What Dave Bratt Means

I see Dave Bratt as signalling two big things: (1) Republicans will solidify their image as anti-Hispanic over the next couple of years, making it harder for them to win national elections (especially in the 2020s); and (2) Hillary has a big problem: she’s too cozy with the rich. Cantor’s fate could be hers.

Put another way, Bratt’s election signals that the populist, Tea Party Republican’s passion over the next couple of election cycles will be centered around freeloading. Not just the freeloading of the poor and illegal immigrants, but the freeloading of crony capitalists and non-patriotic international capitalists (for example, the Wall Street “banksters”). Middle class whites are furious with all forms of what they perceive as freeloading, and anxious about don’t-pay-as-you-go behavior. And this anger and anxiety bleeds over into the psyches of independents and Democrats as well (though they are less likely to express them openly). Left-wing resentment toward the crony/internationalist hyper-rich is mating with right-wing resentment of the poor, the brown, the immigrant. That’s what Dave Bratt signals. Nationally, it suggests that a Rand Paul or Ted Cruz battle with Hillary Clinton for the presidency in 2016 could be a closer contest than we might now imagine.

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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2 Responses to What Dave Bratt Means

  1. Staffan says:

    It’s simplistic to view anti-immigration and anti-Hispanic as synonymous. According to PEW, 46 percent of Hispanics worry about friends and family members being deported, but 41 percent also agree that granting legal status will reward illegal behavior. And as they move up the social ladder (which many do) you will find that they are not what anthropologist refer to as WEIRD or guilt/dignity culture people who always want to help others. The won’t pay for other minorities. It’s a rather complicated situation and it’s hard to know how it will play out in the short and long term.

    • Santi Tafarella says:

      Everything is complicated, but this anti-immigrant tape played already in California in the early 1990s. National Republicans better learn how to play nice with Hispanics. If they can’t or won’t, their fate will likely be the same as that of the Republican Party in California (irrelevance a decade or two from now). You can’t win anymore in America primarily appealing to whites and masculine/marshal/traditionalist values.

      Populist libertarianism might keep Republicans in the game.

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