Friday, April 04, 2014

Confederate "Heritage" Month 2014: Segregation today ...

Joan Walsh gives us a good look at the political strategy of segregation in 2014, GOP’s hideous strategy to survive as the “white party”:

Three stories in the last three days brought into focus exactly how Republicans plan to tough out the demographic extinction that is eventually coming for them, if they remain a 90 percent white party in a country that will be less than half white within 25 years. One, they’re doing as Wisconsin did, and ramming through voting restrictions in states controlled by Republicans. As the New York Times reported Sunday, Wisconsin is only one of nine states have made it harder to vote since Obama’s re-election (18 states had already made it tougher after he won the first time, according to the Brennan Center).
Voter suppression - disfranchising African-American and Latino voters - is the core segregationist policy. It was so in Segregation 1.0 from the end of Reconstruction (mid 1870s) until the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Lynchings and white-only water fountains and the lack were dramatic, degrading and horrible aspects of Segregation 1.0. But voter suppression was the key. And that's what today's Republican Party is focusing on as a basic long-term political strategy.

Two, they’re working hard to demoralize the Democratic base by blocking policies Democrats promised to enact, like immigration reform. Another Times piece showed how Latino activists are finding it hard to register and motivate Latino voters, because the failure to make good on immigration legislation has them convinced anew that voting doesn’t matter. Of 50 people approached by a young Latina organizer, “not a single person” was interested. “They were like, ‘Why? Why would I bother to vote?’” the organizer told the Times.

Voter demobilization among working people and minorities serves other purposes than just promoting racial/ethnic discrimination. But it serves that purpose as well.

Finally, an AP story detailed how a combination of geography and gerrymandering let Republican state legislatures draw congressional district lines that will let the GOP control the House, even as Democrats get millions more votes in House races overall.
Racial gerrymandering was a key part of Segregation 1.0, and the Republicans have been working hard on erecting a new version. Nonpartisan drawing of election districts on the current California model can minimize this.

But any system is subject to being subverted or rendered ineffective through bad appointments nibbling safeguards away, court decisions that override the democratic structures, etc. If people want a healthy democracy, they have to want it enough to block measures like the segregationists are pushing now.

And segregation is not democracy. The Southern states under Segregation 1.0 had elections for white voters. But they were generally notoriously corrupt, which in itself doesn't speak well for the white supremacy form of government. At most, those state systems under segregation were partial democracies, at most.

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