White vs. “those people”

Thomas Edsall explores the Republican Party strategy to appeal only to white voters. He mentions surveys suggesting that when white people are asked to express opinions or attitudes about minorities eventually becoming the majority in the U.S. they cling even more strongly to their racial bias. The sentiment is clearly on display during mid-term elections, which helps explain why extremely conservative white guys get elected and re-elected to Congress, especially from southern states. Edsall:

For many on the right, the various elements of the contemporary conservative belief system – from abortion to gun rights, taxes to immigration, welfare to same-sex marriage – now form a coherent, interlocking whole. The trick for Republicans in their quest to maintain white majoritarian hegemony is to allow this fusion of issues to do its mobilizing work at a subliminal level, without triggering widespread resistance to explicit manifestations of bias and race prejudice.

One big problem with the GOP is the difference between old and young, even among whites. Old white people voted overwhelmingly for Mitt Romney, whereas younger white voters are far more liberal. Obama garnered support from the young and minorities, and the country is moving inexorably toward brown. Edsall concludes:

Republican prospects of reversing negative trends among minority voters are not good. The party’s nominees have received a steadily declining share of the nonwhite electorate over the past three elections, just as the proportion of nonwhite voters in general elections has grown steadily. But it is going to take much more than Karl Rove’s columns and white papers issued by the Republican National Committee for the party to abandon a 50-year-old strategy that depends on tapping racial resentment in all of its forms, particularly when there is new research to suggest that this strategy is not entirely obsolete — precisely because the world is changing as quickly as it is.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s