Let us note (not mourn) the passing of Kevin Phillips, whose book of 1969, The Emerging Republican Majority, laid out the path of electoral victory for Republicans, which they have followed to this day. Phillips urged the party to appeal to working-class white voters angry at African-Americans for asserting their Civil Rights, which the Nixon campaign called their “Southern Strategy,” utilizing the phrases “law and order,” “crime in the streets,” “drug dealers,” and “welfare cheats,” instead of up-front spouting racial slurs; white voters would hear these phrases, and let their racially-stereotyped thinking do the rest, ginning up anger and resentment against uppity minorities. (https://www.phillytrib.com/commentary/the-gops-southern-strategy-mastermind-just-died-heres-his-legacy/article_4abdb10b-af22-5bb1-aa60-2d3b06c3e2d1.html)
This has proven to be a recipe for social disaster; instead of bringing people together to solve mutual problems, and bringing people of all races together, Phillip’s formula has fostered racial anxiety and division, keeping Americans at odds with each other. And the news media, as far as I can see, has acted like it’s been a stroke of political genius, guaranteed to continually keep Republicans in the White House and other offices—but what about the real business of governing? What about public safety, schools, water/sewer, defense, housing? Public policy from such elections has produced ideas that shift the blame on the afflicted minorities, talking about them being oversexed, drugged up, lazy and ignorant, which is built on the stereotypes the Southern Strategy promotes.
The Republicans who bewail what t—p has done to their precious party aren’t innocent of this; some variation or another of the Southern Strategy, like Ronald Reagan, in 1980, proclaiming “I believe in states’ rights” in the Mississippi community where the Civil Rights workers—Michael Schwerner, Andrew Goodman, and James Chaney (glory to their names!) were killed by the Ku Klux Klan (https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/the-kkk-kills-three-civil-rights-activists); the 1988 campaign of George HW Bush, which featured photos of Willy Horton, “the scary Black rapist” supposedly out on the loose; and the constant promoting of the “birther” movement, which harped the idea that Barrack Obama was really born in Kenya, and they demanded his birth certificate but where never satisfied; and now we have this alleged capitalist business whiz of a real-estate developer, who cheated on his contractors, his taxes, his wives, and his golf, but has been so adored by evangelical Christian voters.
I advocate public policies what would uplift and unite the people, ALL of them, and do not look down on anybody, be it the homeless, drug addicted, unemployed, or in some way or another marginalized.
Ain’t this a trip? At this writing, the House members of the Republican Party, the “law and order” party currently infested with authoritarian ideas, can’t pull themselves together to elect a new speaker, after Kevin McCarthy resigned. Jim Jordan of Ohio, has failed three times to be elected Speaker, and the Republican caucus has been throwing up names of their members crazy enough to take the job, and crazy enough to attain support from the MAGA base, where the Republican Party is at now. The race-baiting and racially-charged innuendos have come to this.
Traditionally, when the Republican Party, like during Ronald Reagan, put out a propaganda slogan not fit for a bumper sticker, all the party, and their allied media outlets, run with it, and the regular commercial media tags along. I remember the 1984 presidential campaign, where the republican media machine kept up the line about Walter Mondale, that he was beholden to “special interests,” and these so-called “special interests” were never identified; Republican voters collectively had their own idea of who these “special interests” were, like gays, Labor, feminists, or anybody they didn’t like. The putrid legacy of Kevin Phillips continues.
This is what we’re up against, and I’m pleased with all the pushback against it, in the courts and in the neighborhoods. Workers have been winning victories in organizing and attaining good contracts, like the Teamsters against UPS, the slow-motion strike by UAW against the big four auto makers, and organizing drives at Starbucks, Amazon, and Trader Joe’s. Often the news media (and I say this with all respect, as I’m in the news media myself) doesn’t pay attention to this, they seldom do; but we’re paying attention, workers are paying attention, and communities are paying attention.
So let’s keep it up! Let’s bury Phillip’s tactics of hate and division, and connect with fellow workers and neighbors in our worksites and blocks, see who the real enemy is, and band together—and VOTE every time an election arises, from President all the way down to town council and township supervisor; and Phillip’s toxic legacy will finally end in our politics.
Stay safe, stay strong, and stay together! Slava Ukraini! America will be free! Bye!