Is today's Republican Party still the party of Abraham Lincoln, the celebrated American president who fought the American civil war to end slavery in 1860s? How could the rank-and-file members of this party vote overwhelmingly for a racist xenophobic demagogue like Donald Trump
Nixon's Southern Strategy:
Republican Party stopped being the party of Lincoln when it deployed its "southern strategy" after the Democrats pushed through civil rights legislation, including voting rights act, under Democrat President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1960s.
President Richard Nixon's political advisor Kevin Phillips, analyzing 1948-1968 voting trends, saw the angry Southern white voters as ripe for Republican picking. Phillips helped the Republican party shift its national base to the South by appealing to whites' disaffection with liberal democratic racial and welfare policies.
President Nixon used this "Southern strategy" by promoting affirmative action in employment, a "wedge" issue that later Republicans would exploit to split the Democratic coalition of white working class and black voters. This strategy soon produced the racial party alignments that still exist today.
Conservative Party candidate Zac Goldsmith's unsuccessful campaign
for the mayor of London has been attacked by his critics as a "dog-whistle campaign" aimed at defeating Sadiq Khan, his British Pakistan Muslim opponent, the Labor candidate.
Republican election campaigns, particularly those waged in southern and mid-western states of the United States, have also been described as "dog-whistle" campaigns for the use of code words to appeal to white American voters.
A Wikipedia definition of Dog-whistle politics
goes as follows: It is political messaging employing coded language that appears to mean one thing to the general population but has an additional, different or more specific resonance for a targeted subgroup. The phrase is often used as a pejorative because of the inherently deceptive nature of the practice and because the dog-whistle messages are frequently distasteful to the general populace. The analogy is to a dog whistle, whose high-frequency whistle is heard by dogs but inaudible to humans.
What distinguishes Donald Trump's campaign from those of other Republicans? The key difference is that Trump has switched from the use of coded language to overt declarations of xenophobia.
For example, he has openly called Mexicans "criminals" and "rapists" who are "bringing drugs" to America.
Trump has encouraged his supporters to use violence against protesters, including African-American protesters who have been beaten and bloodied in Trump rallies.
Before declaring his candidacy for president, Trump led the "birther" movement to question President Obama's birth certificate in an attempt to de-legitimize the first African-American president of the United States.
Trump has attacked Muslims and called for a ban on entry of all Muslims to the United States.
Trump's overt use of racism, xenophobia and Islamophobia has drawn support for him from well-known American racists including members of the Ku Klux Klan and prominent Muslim-haters
Conservative Republican leaders like Paul Ryan respond to Trump's overtly racist rhetoric by claiming "it's not who we are". Given the Republican Party's extensive use of "Southern strategy", this claim by Ryan sounds hollow.
William F. Buckley, credited with the development of modern Republican Conservatism, did not hide his racism when he called white Americans as "the advanced race".
In a 1957 National Review editorial titled “Why the South Must Prevail", Buckley wrote that the Southern white community was “entitled to take such measures as are necessary to prevail, politically and culturally, in areas in which it does not predominate numerically?”
So Ryan's and his fellow Republicans argument that Republican Conservatism does not condone racism is just flat wrong.
American Demographic Changes:
What Trump and his fellow racists in the Republican Party do not realize is that today's America is very different from 1960s America in terms of demographics. Whites now account for a little less than 70% of the US electorate. And, even though the majority of white voters still vote Republican, this majority is not enough to win presidential elections.
Here's why Trump's win in November 2016 is unlikely: John McCain and Mitt Romney, the last two Republican candidates since 2008, won the majority of white votes
but failed to win the general election. Each of them got 60% of the 70% white votes that add up to 42% of the overall electorate. In addition, each of them got only 6% of Black votes and about 26% of the Asian and Hispanic votes that prevented them from gaining the overall majority needed to win. Trump's campaign rhetoric has managed to anger all minority groups, particularly Mexicans and Muslims
. He will get even fewer minority votes than McCain and Romney polled in the last two general elections.
Is Trump's campaign going to fail in the United States just like Goldsmith's Trump-like campaign has failed in London? Goldsmith's tactics of fear and division have backfired with a landslide win for Mayor Sadiq Khan in London. It's clearly a triumph of hope over fear, unity over division. Will Americans take their cue from Londoners to deal a historic defeat to Donald Trump
on Tuesday, November 8, 2016? Let all Americans of good-will come together to make it happen.
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