Why blatant racism doesn’t alienate Republican moderates anymore

Why blatant racism doesn't alienate Republican moderates anymore

by digby

There aren't any, at least when it comes to race. They're either racists themselves or they just don't care about it as long as they get their tax cuts:

Over the past 30 years, the parties have diverged, driven by elite strategies: with Democrats tying racial liberalism to economic liberalism and conservatives using racist appeals to undermine support for the welfare state. This process has taken time, because most Americans don’t pay close attention to politics, and because political attitudes are set early in life and remain sticky. The Republican Party is full of people who subscribe to racist views, while Democrats are increasingly liberal on issues of race. The result of this realignment is that Republicans are less concerned about alienating their base with racial ads. Summarizing their recent research showing that explicitly racist appeals are no longer enough to change respondents’ views on policies, political scientists Nicholas Valentino, Fabian Neuner, and Matthew Vandenbroek conclude that “Many of our subjects simply did not reject political arguments that explicitly derogate Black Americans.” It’s clear that Republican politicians have internalized this lesson. In New Jersey, Kim Guadagno is running Willie Horton–style ads in a race she’s almost certain to lose. In Virginia, white male House of Delegate candidates are sending out racist mailers attacking Latina candidates over non-existent sanctuary cities. And elected Republicans like Steve King openly flirt with white-supremacist rhetoric. It’s hard to claim, as some political scientists once did, that candidates would face electoral penalties for explicit racism. And it’s about to get much worse.

Read the whole piece. It's a very interesting look at the politics of race and explains why as much as we'd all like to pretend that if we can just come up with the right unifying message about money, everything will fall into place., it's just not likely. The parties are going to be fighting on these grounds whether we like it or not. It's not just a moral imperative --- which it certainly is --- it's also the only strategic choice.