In an op-ed published Wednesday by the New York Times, columnist Charles M. Blow destroyed the recent assertion by Republican Congressman Mo Brooks that Democrats and President Obama are waging a war against white people. During an appearance on conservative radio host Laura Ingraham’s show on Monday, Brooks claimed that the Democratic Party is using a strategy to divide everyone by race and show that “whites hate everybody else.” After Ingraham had played a clip from Ron Fournier of the National Journal saying that the GOP has a real problem with Hispanics and that it is becoming the party of white people, Brooks made the following comments:
“This is a part of the war on whites that’s being launched by the Democratic Party. And the way in which they’re launching this war is by claiming that whites hate everybody else. It’s part of the strategy that Barack Obama implemented in 2008, continued in 2012, where he divides us all on race, on sex, greed, envy, class warfare, all those kinds of things.”
Brooks later double-downed on his statement in an interview with USA Today.
“It is repugnant for Democrats time after time after time to resort to cries of racism to divide Americans and drive up voter turn out,” Brooks said. “That is exactly what they are doing in order to drive up their vote and they are doing it when there is no racial discrimination involved.”
In fact, Brooks added, “if you look at current federal law, there is only one skin color that you can lawfully discriminate against. That’s Caucasians — whites.”
Brooks said he stands by his language accusing Democrats of a ‘war on whites’ because “I want Democrats held accountable . . . if Americans want a political party that regularly stokes unfounded racial fears, well then vote Democrat.”
Blow took Brooks and the Republican Party to task for these absurd statements. He highlighted the GOP’s disgusting history of demonizing minorities in an effort to gain a political advantage with white voters. Blow pointed out that ever since Lyndon Johnson passed the Civil Rights Act in 1964, the Republican Party has resorted to several different tactics to stoke racial fears in an attempt to drive more white voters to the GOP. Whether it was Richard Nixon’s ‘Southern Strategy’ or his extremely costly and ineffective War on Drugs, for over 40 years Republicans have looked at ways to disparage blacks and other minorities to appeal to the prejudices of certain white Americans.
Blow also pointed out that this didn’t stop with Nixon. Ronald Reagan continued the tradition throughout the Seventies and Eighties. Reagan infamously gave rise to the ‘Welfare Queen,’ a made-up person created solely to get white voters to think blacks were gaming the system. Blow also highlighted the disgusting Willie Horton ads used against Michael Dukakis during the 1988 Presidential election that likely cost Dukakis the White House.
The column also featured many of the GOP’s awful race-baiting tactics in the past few years, showing that the GOP has been the one ‘playing the race card’ as of late, not Democrats or President Obama. Below is an excerpt from the article showing some of the GOP’s ‘greatest hits’ since Obama has been President:
It continues as Republicans trade racial terms for culture-centric euphemisms. Newt Gingrich, in 2011: “Really poor children in really poor neighborhoods have no habits of working and have nobody around them who works,” although most poor people of working age work. Paul Ryan, earlier this year: “We have got this tailspin of culture, in our inner cities in particular, of men not working and just generations of men not even thinking about working or learning the value and the culture of work.” And Bill O’Reilly said recently in a discussion about legalizing marijuana that the left’s position was that marijuana was harmless and “It’s blacks, you know, you get, you’re trapping the blacks because in certain ghetto neighborhoods it’s part of the culture.”
Blow also highlighted how Republicans have shot themselves in the foot with Hispanics.
As for Hispanics, Republicans seemed to make some headway when George W. Bush, who supported a pathway to citizenship, was in the White House. They shrank a 50-point Democratic advantage among Hispanic voters in 1982 to just 12 points in 2004. But, congressional Republicans destroyed that trend by passing an enforcement-only immigration bill in 2005, sparking nationwide protests, and leading to a 2006 midterm election in which the Democratic advantage among Hispanic voters for House races soared again to 48 percentage points.
Since then, we have seen further anti-immigrant legislation like Arizona’s Show-Me-Your-Papers law, Congress’s failure to move on comprehensive immigration and opposition to efforts to help the Dreamers. It has now culminated in an ugly conservative reaction to the humanitarian crisis of undocumented children from Central American arriving at our southern border.
In the end, the Republican cries of a “war on whites” is nothing more than projection. Republicans have been waging a war on blacks and Hispanics for years now and they finally realize it is going to cost them dearly for generations to come. The country is changing and there is nothing conservatives can do about it. Gerrymandering, voter suppression and intransigence in Congress can only work so long. If Republicans insist on being solely the Old White Party, nothing is going to save them from being a regional political party with no chance of ever gaining the White House.