The following “emperor has no clothes” moment of truth-telling comes from a white Republican, Laurence Wilkerson, Colin Powell’s former chief-of-staff:
“My party, unfortunately, is the bastion of those people — not all of them, but most of them — who are still basing their positions on race. Let me just be candid: My party is full of racists, and the real reason a considerable portion of my party wants President Obama out of the White House has nothing to do with the content of his character, nothing to do with his competence as commander-in-chief and president, and everything to do with the color of his skin, and that’s despicable, . . .”
Crisp and clean and no caffeine. It’s so refreshing when someone speaks the truth. Here’s some more truth: in a recent AP poll,
Republicans were more likely than Democrats to express racial prejudice in the questions measuring explicit racism […]
And what percentage of Republicans expressed explicit racism to AP pollsters? 79 percent.
Seventy. Nine. Percent.
Here’s Ray Teixeira, who does a good deal of his writing for The Democratic Strategist website:
[E]very cycle it becomes more difficult [for Republicans] to depend on getting an increasing share of the white vote to win. In this economy that may be feasible. I think they’ll ultimately fall short, but they’ll get close.
Responding to Teixeira, John Avlon of Newsweek writes this:
In the largest sense, it’s unhealthy for our 21st Century democracy to be this divided along racial lines. This is a problem that President Obama inherited—after signing the Voting Rights Act, LBJ famously said to his press secretary, Bill Moyers, “We just delivered the South to the Republicans for your generation and mine”—and it has been compounded by the fever pitch of polarization.
To heal this divide, both parties need to do a better job appealing to voters beyond their base. For Republicans, it could eventually become an existential problem driven by the bitter irony that the Party of Lincoln is on the wrong side of history when it comes to diversity.
For Democrats, the cost could be more devastating in the short term—the reelection loss of the first African-American president.
I actually think Avlon, in the interest of “balance,” overstates the problem on Obama’s side. Actually, it was Obama’s determination, against the strong advice of academic economists, to save General Motors (a white blue-collar issue) that has him leading in polls in the Midwest. The race issue, truth be told, is a Republican problem: where it once benefited Republicans to play the race card, it’s now starting to seriously cost them.
Above image of a racist at a Romney rally comes from here.