“Every method that human ingenuity can conceive of is being used to undermine, dilute and circumvent the rights of minority voters to enjoy the franchise.”
Whitney Houston dies. Fox News posts the story and a torrent of racist comments follow. Some will say, but these are just commenters… They don’t represent the GOP. Right?
Head on over to the minstrel show at CPAC this weekend where “wearing track suits and colonial-style wigs, Steve Crowder, a Fox News contributor and comedian, and Chris Loesch, the husband of conservative commentator Dana Loesch, warmed the crowd up with a rap about “Mr. America” that using the n-word and claiming they’re saying “knickers.” (There’s a reason there’s no conservative competition for Jon Stewart). You can also read a defense of “Mr. America” at Breitbart’s blog. And none of this is any different than what Rush Limbaugh says every week.
Black people have lost the desire to perform a day’s work. Black people rely on food stamps provided to them by white taxpayers. Black people, including Barack and Michelle Obama, believe that the U.S. owes them something because they are black. Black children should work as janitors in their high schools as a way to keep them from becoming pimps. And the pathologies afflicting black Americans are caused partly by the Democratic Party, which has created in them a dependency on government not dissimilar to the forced dependency of slaves on their owners.
Or take a visit to the land of cotton, where old times are definitely not forgotten, and segregation is being recreated through redistricting. The strategy is simple: create majority-minority districts and pack Democrats into as few as possible.
“We’re having the same conversations we had forty years ago in the South, that black people can only represent black people and white people can only represent white people,” says [State Senator Eric] Mansfield. “I’d hope that in 2012 we’d have grown better than that.” Before this year, for example, there were no Senate districts with a [black voting age population] of 50 percent or higher. Now there are nine. A lawsuit filed by the NAACP and other advocacy groups calls the redistricting maps “an intentional and cynical use of race that exceeds what is required to ensure fairness to previously disenfranchised racial minority voters.”
Creating majority-minority districts maximizes the number of white majority districts, where white effectively means Republican.
in states like Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina, the Democratic Party can thrive only as a multiracial coalition. The elimination of white Democrats has also crippled the political aspirations of black Democrats. According to a recent report from the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, only 4.8 percent of black state legislators in the South serve in the majority. “Black voters and elected officials have less influence now than at any time since the civil rights era,” the report found. Sadly, the report came out before all the redistricting changes had gone into effect. By the end of this cycle, Republicans in Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee could have filibuster-proof majorities in their legislatures, and most white Democrats in Alabama and Mississippi (which haven’t completed redistricting yet) could be wiped out.
The effect is significant:
Democrats accounted for 47 percent of the statewide vote in Georgia in 2008 and 2010 but, thanks to redistricting, can elect just 31 percent of Statehouse members. [Stacey Abrams, the first African-American leader of the Georgia House] is especially upset that Republicans pitted incumbent white Democrats against incumbent black Democrats in four House districts in Atlanta, which she sees as an attempt to divide the party through ugly racial politics. “They placed whites who represented majority-minority districts against blacks who represented majority-minority districts and enhanced the number of minority voters in those districts in order to wipe the white Democrats out,” she explains. The new districts slither across the metropolis to pick up as many black voters as possible. Abrams says the new maps “look like a bunch of snakes that got run over.”
I hestitate to call the Republican Party racist. I know too many good people who are Republicans. They aren’t racists either. But what do you call an organization that uses racism and racists to achieve its political ends?
The use of race in redistricting is just one part of a broader racial strategy used by Southern Republicans to not only make it more difficult for minorities to vote and to limit their electoral influence but to pass draconian anti-immigration laws, end integrated busing, drug-test welfare recipients and curb the ability of death-row inmates to challenge convictions based on racial bias. GOP presidential candidates have gotten in on the act, with Newt Gingrich calling President Obama “the best food-stamp president in American history.” The new Southern Strategy, it turns out, isn’t very different from the old one.
(For some reason, my previous post didn’t update. It was longer than the two paragraphs that appeared. I’ve tried to recreate it here).