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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Griper Blade: Has 'Rebranding' Actually Made the GOP More Tolerant of Racism?

Tea Party sign - 'Obama's plan - white slavery'
After Mitt Romney's loss to Barack Obama in 2012, many in the Republican Party decided it was time to spiff up the Grand Old Party's image. The Republican candidate lost women and minorities, leaving the party with mostly white Christian male voters -- a demographic on the decline as time goes on and no longer numerous enough to swing an election. Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus commissioned an "autopsy" of the party's losses and followed by announcing a "rebranding" effort to reach out to minority voters. "If we want ethnic minority voters to support Republicans, we have to engage them, and show our sincerity," he said.

Unfortunately for all involved, that effort never got beyond the conceptual stage. Part of the problem was that the party had let themselves become captive to populist grifters like Sarah Palin. Serious rebranding would mean shutting down her branch of the party, with its exclusionist messaging and its reliance on perpetual white victimhood. So she and others like her pushed back to protect their gravy train. But the bigger problem was the reason GOP voters found Palin so appealing in the first place -- the aforementioned exclusionist messaging and reliance on perpetual white victimhood. You could rebrand to attract minority voters, you could remain unchanged to keep the current batch, but you could not do both. Republican voters believe in Reagan's racist "welfare queen" myth, with minority voters living off welfare at the expense of white workers. They believe in the form of Affirmative Action -- existing largely in their paranoid imaginations -- that promotes disqualified jobseekers and college applicants, while keeping deserving white candidates down in order to maintain some fictional quota. In short, despite the fact that the very wealthy in this country are disproportionately white and male, they believe that white males are the most oppressed people in America.

That's not going to work very well as a minority outreach message. It soon became clear that the GOP would have to change some policies stances to attract new voters -- and they weren't interested in doing that.

In fact, you could argue that the mere call for rebranding only made things worse. Rightwing conservatives are called reactionaries for a reason; they don't come up with changes to policies or the status quo, they react to and resist them. Look up "conservative" some time. When a conservative says they want change, it means they want to change something back. This isn't change at all, but the opposite. It's an undoing of change -- a dismantling of progress. And so, in their contrary and reactionary little hearts, a call to rebrand became a call to dig in. And a call to reach out to minority voters became a call to let their racist flag fly...[CLICK TO READ FULL POST]

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