The First All-White Political Party

Back in 1964, in an interview with Ebony Magazine, the former vice president Richard Nixon—who had run for president in 1960 as a civil-rights moderate—warned that Barry Goldwater would transform the Republican Party forever if he managed to win his crusade for the GOP nomination. “If Goldwater wins his fight,” Nixon said, “our party would eventually become the first all-white political party.”

Now, of course, Goldwater would win his fight, and four years later, Nixon would capitalize on post-civil rights resentment to win two presidential victories, the second, a landslide. But setting aside Nixon’s about-face on the question of African American voters, it’s worth noting that he was right. The current Republican Party—and its rejection of any government—flows directly from the beliefs embraced and pushed forward by Goldwater and his supporters. And not only has this GOP become a vehicle for white resentment, but in the last few weeks, it has begun to embrace the idea that it could win elections by appealing exclusively to white voters.

Instead of passing comprehensive immigration reform and appealing to Latino voters, the argument goes, Republicans will instead devote their attention to winning back “missing” white votes. Not only is this a fool’s errand—it relies on a whole host of shaky assumptions—but it’s a black mark on the idea that both parties should strive to represent a full range of the American experience.

In his interview, Nixon said that taking this path would be a “violation of GOP principles.” When you consider why the party was founded, and what it was supposed to stand for, it’s hard to disagree.

 

So They Say

"We have a problem. The laws governing the immigration system aren’t working. The system is broken. We’re now in an important debate in reforming those laws. And that’s good. I don’t intend to get involved in the politics or the specifics of policy. But I do hope there is a positive resolution to the debate, and I hope during the debate that we keep a benevolent spirit in mind and we understand the contributions that immigrants make to our country.”

George W. Bush

Daily Meme: This Week in the Courts

  • The Supreme Court season may be over, but this week is especially jam-packed when it comes to cases the American public is keeping tabs on. 
  • Dzhohkar Tsarnaev was arraigned in Boston today at the Joseph Moakley Court House. 
  • He pleaded not guilty on all counts.
  • In the courtroom next door, the Whitey Bulger trial was unfolding. The case reached its apogee yesterday with this exchange: "You suck"; "Fuck you, OK"; "Fuck you, too."
  • Jury selection is ongoing for the murder trial of Major Nidal Hasan, who in the Fort Hood massacre.
  • In Florida, the trial against George Zimmerman is reaching a close. A judge ruled today that the defense could not submit an animated re-creation of the fight that killed Trayvon Martin, or a text message from the 17-year-old, as evidence to the jury.
  • The defendant also announced today that he will not testify, which means that Tracy Martin, telling the jury that the anguished screams heard on the 911 call were those of his son, stands as the defense's last witness
  • As Jelani Cobb brought up yesterday, What remains frustratingly marginal in this discussion is the point ... that Martin himself was afraid, that a black person might assess a man following him in a car and on foot as a threat, never mind that he might have seen Zimmerman’s weapon and suspected his life was in danger.

What We're Writing

  • Democracy may be difficult, but political Islam isn’t going anywhere. Matt Dusswrites that the democratic transition in Egypt requires the full participation of the Muslim Brotherhood.
  • For millennials, this new economy doesn’t look much different from the old one. No matter if they’re entrepreneurial or working a low-wage job, writes Nona Willis Aronowitz, young adults are losing in this economy.

What We're Reading

  • A miners' union in West Virginia is ramping up their protests of a bankrupt company threatening to cut benefits.
  • ProPublica has a new monthly magazine. Check it out here.
  • The behind-the-scenes explainer of why the European Union is especially incensed about PRISM.
  • Molly Ball corrects your misheld beliefs on sex scandals and politicians.
  • Our best medical schools are creating too many specialists, and as a result, Americans everywhere are finding it near impossible to find a doctor.
  • The credit-card delinquency rates is at the lowest it's been since 1990.
  • A judge ruled that Apple violated antitrust law while gaming e-book prices.
  • NPR talks to the workers who survived the factory collapse in Bangladesh.

Poll of the Day

In the debate over whether National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden is a traitor or whistleblower, America has weighed in via a Quinnipiac University poll: 55 percent say he is a whistleblower, while only 34 percent view him as traitorous. In a huge shift from numbers gathered three years ago, 45 percent of Americans now believe the government has gone too far in terms of restricting civil liberties, up from just 25 percent who thought so in 2010.

 

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