the late 1960s, the Republican Party embraced
what it called the Southern Strategy, an appeal to disaffected white
Democratic voters who were resentful of desegregation and felt
threatened by the gains of the civil rights movement.
GOP political strategist Lee Atwater explained in 1981:
start out in 1954 by saying, ‘N-----, n-----, n-----.’ By
1968 you can’t say ‘n-----”— that hurts you,
backfires. So you say stuff like, uh, forced busing, states’
rights, and all that stuff, and you’re getting so abstract.
Now, you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things
you’re talking about are totally economic things and a
byproduct of them is, blacks get hurt worse than whites.”
all that has changed. As the 2018 midterm election approaches, the
party is no longer making efforts to disguise its appeals to racism.
a recent rally in Ohio, President Trump praised
Confederate General Robert E. Lee as a “great general,”
at a time when Confederate statues are being removed
due to the troubling racial legacy they glorify.
Republican gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis said
voters should not “monkey this up” by electing his
African American Democratic opponent, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew
Gillum. DeSantis wrote a book excusing
claiming it was unfair to blame the Founding Fathers for it.
campaign ad from the National Republican Congressional Committee
Delgado—a Rhodes Scholar and Harvard-trained lawyer running
against Rep. John Faso in New York’s 19th Congressional
District—as a “rapper” who is unfit to serve white
GOP officials including Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp are
borrowing from the old Jim Crow playbook to keep black people from
voting. Kemp, who is running for governor against Democrat Stacey
Abrams, is overseeing his own election. His office is currently being
over the suspension
of registrations of 53,000 Georgia voters, nearly 70 percent of them
African American, over often trivial discrepancies in how their names
appear. Between 2012 and 2016, Georgia purged
1.5 million voters.
Indiana has erased
nearly half a million registered voters from its rolls, and North
Dakota has stripped
the voting rights of thousands of Native Americans. Nationwide,
almost 16 million voters were purged
between 2014 and 2016, according to the Brennan Center for Justice,
four million more than between 2006 and 2008.
is also openly embracing hostility to women, as we saw in the
confirmation battle over Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
Republican leaders are characterizing
Democrats and women anti-sexual-assault protesters as an “angry
mob,” or what Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called
a “far-left mob.” In a blatant appeal to anti-Semitism,
Trump has claimed,
without evidence, that the women who confronted Republican senators
during the hearings were paid by billionaire philanthropist George
and white supremacists—whom Trump has called “very
Kavanaugh’s confirmation and viewing his critics as part of a
“race war” orchestrated by people of color, women and
Jews to remove white men from power. “Every time some
Anti-White, Anti-American, Anti-freedom event takes place, you look
at it, and it’s Jews behind it,” read a flier
at four college campuses, decrying the assault allegations against
know they cannot win with unpopular policies and a minority of voter
support. So they have set out to stop people from voting, quell
dissent, and rev up their base with appeals to bigotry.
for those who are fed up with the divisiveness and toxicity coming
from the GOP, there is one right response: Make sure you are
registered to vote, then do it.
commentary was originally published by Progressive.org