supremacist doctrines, and the latter's silence on the issue through a good portion of his adult life.

Moving forward, Ron Rosenbaum's essay "Is the Republican Party Racist?" does some great work synthesizing some new research by Thomas Schaller, Nicholas Valentino, and David Sears that explores white racial resentment and its impact on vote choice and issue positions. In this case, empiricism and rigorous social science inquiry offer no comfort for racism deniers (and those others) who want to excuse-make (or ignore) how racism is a driving element for Southern Republican voters:
Eventually the party became somewhat less overt in its public statements but not in its appeal at the voting booth. 
Which means in practice that the GOP starts out every presidential election with (depending on census changes in electoral vote numbers) some 100 electoral votes, more than a third of the way to the 270 electoral votes needed for victory. 
Is it an accident that these 100 votes come from the core states of the Old Confederacy—Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina? 
Looked at another way, as things stand, there would be no presidential "race" at the moment if it weren't for those ex-confederate states—even if they split their votes. Mitt Romney would have little or no chance of winning and might as well quit the race now. Nor would the GOP have much chance of re-taking the Senate or even winning the House again. They would be dead as a political party if not for the legacy of racism. I think that's a fact. Do you think it's "he said/she said"? 
That doesn’t mean that all Southern whites vote GOP only because of race. But when I checked in with the careful historian of Nixon’s Southern Strategy, Rick Perlstein, author ofbooks on the Goldwater and Nixon phenomena, he suggested that recent research has demonstrated that racial attitudes—as opposed to mere conservatism on other policy issues—determine Republican votes in the South... 
At the very least these patterns make Southern voters susceptible to what some observers have called "dog whistle" appeals to racism, such as Mitt Romney's false claim in campaign ads that Obama had "gutted" welfare reform work requirements, reminding many of Reagan-era attacks on "welfare queens" in Cadillacs.
In all, racism pays a psychic wage to those who are White. It can also be financially enriching to those people of color, such as black conservatives, who are overly identified with White authority.

Whiteness is an identity based upon exclusion, and where support of the Common Good across the color line is washed away by racial chauvinism. The story is also a complicated one: white racial animus also does the work--at least in theory--of securing more resources and power for the in-group, even while such benefits are not accrued equally for all white people: this is the cruel realpolitik calculus underlying the Wages of Whiteness.

The contemporary Republican Party has been able to leverage these dynamics. Under the Southern Strategy, and Mitt Romney's masterful mix of overt white racist appeals and "dog whistles," the Tea Party GOP has been able to maintain a strong base of support as the country's de facto White Political Party.

Ultimately, the Confederacy and the demons of Jim and Jane Crow are the lifeblood of the Republican Party's electoral strategy.

Social scientists have developed a sophisticated vocabulary for discussing white racism. I am fluent in this language. I have long held reservations about it, because for all of the methodological specificity and precision such a vocabulary offers, we are whistling past a graveyard, trying to avoid calling racist white people what they really are--what are prejudiced, bigoted, white supremacists.

My use of the phrase "white supremacist" is intentional. White supremacy does not necessarily involved shaved heads, klan robes, and burning crosses. Through such formulations, colorblind racism sustains itself. White supremacy, in the post civil rights era, is both a desire and commitment to further a society where white people maintain authority, control, and power by virtue of skin color and birthright. Insecurity about the browning of America, and society where white folks will "only" be a plurality and not the majority group causes anxiety on the part of both white liberals and conservatives. Both parties only differ to the degree of their honesty about their relative anxieties about an increasingly multicultural and diverse United States.

[Some open questions. How do you define racism? Are those who use racism for their own ends properly described as "racists?" Are they something else? How did calling out white racism and white bigotry become politically incorrect, where white racists are now, and somehow bizarrely, framed as "victims?"]

For example, "white racial resentment" and "symbolic racism" are discussed as phenomena that are subtly different from old school traditional racism. The latter is overt hate, lynchings, racial violence, and a belief in biological determinism where distinct "races" are judged to be superior or inferior to one another.

Modern racism, the realm of the former, is a construct based upon "bad culture," where black and brown folks are judged to be "lazy" and "unAmerican" because the white racial frame views them as violating "traditional" norms of "hard work" and "patriotism." The New Racism is based upon black and brown folks "bad" behavior, as viewed out of context from a cognitive map wherein white privilege is the norm, and Whiteness is valorized as naturally benign and good. White pathology and "bad culture"--much of it a precise copy of that common to the "ghetto underclass"--is little if ever discussed.

I follow a simple rule. Racist behavior is the purvey of racist people. If a person does not approve of racism, they should not be part of a political party, or any other organization, which traffics in such bile. By implication, Mitt Romney is a racist because he is intentionally using white racism in order to win the White House.

This is not rocket science; people of good conscience are making a mistake when they avoid stating the obvious for fear of hurting a bigot's (or members of a racist, herrenvolk, White political party's) feelings.

Or alternatively, these same members of the public are making a mistake when they retreat in fear of playing into the New Speak of the White Right, with its Orwellian vocabulary of "reverse racism," "black racism," and "white oppression."

As a practical matter, the Tea Party GOP is a White Party.

Political parties are exercises in branding. Like McDonald's which is known for its French fries, many voters are drawn to the Republican Party because it is the white man's party. They may not know all of its specific policy positions, but in keeping with the restaurant analogy, these conservatives know that french fries (here being white racism; polite, crude, and otherwise) are the featured dish.

Mitt Romney's use of white racism is a function of a political brand that has staked out that segment of the public and done the prerequisite market research to win their trust and loyalty. His escalation of racist appeals to alienated and angry white people will only increase during the weeks leading up to the election because Romney is trapped by a type of path dependency.

A person campaigning for the Presidency, as the nominee of the United States' de facto White Political Party, has little choice but to double down on white racism and racial resentment. Despite the risk of alienating undecideds and Independents, for conservatives, the road to the Presidency follows the heart of  white racism. This is the Right's version of the Titanic--you do not change its course at the last minute.

Mitt Romney is a utility maximizing gangster capitalist who knows the math: in his racist assaults and lies about Barack Obama he is simply leverage the Republican Party's brand name. To do any less would be a waste of resources.


d nova said...

good post. i might not agree with every point, but i concur on the essentials.

now we need a strategy to defeat his mittjesty's strategy. any ideas?

Black Sage said...

good post. i might not agree with every point, but i concur on the essentials. now we need a strategy to defeat his mittjesty's strategy. any ideas? – d nova

@d nova, in order to defeat Wishful President Mitt certainly isn’t an entirely impossible task but it is in fact highly improbable. Furthermore, Mitt shouldn’t be our primary focus. I say this because the vast majority of Mitt’s supporters are racist-leaning themselves and buy into the victimization and oppressed rants that Whites are being targeted through Obama’s domestic policies. The only way that Mitt could be properly defeated is through mass sessions of deconstruction counseling provided to his vast majority of his White supporters with a splash of Uncle Toms here and there free of charge to expose Mitt’s voluminous lies. I seriously doubt this will happen. Generally, people see what they want to see and hear what they want to hear!

How befitting of a collectively racist country, after merely one presidential debate that obviously caught Obama off guard, now, Mitt is either leading in many national polls or just short of being in the lead. Even further, there shouldn’t be any surprises here regarding these polls because this is the price that we must pay as a country for being thoroughly entrenched into a Mickey Mouse style of politics and Jack and Jill poll results!

This country hasn’t been a democratic country for quite some time now. WE ARE LIVING IN A CORPORATOCRACY!

Invisible Man said...

seriously Chauncey ? Really, yo? Lets not focus on the Oligarchy, Plutocracy,Kleptocracy, and as the Sage Man said "Corporatocracy" Lets just stay with race. Keep us negroes splashing around in the baby pool. Are you sure you're not on phone line for those morning daily strategy meetings with David Axelrod- who won a Golden Water Mellon) on that hit show, I Know Black People- and Rahm Emanuel? Negro Please! As if the Demo-rat-ic party isn't just as racist. What does if feel like to be the head cheer leader in the morose colored section of the Titanic, yo! You're the only one who could pull this off.

Plane Ideas said...

BS & IM great posts....It is revealing how a brother even the prez can have one bad day and be discarded by so many i.e white americans for a margainal candidate like Mitt...

It establisheds that even Black people like Obama who handcuff themselves to not offend the white electorate are then dismissed by the same electorate Obama pandered to ..

On another note CD continues to post these tired circular narratives about the obvious when it comes to the nature of whiteness

What is critical now from the Black Intellectual Class and the Black Bloggersphere is a series of detailed recommendations on how Obama can prevail many folks in the Obama camp are frustrated and new some fresh insights!!

Anonymous said...

Um... Hello... Both parties are race baiters. They're 2 sides to the same coin. Nothing will change until we as Americans start treating one another and identifying ourselves as individuals.

There are true crazies out there, make no mistake, that truly believe that racist crap, but they're a pretty small group. They are however, exploited to create fear and angst.

The issues presented by the parties aren't meant to be resolved. They're presented in a way to cause division amongst the American people.

The top of government's worst nightmare would be the American people to be united against their real enemies. That's why they had to murder Dr. King. He was a force for unity, and was endangering the Vietnam war. Imagine, Occupy and the original tea party (libertarians now) coming together. That would be truly beautiful!

Stop framing ideas in the defunct and artificial left-right paradigm. You're just feeding the monster.

chaunceydevega said...

@dnova.I am not a solutions man, I will leave that up to problem solvers like you.

@bs. i agree. romney by a nose in 30 days. the black affirmative action hire guy--in the eyes of many in white America, where his election was an act of catarthis to purge old school racism from the political id--is out. time to get in bed with the devil they know; the psychic binds of whiteness are real.

@Im. What do the empirics say? That is what I am dealing with.

@Thrasher. You wonder why you are banned. I let you back in for a second and you still are incapable of not crapping on the floor like a humanzee. Too bad. You are an adult who does not know how to comport himself properly. Back to comment delete land for you.

@Anon. I don't play the false equivalency game. On white racism in the present, w. the party of the Tea Party and the Southern Strategy, the Republicans got the strap for the foreseeable future. Will they drop the belt? We have to talk to the booking agents.

Feed the beast? I am part of the monster...I only get a pittance of a stipend though.

nomad said...

WTF, CD? I didn't see nothin wrong with Thrasher's comment.

"It establisheds that even Black people like Obama who handcuff themselves to not offend the white electorate are then dismissed by the same electorate Obama pandered to"

Why he keeps pandering to the unpanderable, Republicans, I have no idea.

Likewise he is also correct about illustrating the obvious. The Republican party is racist? Well, d'uh!

On his third point, the Black Intellectual Class and the Black Bloggersphere need to give Obama an ear full. Change course, Hon. Bro. Preznit, or game over.

chaunceydevega said...

@Nomad. He is banned for a number of reasons--thread jacking, rudeness, pretending to be multiple posters at one time, acting a fool, not following the comment policy, running some virtual tired game where he wants to claim other people's work, general bad behavior, and being a waste of time.

I tried to give him an opening and he is incapable of not acting like a humanzee and taking the chance to redeem himself.

Moving on.

d nova said...

no! i will not submit to all this BS defeatism! too many of you are so damn sure the prez will lose that you armor your psyches to soften the blow. damn it! this guy is the best and most capable president in my lifetime. we need him, and the country needs him. if he loses, we all lose. don't give up! where there's a will there's a way. let's find it! come on! we need a strategy. think! find a way to win.

nomad said...

Win? There is no "winning". It's lesser-evilism all the way.
Sure, "Mitt Romney is a catastrophic response to a catastrophe, whereas Obama is a disastrous response to a catastrophe. Is disaster better than catastrophe? Yes it is. I wish we had a third candidate who could actually do something, but we don't". So there is no "winning". There is only better losing.

d nova said...

no, no, nomad. that's just more defeatism. prez obama turned the economy around. jobs hemorrhage he inherited ended 2 months after he signed recovery act (AKA the 'stimulus' in feb '09). if it wasn't for lazy voters letting GOP win in 2010, we'd be much better off by now. cornel west a little too fond of word games. (catastrophe, disaster, who cares which is worse?) drone attacks greatly trouble me too, but i doubt any prez would resist using them.

Anonymous said...

Good post CD. And thank you for helping me to solve a puzzle.

"[W]hite racial animus also does the work--at least in theory--of securing more resources and power for the in-group, even while such benefits are not accrued equally for all white people: this is the cruel realpolitik calculus underlying the Wages of Whiteness".

In essence... there are times when as a white person,will have to take a bullet for the race. Beautiful.

As for Obama? Things are going as planned.

Ben G-

chaunceydevega said...

@Ben. Remember take one for the human race and be a traitor to Whiteness always.

d nova said...

animus is part of it. so's anxiety. the benefits accrue to the ruling class -- not the whole in-group (assuming you mean whites) -- via lower wages. dontcha get it? all this divide and conquer BS is so the owners get more money and power while spending less. they call it productivity. it hurts all races -- some more than others of course, but all -- while giving the rich a bigger piece of the pie and leaving a few more crumbs for us to fight each other for. i don't think i'm a marxist, but marx had it right when he said 'workers of the world unite! you have nothing to lose but your chains!' as long as we fight each other or hate each other or merely resent each other, the bosses take advantage of the opportunity to get us to beg for the chance to work cheaper.

nomad said...

"(catastrophe, disaster, who cares which is worse?)"

Not me. But, sadly, that's the 'choice' voters are left with. Did I say "Buuwaaa-ha-ha-ha" yet?

nomad said...

'lazy voters letting GOP win in 2010'

Please! The voters weren't lazy. They were disillusioned by Obama's sellout during his first 2 years. Had he been progressive, not only would the Dems have triumphed in 2010, he'd be poised for a landslide in 2012. The fault, dear nova, lies not in ourselves, but in our star.

d nova said...

nomad, you need to re-read your shakespeare. you got that exactly backwards, dear brutus. voters were 'disillusioned' because they bought the tea party's bill of goods about obamacare govt takeover and how much supposedly got wasted by the stimulus and more crap. the prez took office with more on his plate than any prez since FDR or maybe even lincoln, and he accomplished more in his first 2 years than most presidents get done in 2 terms. nobody in this country ever passed such extensive healthcare before. i know it's not progressive enough, but now that it's on the books it can be tweaked. if it hadn't passed we'd still be where we were when the clintons failed to get theirs passed. i mentioned earlier how the recovery act stopped the massive job losses we had for 6 straight months in '08 and '09. GM and chrysler -- i don't need to explain, do i? out of iraq and withdrawal timetable for afghanistan. don't ask, don't tell. i'll say again, think of how much more he could have done if voters had just helped him.

i use 'lazy' as shorthand for sitting out the election, not to explain why they sat it out. 2010 didn't happen because of independents changing sides as our truly lazy media said. it happened because too many dems stayed home. look at the actual vote counts -- not just the percentages -- and you'll see what i mean. i live in PA, where we now have a GOP governor who got about 55% of the vote -- almost the same percent as obama -- but that 55% was fewer votes than mccain got in losing PA 2 years earlier. the same thing happened in 20 of the 22 governor and US senate seats lost by dems in 2009 and 2010 in states obama won. and obama got more votes than the other 2 winners as well. (one i found especially sweet was 100K more votes in iowa than chuck grassley got 2 years later.)

nomad said...

"nomad, you need to re-read your shakespeare. you got that exactly backwards, dear brutus."

Shakespeare? Who said anything about Shakespeare? That was pure nomad, and he was not talking to Brutus.

"it happened because too many dems stayed home."

And they stayed home because they discovered that they had been betrayed/deceived by a con man who pursued, instead of what they had hoped for, war, the police state, cutting the safety net, bailout for banksters and a big F-U for mainstreet. The fault was not in them but in their fraudulent star.

Anonymous said...

d nova, nomad:

It is a devils choice. Obama is complicit to crimes against humanity at best, and an outright murderer and a tyrant at worst.

Mittens is just a new stooge representing the banking cartel. He is the same as Obama, as the same as Bush.

Obama, chose to not hold accountable the CIA, and Bush Administration for egregious crimes, in fact granting them immunity - sending prisoners to Uzbekistan to be boiled alive and raped with broken bottles, to be just a notable one. This is outright treason on all sides. He's continued the patriot act, and authorized/directed the NDAA provisions.

The cases against the banks (housing bubble and financial crash) are running out based on statute of limitations, no prosecutions have been made, and none are in the pipeline. During the S&L crisis there were over 5,000 criminal referrals, today zero.

There is no choice, and there is no choice between two evils, there is no lesser "evil". I don't see either candidate taking on the most important issue for people of color, the insane incarceration rate for victimless crime, and the persecution by police reaching new fever pitch since the 60s.

No we have a choice between an almost certain kickoff to WWIII (mittens initiated attack on Iran), or a potential civil war under Obama. Realistically though, they're probably interchangeable.

There is no choice. The best we can do is get educated on what is really going on, and not participate in a criminal fraud (national election) between the two phoneys. Vote for a lib, or a green party, whatever. I will not vote for cyanide spiked coke or pepsi, they're both poison.

nomad said...

Whether you vote or not, I think there should a nationwide protest on election day against our corrupt electoral process and the criminals who have hijacked the government. Occupy the fucking election!

Anonymous said...

Nomad said: "Whether you vote or not, I think there should a nationwide protest on election day against our corrupt electoral process and the criminals who have hijacked the government. Occupy the fucking election!"

I agree. I've read some other places advocating making election day, "buy a gun day". Seems like a good idea to me.

However people decide to protest, I think it's important to send a message.

nomad said...

I mean, bottom line, in the short run, voting for the lesser evil every 4 years might have certain minimal benefits -and sometimes not - the social safety net is more vulnerable to cuts by Dem presidents (Clinton and Obama)- but it is destroying our democracy, what's left of it. When do we the people say "Enough is enough"? I don't know about you but I'm kind of tired of taxation without representation. The nation needs to stand uo en masse and say the election is a farce. As long as it is a farce and has nothing to do with the will of the people, the same old atrocities will continue election after election with things getting worse cycle after cycle. We have got to demand a real democracy. We will never -ever- be any more prepared to do it than election day 2012. Occupy the election and, as my favorite philosopher said, "Get up, stand up. Stand up for your right."

Anonymous said...


I would say that voting for the lesser of two evils bought us a certain amount of time (past tense). These fools have been putting this off since Nixon. At this point, all the chickens are coming home to roost, and when they do so it will happen all at once. The analogous bomb is already in-flight. There's no calling it back, or fixing it. We just wait.

First, Europe will implode with the reality that debt won't fix debt(It's just about to tip over the cliff), then Japan will suffer the same fate, then the US will suffer a currency dislocation and / or the trade war will turn into a hot war.

I agree the people need to stand up, some already are. The Occupy movement and the Ron Paul movement are the beginning. The question is, how repressive is the government willing to go? Will they push suppression so far and violence to the point of civil war (Think Afghanistan insurgency domestically)? I think they will, so does Chris Hedges, and many other prominent experts (left and libertarian), but I hope they don't.

Our best chances are at the local level. If we can put people in that will stand up strongly to suppression of civil liberties from the feds, our communities may have a chance. The US as a whole is toast, Washington DC - it is a modern day Uruk (

The republic was fun for a while, while it was good, but it's over. We'll never see those days again, not that the future is bleak, but it's going to get a hell of a lot darker before it starts getting better.

We need to start acting to create resiliency in our communities:

Start encouraging people to make critical supply chains resilient - support local food production, critical items should move away from just in time inventory management. demand stockpiling of critical supplies for the community i.e. hospitals, pharmacies, or do it yourself.

d nova said...

of course you weren't speaking to brutus, nomad. whether or not you meant to misquote the bard, you are brutus. you have been tricked by cassius figures into participating in character assassination. anonymous has too. you have become a pair of brutus trolls. if enough folk swallow your swill, they'll sit out the election and romney will win. that's essentially how nixon won in '68. well-meaning folk either switched their vote to nixon to punish dems for war or bought into the lesser-evil argument and voted 3rd party. instead of a progressive humphrey presidency, we got trickie dicky and watergate. now you two think by getting us to do what voters did back then you can change history, but you will only repeat it.

i won't go thru your laundry list of charges. i've responded to all of them many times in threads like this. it's a waste of time, since you're already brainwashed with #malarkey. anybody interested can research them and add a pinch of common sense to see thru them. it's all defeatism, and we all need to see it for what it is, reject it, and vote for the only prez and party we have a chance of getting to be responsive to us.

just ask how much of this a GOP prez or congress would have done:
- lilly ledbetter fair pay act
- recovery act ended jobs hemorrhage by may 2009
- saved 1M+ auto industry jobs
- obamacare (needs tweaking, but this isn't 1994 anymore)
- ended don't ask, don't tell
- first years of manufacturing job growth since 1997
- defending women's rights against those who would deny contraception coverage.

4 more years!