Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
Crazy Uncle Pat Buchanan was a firm believer in the GOP Southern Strategy of appealing to the racism of white voters against African-Americans when he worked for Presidents Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan. The Southern Strategy is sometimes referred to as "white grievance" against federal enforcement of civil rights laws for African-Americans and intervention on their behalf, including the passage of the Voting Rights Act. It is a political strategy of racial polarization.
Back in May, crazy Uncle Pat Buchanan wrote an article calling for a new Southern Strategy against Latino voters. Pat Buchanan Calls For 'Southern Strategy' Against Latinos, Immigrants:
In an article published by the website World Net Daily last week, Buchanan describes increased black voter turnout and Latino demographic growth as a “crisis for the Grand Old Party.” To combat it, the conservative pundit implies that the Republican Party should adopt a new version of the “Southern Strategy” revolving around immigration.
At the time, the commentariat largely dismissed this as just crazy Uncle Pat spouting off his usual racist ranting again.
But it was followed up by a similar comment from Christian Right icon Phyllis Schlafly. Conservative Icon Calls GOP’s Need To Court Hispanics A ‘Great Myth’:
"The Hispanics who have come in like this will vote Democrat and there's not the slightest bit of evidence that they will vote Republican," Schlafly said on "Focus Today." "And the people the Republicans should reach out to are the white votes, the white voters who didn't vote in the last election and there are millions of them."
This notion that the GOP need only appeal to white voters -- whom apparently conservatives believe are all racists who harbor white grievances against minorities (a bit of projection?) -- to increase the share of white voter turnout in elections has gained traction on the far-right.
Sean Trende has written a series of analytical columns at RealClearPolitics suggesting that the more obvious route to a Republican majority, at least over the next couple of decades, is to intensify the GOP’s appeal to "missing white voters." Ed Kilgore at the Political Animal blog explains, Doubling Down on the White Man’s Party:
Immediately after the 2012 elections, Trende began arguing that the big story in the Obama/Romney contest was a major drop-off in white voting:
If we build in an estimate for the growth of the various voting-age populations over the past four years and assume 55 percent voter turnout, we find ourselves with about 8 million fewer white voters than we would expect given turnout in the 2008 elections and population growth.
Had the same number of white voters cast ballots in 2012 as did in 2008, the 2012 electorate would have been about 74 percent white, 12 percent black, and 9 percent Latino (the same result occurs if you build in expectations for population growth among all these groups). In other words, the reason this electorate looked so different from the 2008 electorate is almost entirely attributable to white voters staying home. The other groups increased their vote, but by less than we would have expected simply from population growth.
Trende quickly threw water on the idea—to which a lot of conservative readers might have immediately gone—that these “missing white voters” were southern evangelicals “discouraged” by Romney’s alleged moderation or his obvious Mormonism. In a subsequent article, published late last week, he was much more specific:
The drop in turnout occurs in a rough diagonal, stretching from northern Maine, across upstate New York (perhaps surprisingly, turnout in post-Sandy New York City dropped off relatively little), and down into New Mexico. Michigan and the non-swing state, non-Mormon Mountain West also stand out. Note also that turnout is surprisingly stable in the Deep South; Romney’s problem was not with the Republican base or evangelicals (who constituted a larger share of the electorate than they did in 2004).
For those with long memories, this stands out as the heart of the “Perot coalition.” That coalition was strongest with secular, blue-collar, often rural voters who were turned off by Bill Clinton’s perceived liberalism and George H.W. Bush’s elitism. They were largely concentrated in the North and Mountain West: Perot’s worst 10 national showings occurred in Southern and border states. His best showings? Maine, Alaska, Utah, Idaho, Kansas, Nevada, Montana, Wyoming, Oregon and Minnesota.
This profile of the “missing white voters” of 2012—which is suggestive rather than definitive, since the Perot “coalition” Trende’s talking about arose a full two decades ago—will smell like catnip to those proposing some sort of conservative “populist” makeover for the GOP. And it would also reinforce the idea that being opposed to immigration reform might (a) not really cost the GOP votes they had no realistic chance of winning anyway, and (b) appeal in a positive way to the “missing white voters” who are reflexively nativist.
In his latest piece in the series, Trende tries to put his numbers together into a future scenario, as part of an argument that winning a higher percentage of Latino voters isn’t the exclusive GOP survival strategy it’s cracked up to be.
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I’m less interested in Trende’s data than in the meme that may emerge from over-simplistic repetition of his bottom line by conservative gabbers with a big ax to grind, the important thing is that he projects Republicans could win presidential elections from 2016 through 2040 by gradually increasing its percentage of the white vote (which of course will have to turn out to an extent that it did not in 2012) even if minority voters tilt even more heavily to the Democrats than they do today.
This really just illustrates an overlooked point. Democrats liked to mock the GOP as the “Party of White People” after the 2012 elections. But from a purely electoral perspective, that’s not a terrible thing to be. Even with present population projections, there are likely to be a lot of non-Hispanic whites in this country for a very long time. Relatively slight changes among their voting habits can forestall massive changes among the non-white population for a very long while.
You can imagine the interpretation many on the Right will impose on Trende’s numbers: If we racially polarize the country, we win! And from that point of view, killing off an immigration bill they hate anyway, and which they believe will just create more Democratic voters, is really a no-brainer, and just the first step towards the winning white party of the future. Be forewarned.
Ed Kilgore follows up today, New Deal:
[A]t some point all those observers who assert or assume Republican obstruction of immigration reform disguises not only the hope that it is enacted, but a frantic need for its enactment, are going to have to come to grips with a strong counter-narrative. As I noted last week, conservatives are rapidly beginning to buy into the “missing white voter” hypothesis which makes the Latino vote, even in a presidential year, a minor consideration rather than an existential threat.
Taking the “missing white voter” meme seriously doesn’t necessarily mean accepting Sean Trende’s analysis of the numbers. But it does mean understanding how incredibly tempting it is (to use the phrase I’ve coined for other occasions, it’s a bottomless crack pipe) to conservatives who don’t want to change their ideology or make policy concessions to seek demographic salvation via a stronger appeal to white folks.
Rather than "rebrand" and "evolve," many on the conservative right would rather double-down on the Southern Strategy of white grievance and racial polarization than change their ways.
UPDATE: FAUX News buys into the "missing white voter" meme of Sean Trende. Hume: Hispanics Not As Important To GOP As White Voters (VIDEO): Fox News anchor Brit Hume called "baloney" Monday on the notion that House Republicans must help approve the immigration reform legislation that just passed the Senate, arguing that Hispanic voters are still not as important to the GOP as white voters.