Just recently, several conservative commentators accused the Obama campaign of “playing the race card.” Coming from anyone associated with the R’s, this is rich.
The R’s developed their “Southern strategy” in the late 1960’s, hoping to capitalize on the antipathy of Southern whites toward the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act. Indeed, the only states carried Barry Goldwater in Lyndon Johnson’s landslide victory in 1964, other than his home state of Arizona, were the deep South states of Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. This appeal to the baser side of Southern white voters elected Richard Nixon in 1968 and reelected him in 1972. Indeed, the only Presidential elections won by Democrats in the forty years between 1968 and 2008 were those in which they nominated candidates from the South…Jimmy Carter in 1976 and Bill Clinton in 1992 and 1996.
And with each election cycle, the R’s have moved a little further to the right and become a little more…well…racist. Along the way they’ve alienated nearly every ethnic and racial group in the country. In the last election, their candidate received exactly 6% of the African American vote and less than 30% of the Latino vote. And this election cycle, they’ve even managed, with their radically anti-abortion and anti-contraception stances, to alienate women of essentially every race and ethnicity.
Since the election of President Obama, we have seen the rise of birtherism on the right…embraced by a significant number of Republicans, including a prominent alleged billionaire and possible Presidential candidate who claimed to have “forced” the President to release his birth certificate. We have seen the rise of the Tea Party with their blatantly racist attacks on the President, covering his face with swastikas…and then seen the Tea Party seize control of the Republican Party.
It would appear that, in this election cycle the R’s have come to the conclusion that the only way they have a chance to win the Presidency is to turn out their base…white working class men…and their base only. They have recently launched a series of television ads decrying President Obama’s “gutting” of the work requirements in the Welfare Reform Act. Interestingly enough…aside from the fact that the claim is a blatant lie…all the workers in these ads, laboring while welfare cases collect their checks, are white. Governor Romney has embraced the support of Donald Trump, the birther-in-chief. Just last week, Governor Romney made a “joke” that no one ever asked him for his birth certificate. When Democrats called him on joining the birthers, Republicans accused them of “playing the race card”.
Democrats? Playing the race card? Really?