A New Gallup Survey Details How the Republican Party Lurches Forward as a Shambling Corpse of Whiteness
The Republican Party is a white identity organization. This week, the polling firm Gallup has released new data that confirms how the Republican Party--a shambling corpse of Whiteness--lurches onward in the Age of Obama:
The increasing racial polarization in party preferences is evident when comparing the data by presidential administration. Nonwhites' average party preferences have been quite stable across the last three administrations, consistently showing a roughly 47-point Democratic advantage under Clinton, Bush, and Obama. On average, 69% of nonwhites have identified as Democrats or said they were independents who leaned Democratic, and 21% have identified as Republicans or leaned Republican.
Meanwhile, whites have become increasingly Republican, moving from an average 4.1-point Republican advantage under Clinton to an average 9.5-point advantage under Obama.
This polarization could ease by the time Obama's term finishes, in three years. However, given the already large racial gap in party preferences in his first five years, unless there is a dramatic shift among whites toward the Democratic Party or among nonwhites toward the GOP in the next three years, party preferences will end up more racially polarized in Obama's presidency than in his two predecessors' administrations.
Political pundits have generated a narrative which concludes that changing racial demographics will continue to make the Republican Party noncompetitive on a national level. The election of Barack Obama was viewed by mainstream political analysts as a coronation for "the browning of America", and the Republican Party's near, if not, inevitable obsolescence as a competitive political party.
I have thought for some time that such a claim is premature because politics is a "push and pull" story.
The Republicans have aggressively reacted to the election of Barack Obama, the country's first black president, with a strategy designed to use racial anxiety and overt racism to win the support of new white voters while simultaneously mobilizing its existing base.
The Republican Party's strategy of voter harassment, efforts to restrict access to voting for people of color, the young, and the poor, and using the courts to subvert democratic rule and consensus, is an effort to shrink the electorate so that a dying and older cohort of white voters can continue to exercise an out-sized amount of influence on American politics.
The Republican Party may be a shambling corpse of Whiteness, but it still refuses to die.
Gallup's finding that the Republican Party has increased its support among white voters 5 points during Obama's tenure is in many ways a function of the White Right's concerted strategy of coordinated racial appeals that range from the bizarre and histrionic (Birtherism); to outright lies (Obama is the "food stamp" president and want to give things to "lazy" black people); an intentional obstruction of governance (a record number of filibusters and holding the American federal government hostage during the debt ceiling debate by Republicans); and an assault on the symbolic power and legitimacy of Barack Obama because his personhood as a black man is incompatible with '"real (white) America".
The phrase "white identity organization" conjures up visions of the KKK or Neo Nazis. In reality, White identity organizations are any group which is dedicated to maintaining a superior relative group position for white people, and the various economic, material, political, and psychological privileges that come with the arbitrary distinction of what it means to be "white" in America.
Of course, all white people, and most certainly all white Republicans and conservatives, do not benefit from Whiteness and white skin privilege in the same way--this is of course true for poor white people (who are over-represented in Red State America).