Friday, January 25, 2013

Is it structurally impossible for GOP to attract minorities?

That is the point Michael Tomasky makes. The rank and file GOP is sufficiently racist, Tomasky argues, to make any meaningful outreach to non-whites impossible.
The bottom line is about the base. The GOP base consists of white people who are terrified of losing their skin privilege in Barack Obama’s America. Even if Priebus and a few other Republicans are sincere in their efforts, the minute they start to take steps that are anything but symbolic and that are aimed specifically at trying to win over blacks or Latinos, the base will howl to the moon. I suppose it’s possible that two or three generations from now, which means 30 to 50 years, white Republicans who grew up in our multicultural era will have different attitudes. But even that is a fairly big question mark—there are always going to be vast sections of the country where the population will be 90 or more percent white.

Changing all this can’t be done with some buzzwords and slogans. It is going to be a deeply painful and contentious process for the GOP. I’d say it will be amusing for the rest of us, but it will inject enough poison into the body politic to make it not much fun for anyone.
Tomasky is quick to point out that not all conservatives are racist, and we all know this to be the case. But, Tomasky notes, "If you find yourself at a table with five conservatives and try to break the ice with a watermelon joke, you’re very likely to get somewhere between two and three laughs."

Tomasky is on to something.  The success of the so-called Rockefeller Republicans has had the ironic effect of moving both parties rightward such that now Democratic leadership occupies the space once filled by moderate Republicans leaving only the wacko right for Republicans.   I like pointing out to conservative friends that both Clinton and Obama are to the right of Nixon (the father of the EPA, Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act and just look at Nixon's proposal for comprehensive health insurance).  Imagine if Obama made a trip to Tehran ala Nixon's trip to China?

It is going to take at least another generation to modernize the GOP.  But that doesn't mean they can't win the White House (although GOP Chair Herr Priebus believes his party can no longer win the national popular vote).  Eventually, voters will become sufficiently frustrated with the status quo to just vote for the other person for a change. 

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