Trashing Tea Party Talking Points: White Supremacist Defection to the GOP
Battling the mishmash of specious logic and perverted facts that pass for reason with Faux News lobotomized Tea Party Republicans can be infuriating. George Orwell would, one would think, be quite distressed at how completely the GOP has adopted the double-speak of the fictional totalitarian government in his monumental work: 1984. One of the most facile and patently ridiculous conceits teabaggers like to whip out of their grab bag of Koch penned talking points is: The Democrat Party is the party of the Klan and White Supremacy. Well, that’s pure teabagger hogwash, as we all know. In this piece, you’ll learn how to easily tear your crazy uncle’s faulty logic to shreds. And, perhaps, you may win a few converts in the process. Not your crazy uncle, of course: he’ll never change. But undecided parties interested in the facts may be listening.
The formation of the Dixiecrat party in 1948 is the beginning of the long tale of racist defection from the Democratic Party to the GOP. In 1948 the Southern Democrat bloc broke away from mainstream over Jim Crow and white supremacy. Hubert Humphrey insisted the Democrats include a Civil Rights plank in the national platform and 35 southern delegates walked out. The Dixiecrats responded by choosing Governor of South Carolina, well-known racist, and renowned brown sugar aficionado J. Strom Thurmond for their candidate. The Dixiecrats campaigned to have their candidate certified as the Democrat candidate across the south but succeeded in only Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and South Carolina. They ran as a third-party in the rest of the Southern states.
At this point a more recently informed teabagger—no way to call them well-informed, that being an oxymoron—may try to paint the modern Democratic Party with the Dixiecrat brush. It’s the perfect opportunity to trap them in the fetid fecundity of their fallacious logic. The Dixiecrat Party Platform consisted of strong affirmation of state’s rights, strict constitutional interpretation, opposition to a centralized totalitarian federal government, and a refutation of federal legislation to ensure equality and civil rights—e.g. opposition to the Voting Rights Act and Affirmative Action. Or, in other words, boiler plate, teabagger.
To add insult to white trash injury, Harry Truman created the President’s Committee on Civil Rights in 1948 as well and ended racial discrimination in the US military: Please note both were Democrats. Now’s a good time to challenge your crazy uncle to name civil rights and or pro-labor legislation passed by Republicans in the past 50 years? How about 100?
In 1964, white supremacist dissatisfaction with an ever more inclusive and multicultural Democratic Party kicked into overdrive. The KKK as well as the Koch financed John Birch and, later, Tea Party radicals have all defected to the GOP in the period since. The passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by L.B.J. fueled the defection. Fully aware of the act’s import, after the bill became law L.B.J. observed: “I fear we have lost the South for a generation.” The GOP wasted no time fulfilling this prophecy with the adoption the “Southern Strategy,” brain fart of Richard Millhouse Nixon, which capitalized on white anger over said Civil Rights Act to turn the South Red. To be fair these were turbulent times and it took the Southern Strategy years to yield the solid Red South we see today. Along with the failed Dixiecrat revolt there was the third party candidacy of segregationist George Wallace to muddy the waters. In fact, one might say George Wallace’s failed bid was the dying gasp of Southern attempts to create their own white supremacist party.
The arrival of Ronald Wilson Reagan and the Fundamentalist Protestant Moral Majority led by Jerry Falwell signaled the beginning of the New Right. One of the main policy prerogatives of the New Right under Reagan and Bush was a hyper expansion of the War on Drugs (WOD) and the mass long-term incarceration of millions of, mostly, people of color. The WOD is, of course, a product of the Jim Crow system and white Fundamentalist Protestant racial and ethnic hate. (See also: America’s War on Drugs: An Ongoing Moral Panic)
Now we move to more recent history. Starting with abject failure and acme of incompetence George W. Bush, defection of white Southerners to the GOP has become complete, and the Southern Strategy has yielded near absolute GOP dominance across the South. Bush carried the South in his two elections; although to be fair he got Florida on a cheat in 2000. McCain carried the southern states including, Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas. Even witless Mitt the Twit Romney, a weak candidate by any standards, won the Confederacy. Further, while the Democrats have carried the South in the elections they won with Southern candidates, the Southern Strategy was an important factor in every GOP victory.
Fast forward to today. Upon the inauguration of the first US President of color, the GOP—led by Southern Senator Mitch Mc Connell—vowed to make Barack Obama a one term president. Further they have sought to undermine and obstruct his agenda at every opportunity. From the seemingly endless battle over the Affordable Health Care Act—including Red State denials of the Medicaid expansion and a seventeen day Tea Party led government shutdown—to false outrage over the regrettable deaths at the US embassy outpost in Benghazi—especially given the free pass George W. Bush got on more than fifty successful embassy attacks, not to mention the three thousand dead in the greatest security failure in US history on 911—to recalcitrant Tea Party obstruction of Obama appointees—culminating with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to invoking the nuclear option after the filibuster of three highly qualified appointments to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals—the GOP has sought to obstruct this president using every dirty trick in the book and even invented a few.
Add to that the Republican controlled SCOTUS gutting the Voting Rights Act and Affirmative Action and concomitant voter suppression efforts reminiscent of Jim Crow in every GOP controlled state house, and the party of today’s Klansmen, Birchers, Neo-Nazis, Tea Party radicals and other assorted bigots and misogynist is clearly the GOP.
Tell your crazy uncle he’s now free to go back to letting the minions at Faux News drill Koch penned talking points into his atrophied noggin’ and lying to himself about who represents his interest so he can confirm his petty prejudices.
Citations: Dixiecrat. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.