The Associated Press finds folks who — wait for it — detect the foul scent of racism among Southern Republicans. Excerpt:

An overwhelming allegiance to the Democratic Party has left black lawmakers in the South without power in Republican-controlled state legislatures, according to a new report.

The nonpartisan Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies said in a report issued Friday that despite Barack Obama’s election as president, black voters and elected officials in the South have less influence now than at any other time since the civil rights era.

“Since conservative whites control all the power in the region, they are enacting legislation both neglectful of the needs of African-Americans and other communities of color,” the senior research associate, David A. Bositis, wrote in a paper titled “Resegregation in Southern Politics?”

Well, I am shocked. Whoever heard of a political party not being overly concerned with the “needs” of a demographic who never votes for its candidates? Next thing you’ll tell me is that Democrats are “neglectful” of the “needs” of conservative white Evangelicals. Except you won’t tell me that, because elites don’t see this as a problem. Unless there is active and meaningful harm coming to conservative white Evangelicals, and Democrats are actively or passively allowing it, why should anybody see this as a significant problem? This is how democratic politics work. More from the story:

“That’s one of the costs of putting all your political capital in a single party,” said Merle Black, a professor at Emory University in Atlanta, who is researching the rise of the Republican Party in the South. “When the Democrats were in power, there was a period there when black lawmakers were very influential.”

Not only that, but this is one of the costs of racial gerrymandering to create majority-black districts. This is the world that Democrats have made for themselves. If you read Bositis’s paper, it’s hard to escape the conclusion that for black Southerners to always vote Democratic is a normal and understandable thing, but for whites to heavily vote Republican, and for those Republican officials to show less interest in the priorities of blacks and other minorities than Democrats do is somehow malign. In the intro, he writes: “All this is reminiscent of the white primaries and poll taxes of days gone by.”

Ah, I see. The fact that free people, both black and white, choose to vote freely for the political party of their own preference, but the outcome doesn’t favor liberal goals, must mean that Jim Crow is back. Got it.

There is no way Republicans can ever do the right thing on race when it comes to making liberal elites happy. If they reach out to minority communities, they stand condemned as insincere panderers, and they usually make no headway at the polls anyway. The relatively few minorities who attach themselves to the GOP are often accused of being race traitors by their own side, though usually (but by no means always) in more polite terms. Gerrymandering to create majority-minority districts is good and noble; gerrymandering to create majority-white districts (an inevitable consequence of gerrymandering for pro-minority reasons), is bad. That minority voters, in general, do not vote Republican is not depicted by elites, and the media, as a rational result when people, whatever their race, vote their own perceived interests, but rather as a Republican moral failing. If Southern blacks are wholly identified with Democrats (as they have been since forever), that’s understandable. If Southern whites are wholly, or heavily, identified with Republicans, that’s a chilling sign of incipient Kluckery.

This is so tiresome. Where, exactly, is the incentive for the GOP to keep abasing itself on the race issue? To be sure, I don’t think it’s at all healthy to have parties so completely identified with racial constituencies, but hey, that’s democracy. You have a better idea, Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies? Because it sounds like the only thing that will make you happy is if white Southern people, out of racial shame, start voting for a party whose principles and priorities they disagree with. That, and if Southern Republican lawmakers violate their own principles and priorities to start governing like Democrats on issues important to minorities, even though it will never, ever win them a single black or minority vote.

Joint Center, would you advise black and other minority voters living in the South to start voting Republican and joining the Republican Party to increase their influence in GOP-controlled state legislatures? Why do I suspect that this is not something you would do?