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Race & American Politics

Ever notice how in the media, when the Democrats work to maximize minority voter turnout, it’s considered normal, but when Republicans work to maximize white voter turnout, it’s considered dangerous and immoral? Ross Douthat writes that this sort of thing is not only unfair to Republicans, but damaging to the legitimate interests of the white working class. Excerpt:

Now nothing to do with race in America is politically normal. But the problem with suggesting that the G.O.P. shouldn’t aim for a white working class target because it would further racially polarize the country is twofold: First, it asks Republicans to basically play by rules that (victorious) Democratic strategists are writing, and (more importantly) it tells working class whites that they should pretty much get used to being ignored by both parties, because the country’s racial harmony depends on it. I don’t particularly want to live in a country where the two political coalitions are thoroughly divided along racial-ethnic lines. But I also don’t want to live in a country where many of the voters most disillusioned with the political system, and most battered by the trends of the last five years and the last thirty alike, don’t have either party responding to their point of view and asking for their vote.

Douthat says that the answer for Republicans is not to develop a strategy that depends on exploiting racial anxieties, but rather to develop an approach that realistically addresses the economic problems facing the white working class (which, Douthat says, may result in winning the votes of minorities especially alienated from the GOP on economic issues). More:

I don’t particularly expect the G.O.P. to execute this kind of strategy effectively. But I’d rather see them try, the risk of racial polarization notwithstanding, than watch both parties unite in ignoring the particular mix of stresses and anxieties that beset the white working class.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. Rod’s commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Crunchy Cons, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Benedict Option.

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