electoral stragegy, GOP strategy, missouri, Phyllis Schlafly, racial polarization, racism, republicans
A few weeks ago, I wrote that Phyllis Schlafly, Missouri’s conservative grande dame, was arguing that the GOP had to stop all that unseemly outreach to the lesser, brown people and concentrate on building its white support. Recently, Sean Trende has attempted to do the demographic analyses that show that it’s possible that the GOP could retain political power until the 2040s by doing just that. Perhaps Trende’s right, but there are, nevertheless, some potential problems with his analyses. As Steve Benen notes:
How would the Republican Party increase its share of the white vote to 70%? I don’t know. In fact, the more I think about it, I’m not sure I want to know. But for Trende, that’s not really the point — if the GOP pulls that off, the demographic time bomb is put off until around 2040.
As a matter of statistics, I suppose it’s a reasonable enough argument, but there are some relevant troubles with the thesis.
For one thing, there’s the question of heightened polarization. The more the GOP takes deliberate steps to pander to white voters to boost white turnout — or as Kilgore put it, double down on being the “White Man’s Party” — the more it risks alienating everyone else, including moderate and liberal whites.
There’s also a generational issue — for Trende’s thesis to work in the coming years, white turnout would have to go up quite a bit, but younger whites tend to be more liberal and Democratic. In other words, the GOP would need more votes from the very folks who are, at the risk of sounding indelicate, dying off.
And don’t forget the white female vote, threatened by GOP embrace of evangelical social authoritarianism, the growing number of young Latinos born in the U.S. to parents already here and, consequently, able to vote, etc. and etc.
These and similar objections, however, haven’t stopped Schlafly from banging the “Whites Only” drum. Most of what she has to say is the usual conservative ho-hum to the effect that Latinos don’t have what it takes to understand Democracy and, hence, would never vote for Republicans. Of course, it might strike a perceptive individual that Schlafly has that particular contingency backwards. Most progressives, after all, are very familiar with the Bill of Rights and Constitutional democratic principles that Schlafly thinks too elevated for the Latino consciousness, and I think we can all agree that they’re none too apt to ever vote Republican.
As a matter of fact, an excellent and very clever letter to the editor of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch today suggested that the recent Missouri state legislative session indicates that our state legislators need to be tested on their knowledge of the Constitution before they’re allowed to take office. Given the writer’s main example of unconstitutional, time-wasting legislation – Brian “Maddog” Nieves effort to nullify federal gun laws – there could be no doubt that this writer has abandoned any illusions that conservatives revere or even understand the Constitution. Schlafly’s really got it wrong this time.
Schlafly is even more confused about the intersection of sexuality, conservatism and liberalism – at least as far it relates to childbearing:
I don’t [think?] they have Republican inclinations at all, […] They’re running an illegitimacy rate that’s just about the same as blacks are.
Is Schlafly implying that Democrats are all B*****ds? Or only African-American Democrats? Or does she think all Democrats are African-American? No matter which option you choose, I here to tell you Schlafly’s mighty confused and I’m mighty offended (and my African-American cohorts ought to take this very deeply to heart so that they don’t forget it if they’re ever inclined to endorse a Republican for public office).
No matter what she’s implying about me and mine, you and yours, what’s clear as day is that Schlafly is claiming the GOP for lily white, octogenarian racists, folks, come to think of it, just like Phyllis Schlafly. Fine and good. As Jordan Fabian of ABC News puts it:
The GOP has lost the popular vote in five of the last six presidential elections exactly by pursuing this type of strategy.
More power to ’em, I say.