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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Republican Politics of Racism Finally Pay Off

It's one of those things that are so pointless and doomed from the gitgo that you wonder why the disaster wasn't obvious before it happened. Just a while ago, Mitt Romney spoke to the annual meeting of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People [NAACP]. You didn't have to be a soothsayer to know things wouldn't go well. Mitt represents a party whose recent (in some cases very recent) history shows the politicization of race to frighten white voters and create division.

But the calculus may have been that things couldn't possibly get worse for a GOP candidate with African-American voters. In 2008, Barack Obama pulled in about 95% of the black vote and there's been no sign of change on that front. Thinbs could only get better, Team Romney may have reasoned, because they weren't likely to get any worse.

That reasoning may have been in error.


With House Republicans planning to vote on the repeal of the Affordable Care Act for the 31st time on Wednesday, the party’s presidential candidate was booed loudly for suggesting he would repeal the law if elected. Speaking at the NAACP conference in Houston, Texas, Mitt Romney asserted that he would repeal “wasteful” programs that don’t promote job growth. “Including Obamacare,” Romney said, to a resounding chorus of boos from the crowd...

There's video at the link. The booing is so intense that Romney can't bring himself to finish his sentence. This is what you call your "political disaster."


But beyond this, Romney offers no incentive for the African-American voter to choose him. For example, under Romney's economic plan, more than 2 million African-American families would see their taxes increase, as he shifts the tax burden away from the wealthy and toward the working class:

Click to enlarge

And Romney supports voter ID laws that would disenfranchise as many as 25% of black voters. Minority voters -- and African-Americans in particular -- have very little reason to get excited over Mitt Romney.

Which leaves us with the question: why was Mitt there? And the answer is simple; because the days of being able to win on the white vote alone are over. The problem for Romney and Republicans is that the GOP's racist strain has become so deeply ingrained that it can't be shed. And it leaves candidates like Mitt Romney in schizoid mode, arguing one thing to one group of voters, then promising the opposite to another. Mitt has to make his pitch to blacks, then go back to the Tea Party racists and deliver the traditional GOP line.

It's a difficult needle to thread and all Mittens may have proved today is that it's less difficult than it is impossible. Racism has finally become bad politics and it can't be left behind so easily -- especially when you've trained your base so well that they don't even recognize racism when they see it. They think images of President Obama with a bone through his nose are just "edgy" and believe anything short of the bald statement of "I HATE BLACK PEOPLE!" couldn't possibly be racist. Racism has become wallpaper in Republican politics -- so ubiquitous that they don't even see it anymore. And when you point out their racism they claim to be the victims.

Mitt's trainwreck was entirely predictable. But it may also have been unavoidable. In a tight race, Romney will need minority votes -- but to win white Republican votes, he's had to slap minorities around.


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