Tuesday, May 04, 2010

The Party of No Yes (to bigotry)

"Conservative Latinos Rethink Party Ties," screams the headline at the Journal. Okay, maybe it doesn't scream, but you get the point.

I think it's pretty clear what's going on. In moving ever more to the right, and in embracing extremist politics that are anything but inclusive, the GOP, while motivating its hard-right base (and the teabaggers), is alienating many of the demographic groups it had been targeting in its somewhat less extreme past, including under Dubya, who, whatever else we may say about him, was generally friendly to Hispanics.

Here's Andrew Sullivan with some persuasive analysis:

The GOP is now doing to Latinos what it did to gays. Its leaders -- by backing the Federal Marriage Amendment in the last decade and now the Arizona law in this -- are essentially saying that they do not understand how these measures could impact a minority's collective psyche. Whatever the technical merits of either measure - and there were intellectually coherent (if, to my mind, unpersuasive) defenses of both -- the lack of empathy or understanding is the real issue. It places the Republican "us" against the minority "them." This is not just a failure of empathy; it is failure of judgment. The votes of Latinos will be massively important in the very near future, and the number of people who know and love gay people grows daily.

The Republican base's inability to place itself in the shoes of homosexuals who are being told they could be second class citizens for ever or in the shoes of Latinos being told they are effectively guilty before being found innocent is a fatal moral and political gambit. Once your party has revealed that it cannot empathize and is willing to stigmatize an entire minority, it takes decades to reverse the damage. 

Another way of putting it is that the Republican Party has embraced bigotry at its core. At this point, if you're black or gay or Hispanic or Muslim or poor or otherwise part of some "Other," how could you possibly vote Republican?

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