Says Dan Balz today in his For Republicans, the Forces Aren't With Them in the Washington Post.
The American Enterprise Institute and the Brookings Institution convened a stellar cast on Friday to review what has been learned since November. The panel included Robert Lang of Virginia Tech; Ruy Teixeira of the Center for American Progress; William Frey of the Brookings Institution; Bill Bishop, a Texas writer and author of ‘The Big Sort’; Scott Keeter of the Pew Research Center; and Ronald Brownstein of Atlantic Media. They presented a wealth of data about what happened in 2008 and offered conclusions that would alarm any Republican hopeful of a quick turnaround in the party's fortunes.
Wisconsin mirrors the nation in setting off Republican political alarms.
Wisconsin is a political anthology of the demographic trend Balz discusses as the GOP problem with blacks and Latinos persists with the GOP still behaving in an overtly hostile manner towards these communities that comprise fast-growing segments of the electorate, with “black women [having] the highest voter turnout rate in November's election -- a first". [See Dissecting the 2008 Electorate: Most Diverse in U.S. History.]
In the last election, there were more than 2 million additional African American voters, about 2 million more Hispanic voters and about a million more Asian American voters. All are groups in which Obama increased the Democratic share of the vote over 2004. Frey estimated that minority voters in nine states made the difference in Obama's victory margin.So what is the response of Wisconsin Republicans like Mike Nichols, Patrick McIlheran and other GOP talking heads?
Republicans can't reverse the demographic trends; their only solution is to increase their share of the minority vote. Opposing Judge Sonia Sotomayor, Obama's Supreme Court nominee, because of her pride in being a Latina won't help solve that problem.
Mocking and scapegoating, for example, obnoxious and unanimous Wisconsin GOP opposition to Democratic initiatives on immigrant driver licenses and collecting racial profiling data.
The GOP message to African American and Hispanic voters veers from we don’t like you to you don’t belong here to you’re on your own.
As Balz implies, this isn’t a winning political strategy anymore, never mind its fetid taste.
During the budget debate, Jim Doyle, Tamara Grigsby and Pedro Colón have been the collective punching bag of the GOP looking to stir up white resentment on the economy and to place the blame for the last eight years of national economic catastrophe on one Wisconsin governor and minority constituencies—this has been the GOP playbook since the Southern Strategy.
But Doyle, Grigsby and Colón appear quietly confident that this old divisive tactic is not working.
The future looks bright for a political message based on unity, civil rights and inclusion, geared especially to younger voters who are diverse demographically, less religious, culturally liberal, and less susceptible to GOP racist appeals.