Far from being a transformational figure in the South, Obama has instead reinforced the region’s oldest and sturdiest divide.Bless their hearts.
He’s hardly the only one at fault.
They're trying to be so sweet about it that I'd sure hate to ruin their buzz with boring old history. So far be it from me to mention the fact that the Republicans cooked all this up decades ago and even gave it a name...they called it the Southern Strategy. Please excuse me for some language that is about to appear. But I'm sure the Republicans I'm about to quote meant this in the sweetest possible way.
First of all, here's then-Republican strategist Kevin Phillips in 1970.
From now on, the Republicans are never going to get more than 10 to 20 percent of the Negro vote and they don't need any more than that... but Republicans would be shortsighted if they weakened enforcement of the Voting Rights Act. The more Negroes who register as Democrats in the South, the sooner the Negrophobe whites will quit the Democrats and become Republicans. That's where the votes are. Without that prodding from the blacks, the whites will backslide into their old comfortable arrangement with the local Democrats.Or how about Lee Atwater - another Republican strategist - in 1981?
You start out in 1954 by saying, "Nigger, nigger, nigger." By 1968 you can't say "nigger"—that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states' rights and all that stuff. You're getting so abstract now [that] you're talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you're talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites.That kind of thing was going on 30-40 years ago. Its surely not too much to ask that our first African American president simply say "poof" and all those years of stoking the hate will just magically disappear, is it? Its not like the Republicans continue to stoke the fear and hate to this day.
All snark aside for a moment though, I did spit coffee all over my computer screen when I read this from the Politico piece.
The South, like the rest of the country, is a complicated place. It’s at once the heart of the Obama resistance but also a region that is crucial to his reelection hopes. If he loses Florida, North Carolina and Virginia, it’s a virtual certainty that he’ll be a one-term president.Oh really???? What an idiot!
In the final analysis though, the author is actually the one who seems to be living in the past when it comes to the political consequences of the racial divide. He never once mentions that going forward the big change is all going to be about the overwhelming support of Latinos for Democrats and the fact that unless there are some dramatic changes, a southern state like Texas is going to go blue by 2025.