In the 1970’s, Nixon began to win over southern whites to the GOP by appealing to middle-class, suburban voters. The Left called the “Southern Strategy” racist because that’s what they do, but it was really just a strong defense of normal, middle-class values. In the face of the liberal onslaught on normalcy, those southern whites out in the burbs started to reconsider their long relationship with the Democrat Party. The Left squealed about “code words” and racism, as they just assume all whites in the South are racists. The fact is those early converts to the GOP were the southern whites looking to close the books on segregation and racial strife.
This argument carried on through the 80’s as the transformation of the South from Democrat to Republican was completed. If you know your Faulkner, Nixon converted the Compsons, while Reagan brought over the Snopes clan.
In fairness, race did play a role. After the 60’s, urban blacks rioting and looting became the face of disorder, the great enemy of the suburban burghers who fled the city for the suburbs. In the 1970’s, many of those people living in suburbia were there because their city neighborhoods collapsed in the 1960’s. The liberal enthusiasm for mayhem was amplified when they backed groups like the Panthers and the Nation of Islam. Nixon’s appeals to law and order naturally carried with them the image of the black rioter. He did not have to mention any of this. It was simply understood.
The thing about the Left is they tend to go craziest when applying their faults to their enemies. No one has cynically used race as a political weapon like the American Left. LBJ built his career long before the Civil Rights Movement on the back of race. He would appeal to blacks for votes and then use that support to lever support from the Texas elite. His cynical use of race as President still casts a shadow over the nation. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was as much about funneling tax money into the Democratic Party as anything else. It also made blacks a reliable voting black that the party could take for granted.
Steve Sailer links to and comments upon a story in the NYTimes about how the Left is trying to use the Ferguson riot as a get out the vote tool. It says something about our times when the Times can report on something like this without bothering to notice the evil of it. The banality of the report is what’s shocking.
With their Senate majority imperiled, Democrats are trying to mobilize African-Americans outraged by the shooting in Ferguson, Mo., to help them retain control of at least one chamber of Congress for President Obama’s final two years in office.
In black churches and on black talk radio, African-American civic leaders have begun invoking the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, along with conservative calls to impeach Mr. Obama, as they urge black voters to channel their anger by voting Democratic in the midterm elections, in which minority turnout is typically lower.
“Ferguson has made it crystal clear to the African-American community and others that we’ve got to go to the polls,” said Representative John Lewis, Democrat of Georgia and a civil-rights leader. “You participate and vote, and you can have some control over what happens to your child and your country.”
The push is an attempt to counter Republicans’ many advantages in this year’s races, including polls that show Republican voters are much more engaged in the elections at this point — an important predictor of turnout.
What the Left is doing is encouraging blacks to riot. Think about that for a second. Appealing to voters on the basis of civil order can be racist, but it is not racist in itself. Order is what you must have in a civil and sane society. The Left is turning this on its head and telling their constituents that only through mayhem can they attain a civil and sane society. “Burn baby, burn” is fine when you’re sacking the village. It’s madness when it is your village.
Mr. Lewis is headlining efforts to mobilize black voters in several states with competitive Senate races, including Arkansas, Louisiana and North Carolina. The drive is being organized by the Congressional Black Caucus, in coordination with the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. Other steps, such as recruiting N.B.A. players to help register more African-Americans, are also underway.
Anyone who has read and understands Invisible Man will be reminded of the scene where the narrator examines the paper doll Clifton is selling. The Sambo doll is a metaphor for the life of the narrator and for blacks in America, maybe even the world. Kwame Nkrumah was a fan of the book and the metaphor. Specifically, whites manipulate blacks in the same way a puppeteer manipulates the puppet. The point is to entertain the patrons of the puppeteer. Mr. Lewis has volunteered to be the puppet for this latest drive by SWPL-ville to keep their enemies at bay.
While Democrats always seek to increase African-American turnout, that they are taking such aggressive steps to rally their most loyal constituency reflects the increasingly difficult landscape they face. In recent weeks, seats in Colorado, Iowa and New Hampshire, once expected to tilt toward the Democrats, have become more competitive. Mr. Obama’s approval rating has tumbled below 40 percent in states with some of the most competitive races, and Republicans already seem assured to win at least three of the six seats they need to take back the Senate.
And the terrain is tricky: Many of the states where the black vote could be most crucial are also those where Mr. Obama is deeply unpopular among many white voters. So Democratic senators in places like Arkansas, Louisiana and North Carolina must distance themselves from the nation’s first African-American president while trying to motivate the black voters who are his most loyal constituents.
One of the fascinating things about the Left is the urge to commit suicide. In the 1990’s, they looked at the Clinton model and rejected it. The Clinton model was an old fashioned blend of agrarian populism and high brow elitism. Clinton could mix it up with the ruling class, but also hang out with the servant class. Reagan had this same quality, but without the seedy grubbiness we got with the Clintons. Bubba was a dirtbag who cleaned up well. Reagan was an aristocrat with the common touch.
The Left hated this and worked to destroy it, even as it put the GOP in the majority from 1994 through 2006. Obama was dumb luck. His team was great at running two campaigns, but they got lucky with the perfect candidate for the moment. Hillary would have won in 2008, but would have lost in 2012. She would have been a better president than Obama, but she lacks the unique appeal of Obama. Obama motivated the black vote in ways no one else will do and he got the SWPL vote out writing checks.
The thing is, the Obama approach works once. It’s why his vote fell off in 2012. You can only be the first black President one time. You can only be the Progressive Messiah once. It’s not that the coalition that supported Obama is temporary. It’s that its natural size is not enough to win elections. Without some way to get these people infuriated enough to vote in bulk, it is a loser hand. 2010 was a GOP blowout, despite the fact even the most loyal Republican thinks the party is run by idiots. 2014 is looking like another blowout, even though the GOP is just a little more popular than cancer.