The Last Race War – 2012 is the Last Gasp of Whites-Only Republicanism
History will write that Republican Harry Dent invented the modern Whites-Only Party in the late 1960s with something called the Southern Strategy. Republican Barry Goldwater was the first beneficiary. Republican Richard Nixon rode it to the White House. Republican Ronald Reagan won on it. Republican George Bush senior Willie-Hortonized it and the younger George Bush – to his lasting credit – tried to get away from it.
And less than fifty years later, the Republican Southern Strategy is now breathing its last gasp. Good riddance.
It may already be a bridge too far. For the first time in recorded history, a poll of likely voters found zero percent of black voters who said they would vote for the Republican, Mitt Romney. Republicans will make all kind of rationalizations about this, but the bottom line is that today’s Republican Party is FWBW – For Whites, By Whites. Members of the party are 92 percent white – the highest percentage since Reconstruction. In fact, until the invention of the Southern Strategy, the Party of Lincoln was the choice of most black people.
Still the party’s standard bearer, Mitt Romney, has settled on one more try at a whites-only election strategy.
Since 66 percent of all voters are still white, it is still mathematically possible. But with no black votes and as few as 25 percent of Hispanic votes, Romney will need to get over sixty percent of white votes. That’s a near impossibility since he still trails among white women and, of course, white Democrats. Romney’s chances are somewhat better in swing states, where Hispanics are only eight percent of voters. He can win most of these states, even though he isn’t currently.
In any event, this is clearly the last time whites-only has any chance of winning a national election. Plenty of party insiders, especially Jeb Bush, will tell you that the party risks permanent minority status unless it can find a new way to reach out to black people and Hispanics and Muslims. But when Jeb Bush is your leading go-to guy for Latino issues, you’ve already got a big problem. The other Hispanic voice, Marco Rubio, seems to lose appeal beyond the Cuban community, a small subset of Hispanics not particularly respected or beloved by everyone else. That leaves an effective governor, Susan Martinez, as perhaps the legitimate first wave of a new kind of Republican leader that can attract a new kind of Republican voter.Continued on the next page