Second Wave of Backlash: Racism and the 2010 elections
The Republicans have won 60 seats in the House of Representatives. The media says it's the biggest change in an off-year election since 1948. The Republicans think this is proof of the validity of their anti-government message. Listening to the media, there is no discussion of the role of racism in these elections.
I have a strong sense of deja-vu. I remember back to the backlash election of Richard Nixon in 1968. I saw the backlash coming and I warned my fellow liberals about it. Most of them just laughed at the idea of a backlash. But looking back from 2010 it can clearly be seen that the Republicans made a pact with that old devil racism to win elections by primarily becoming a party identified with the whites and also identified against the blacks. This deal gave the Republicans a great deal of electoral success and they, for instance, controlled the executive branch of the government 70% of the time between 1968 until 1008 and the election of Barack Obama.
I remember back to the days of Governor George Wallace of Alabama and how he was a serious concern to the liberals in those days. He had a great deal of success and was a man to be reckoned with politically. Wallace was also a scary man, because he had all that anger and hate characteristic of so many hard-core racists. He was only stopped by bullets from a pistol of a would-be assassin in a shopping center in Maryland.
Of course, neither Wallace nor the Republicans in those days said they were primarily motivated by racism. No one, except the extreme rightwing, would be so foolish as to admit their real motives. So they talk about things like states-rights and fighting communists and socialists. This is a long trend in the USA: over-looking the extreme importance of racism on the nation itself and, especially, on its election outcomes.
At least with Wallace we knew that the man was a racist Alabaman from the deep South. This new brand of racism is more cleverly hidden by the Republican crowd. (It is more apparent in the tea party people, but, of course, they deny that racism is motivating them.)
The liberals were wrong about there not being a backlash back in the 1960s until today, but liberals don't like bad news and they go along with the pretense that race is not the primary motivator behind American electoral outcomes since 1964 and 1965 with the passage of key civil rights legislation. At least the liberal President Johnson saw the backlash coming. With the passage of the legislation he said that there goes the South out of the Democratic Party. And that certainly is true. The South went from pretty solid support for the Democratic Party to solid support of the racist Republican party. Why the switch? Racism.
And now we are in a period of ramping up of racism and racist impact on our elections. If Barack Obama had primarily pushed legislation that helped mostly the white people and was not primarily being perceived as helping the minorities, black and Hispanics, disproportionately, the rise of this new and meaner wave of backlash would not have happened.
Think about it for a moment. What were Obama's crimes that got the white public so stirred up against him? Well, he passed a health reform bill that helps millions of whites, but helps a greater proportion of blacks and Hispanics who are more likely to be poor. Rush Limbaugh saw this as just more civil rights legislation -- like something that liberal Johnson would have passed in the 1960s if had the power. This was Obama's crime. Trying to rectify the situation of a terrible lack of health care for the less fortunate. In most of the liberal criticisms of Obama this basic fact of the all powerful role of race in American is not recognized. They say he should have been more vocal and more pushy with his message. If a guy like Obama can't get through to the racists, how is anybody else going to get through to them, especially when the racists have their own racist network of communications that is opposed to the liberal mass media
This backlash is worse because it's farther to the right. All government is condemned and the tea party certainly flirts seriously with fascism or are fascists. George Bush and Dick Cheney certainly flirted with fascism. And now there grows a segment that is even too right-wing for the Republicans to deal with effectively. There is talk about internal dissension within the Republican party between the regular racists and the more-extreme racists.
Facts don't really matter to racists. Almost all of the advanced industrial societies have universal health coverage. Almost all of the members of the advanced industrial societies pay higher taxes than Americans. This isn't about high taxes, it's about what higher taxes will be used for: to favor the whites or favor the blacks and browns.
I know that I am shouting against the wind. I know that even the liberals don't want to recognize the role of racism in our history and culture. But I still have to shout it out because it is a duty of sorts to speak out now against these days of evil. The liberals will go on being rosy-eyed optimists and the conservatives will go on being black-eyed pessimists, but one thing for sure: neither group will admit the role of race and racism in the United States and we will continue on with this massive pretense.
Patrick Louis Cooney, Ph. D.
November 3, 2010
Just listening to Paul Krugman on television argue that the election blowout was just people expressing their dissatisfaction with the economy. Well then, why didn't blacks and Hispanics vote against the Democrats and for the Republicans, because they have been hurt the worst by this economy? Why was it just these racist whites who voted against Obama? Just a little while ago, the talk was about just how racist might these tea baggers be and now it seems everyone doesn't even mention race. And why all the anti-Mexican campaign ads, if racism played not part in the election? The argument shared by seemingly even the liberals is just ridiculous. The gap between the voting patterns of the whites on the one hand and the blacks and browns on the other is so huge, you just can't explain the election as a protest against the economy.
The conservatives say the Republicans won't make the same economic mistakes as before. They are lying to themselves and to everyone else. The Republican Party is going to keep the super expensive tax cut for the already wealthy and stop virtually all regulation of Wall Street. The Republicans didn't get more liberal on the economy, they just got more conservatively extremist and less like to solve our economic woes. No, the primary protest of the whites was against the liberal policies that help blacks and browns proportionally more than the whites.
I guess Krugman and the other liberals would deny the influence of racism even on the White Backlash against the civil rights legislation of 1964 and 1965 when we know that race was the primary factor.
I don't mean to pick on Krugman. He's good. I am complaining about all the weak-lilied liberals, who are extra-afraid to mention race now since they are so scared by the election outcome backlash, even if they won't admit it.
November 7, 2010
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