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Whistling Dixie

© Brian McFadden

Every since Nixon’s “Southern Strategy” Republicans have been courting racists and bigots in the name of states rights, voter fraud laws, harsh and excessive drug laws aimed primarily at minorities, attacks on immigrants, “three strikes”, “stand your ground” and other racist laws. The one thing they can’t stand is someone actually, you know, being obvious about being a racist or a bigot — that’s a step too far.

So it is back to dog whistles for the GOP.



  1. Hassan wrote:

    Is conservatism inherently racist? Is libertarianism inherently racist?

    Definitely there are lot of racists in Republican party or tolerate it to win votes, but philosophically asking if the ideology itself racist.

    (my take libertarianism not racist, not bigoted at all, conservatism, not racist, but perhaps social conservatism be considered bigoted against gays etc)

    Monday, August 21, 2017 at 9:27 am | Permalink
  2. Hassan wrote:

    When did Mitt Romney with his 47% remarks (not remember exact words) talked about blacks or minorities? Perhaps liberals think that blacks/minorities are only one on social welfare.

    Monday, August 21, 2017 at 9:29 am | Permalink
  3. ThatGuy wrote:

    Hassan, the Southern Strategy is the answer to your questions. It relies heavily on implying that your tax dollars are going to Those People (read: inner-city brown people). Productive people in Real America (TM) pay taxes; thugs, strapping young bucks, and welfare queens in the Inner City (TM) live large with their microwaves and TVs on the fruits of your labor.

    The general way libertarianism and conservatism are discriminatory is because, at the end of the day, they cement the status quo, which is very good for wealthy white people and not so great for everyone else. Romney’s remarks are emblematic of how out of touch these ideologies are because that 47% is largely made up of people who aren’t expected to pay taxes in the first place, i.e. children and the elderly, while the people who benefit the most from the tax code were the very people he was speaking to.

    Monday, August 21, 2017 at 10:53 am | Permalink
  4. Hassan wrote:

    THATGUY, if I am not mistaken the southerners were democrats (union/fiscally liberal) but racist, and during the course of civil rights movement their racism and Republican tolerance and appeal for it took them there. But how did they transform or be open to fiscal conservatism? (I think they did not, and ended up being Trump voter)

    Monday, August 21, 2017 at 11:54 am | Permalink
  5. Hassan wrote:

    It is interesting though that things on paper and abstract might be quite different than their real application. To me libertarianism as theory is not racist at all, and minorities can benefit getting governments of their backs (any kind of minority). Yet perhaps as you mentioned in status quo, it may be hard to implement and sell to minorities that this will save them.

    Monday, August 21, 2017 at 11:57 am | Permalink
  6. Wildwood wrote:

    I’m typing this sitting in my very hot driveway waiting for Satan to hide the sun

    Hassan can you be more specific as to how government is on the backs of minorities? I’m not a minority so I would like to understand what could change to make them happier.

    Monday, August 21, 2017 at 12:06 pm | Permalink
  7. ThatGuy wrote:

    Hassan, I’m not sure I take your meaning from post 5. Indeed, prior to the mid-20th century, the parties’ stances on civil rights were more or less reversed. The voting portion of the south (whites, since, you know…) voted Democrat essentially out of spite for Lincoln Republicans and to keep colored people in their place. Beginning (somewhat) with FDR and gaining strength under Kennedy and LBJ, Democrats started to eat the GOP’s lunch on Civil Rights issues.

    Nixon and his ilk saw how to flip the script on a national level, and it was to turn hard-conservative on racial issues. This has continued up to the present day, with Democrats and Republicans now occupying completely opposite ends of the Civil Rights spectrum compared to the post-Civil War pre-Civil Rights era.

    As to libertarianism, consider the not-unreasonable theory that government can be helpful. It can ensure one does not face discrimination based on race, religion, gender, etc. It can provide education, medicine, training, and the numerous elements of the safety net. Libertarians buck all that, and cling to the invisible hand of the market and the (for some) mythological bootstraps. It’s the status quo. The rich are rich, the poor are poor, and everyone is on their own so that’s unlikely to change. Not to mention the hands-off approach on regulation, which means development and pollution happen where the rich are okay with and where the poor can’t do anything about it.

    Libertarianism, in my opinion, is less overtly racist than the current GOP mantras, if at all. But it shares all the elements of GOP dogma that are harmful to everyone who isn’t already fairly well off.

    Monday, August 21, 2017 at 1:30 pm | Permalink
  8. ThatGuy wrote:

    Oops… Missed your distinction on the fiscal matters… my fault.

    As far as I know, Republicans were hands-off economically before the Civil Rights era, hence FDR’s New Deal as a response to Hoover’s nothingism. I could be wrong though.

    But in essence, the Southern Strategy assumes racists vote on one issue: race. This is why the Trump coalition surprised people. Ryan and McConnell and so on down the line (right through the GOP primary contenders) were shocked that people in middle America didn’t give half a whit about free trade and weren’t so hot on gutting Social Security or Medicare. Trump turned the Southern Strategy dog whistles into a bullhorn and pulled economic nationalists (white union workers, for one) by ditching GOP orthodoxy on free trade and entitlements. He’s gone back on a lot of this, but it got him where he needed to go.

    At least, that’s my take.

    Monday, August 21, 2017 at 1:35 pm | Permalink