As long as I’ve covered politics, Republicans have been trying to scare me.
Sometimes, it has been about gays and transgender people and uppity women looming, but usually it has been about people with darker skin looming.
They’re coming, always coming, to take things and change things and hurt people.
A Democratic president coined the expression, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” But it was Republicans who flipped the sentiment and turned it into a powerful and remorseless campaign ethos: Make voters fear fear itself.
The president has, after all, put a tremendous effort into the sulfurous stew of lies, racially charged rhetoric and scaremongering that he has been serving up as an election closer. He has been inspired to new depths of delusion, tweeting that “Republicans will totally protect people with Pre-Existing Conditions, Democrats will not! Vote Republican.”
He has been twinning the words “caravan” and “Kavanaugh” in a mellifluous poem to white male hegemony. Whites should be afraid of the migrant caravan traveling from Central America, especially since “unknown Middle Easterners” were hidden in its midst, an alternative fact that he cheerfully acknowledged was based on nothing.
The word “Kavanaugh” is meant to evoke the fear that aggrieved women will hurtle out of the past to tear down men from their rightful perches of privilege.
Naomi Wolf told Bill Clinton, and later Al Gore, they should present themselves as the Good Father, strong enough to protect the home (America) from invaders.
Political caricatures don’t come much broader than these. Strange was the establishment incarnate; Moore was the Republican electorate’s id made ruddy flesh, an avatar of the latent nativism and conspiracism that Donald Trump’s detractors inside and outside the Republican Party blamed for his rise.
.. This was a “Jurassic Park” vision of the Republican base, in which party leaders, after fecklessly creating and nurturing a monster, find themselves powerless to stop it once the electric fences go out on the island.
.. Reagan’s 1980 campaign won seven percent more of the labor-union vote than Gerald Ford did in 1976, but he won just 10 percent of the nonwhite vote, significantly less than Ford.
.. Many of the major contenders for the 1988 Republican presidential nomination ran explicitly on the idea of bringing nonwhite constituencies into the party — none more enthusiastically than Representative Jack Kemp of New York.
.. Kemp believed that his vision of racial outreach could bring the party control of Washington.
.. Kemp lost to George Bush — himself a self-identified base-broadener, but one whose candidacy was marred by the race-baiting “Willie Horton” ad
.. Lee Atwater, Bush’s campaign manager, vowed — and later apologized for vowing — that “by the time we’re finished, they’re going to wonder whether Willie Horton is Dukakis’s running mate.”
.. It was a testament to the party’s cynicism, naïveté or both that Atwater, in taking the helm of the Republican National Committee after Bush’s victory, was tasked with improving outreach to black and Hispanic voters.
.. The base had, in Gingrich’s formulation, become something new: not a coalition to be expanded but a force to be propitiated or crossed at Bush’s peril. It was not there to be molded by politicians like Jack Kemp. It was there to give orders to them, through mediums like Gingrich
.. When Bob Dole — who had campaigned for the 1988 nomination on, as his spokeswoman put it, the “need to broaden the base of the Republican Party” — said he had no “litmus test” for the abortion views of his running mate in 1996, he drew harsh words from James Dobson
.. It implies that the Republican Party is not a coalition of interests but the tribune of an essentially unified tribe.
.. Conservatives often point out, correctly, that today’s Democratic base is, if anything, more monolithic in its policy views than its Republican counterpart, with more uniform positions on issues like abortion, immigration and taxes.
.. Republican voters, meanwhile, passed over candidates with actual fiscal-conservative and evangelical bona fides, like Ted Cruz, in favor of one whose only sustained and consistent point of contact with past Republican practice was the winking subtext of the party’s white identity politics, delivered without the wink. One party’s base knew what it believed; the other’s knew who it was.
If the Republican nominee is defeated in a landslide, the party may be powerless to influence Clinton’s agenda and administration.
Trump is approaching his last chance to turn a catastrophic campaign into an ordinarily unsuccessful campaign: to rise from Goldwater debacle to respectable Dukakis defeat.
.. The difference between a Goldwater and Dukakis outcome is the difference between holding a Republican majority in at least one chamber of Congress and a down-ballot deluge that would open the way to a new bout of Democratic legislative activism.
- it is the difference between mitigating the excesses of the Affordable Care Act and driving onward to government-run health insurance;
- between another burst of tax increases and the opportunity to bargain for tax cuts; between influence over Supreme Court appointments and being powerless as the justices are replaced;
- between outright amnesty for immigrants who are in the country illegally and stopping people from coming over U.S. borders.
.. The most powerful advertising dollar is the first, the dollar that turns “no advertising” into “some advertising.”
.. It really is possible to show respect for the achievements and contributions of America’s legal immigrants––past, present, and future––while also addressing American concerns about immigration. During her previous presidential campaign, Hillary Clinton opposed drivers’ licenses for people who are in the country illegally. Her position has evolved now to opposing virtually all and any enforcement action against illegal immigrants, unless they have committed some major non-immigration-related crime.