Sunday, November 2, 2008

gop out for a generation?

This presidential election was always the Democrats' to lose. They won't. Obama will take at least 353 electoral college votes. (My bet is 364, see Intrade.com.) Even if McCain took all the so-called toss-up states, he would still not have the 270 votes needed to win. Democrats will increase control of the House and Senate.

I am afraid this election may be a turning point, as bad as 1964, in terms of the GOP becoming a minority party for a very long time.

In 1964 the Civil Rights Act was passed. A majority of Democrat Senators, mostly from the South, opposed the bill which was only passed because of the courageous stand of Senate Republicans. In 1964, Republican Candidate Goldwater of Arizona voted against the Civil Rights Act. He carried only his home state and a few states in the Old South. African-American voters were up to that time pretty equally divided between the two parties. It has been about 90% for the Democrats since. Couple this with President Nixon's Southern Strategy a few years later, and Black Americans permanently became the strongest supporters of the Democrat Party.

Now the GOP is offending an even larger minority group, a group of generally socially conservatives which should be drawn to the Republicans. President Bush was making inroads but Republicans have lost the Hispanic vote due to the vocal opposition to immigration reform. The irony is that McCain is losing states like Colorado and especially New Mexico because of the reaction of Hispanics despite supporting immigration reform. Immigration reform almost killed his chances for his party's nomination in late 2007.

The primary, but certainly not the only, motivation for the shrill and hostile reaction to immigration reform is racist. Hispanics recognize the racism, or at least the appeal to racism by outspoken Republicans.

Barry Goldwater was not racist and had principled reasons for opposing the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Not all who oppose immigration reform today are racist, but the appeal to bigotry should not be denied. Even if you are a Republican who does deny it, you should find the long term impact on our political process tragic.

If you are a Democrat, try not to gloat over the self-inflicted wound of the now, and for a long time to come, minority party.

Be blessed.
RB

P.S. For an interesting take on immigration, please read her post from last week.

No comments: