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  1. Avatar E.D. Kain
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    says:

    I only have two words for you, Jamelle:

    Michael Steele.

    Eh? Eh?

    But seriously – these are good points. And obviously no group is completely uniform in their voting tendencies, etc. My point is that overall I don’t think it would be fair to classify African American and Hispanic voters as generally “progressive.” That was my point, so in the details you are probably very correct. But the larger point is that Republicans – if they made minority issues more front-and-center, and upped the respect ante, could win back minority voters a good deal more easily than if they were in fact ideologically progressive.Report

    • Avatar Cascadian in reply to E.D. Kain
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      says:

      I can see the respect thing happening, especially if there was more acknowledgement on the cultural front. However, I have a hard time seeing either conservatives taking a more proactive stance on minority entitlements, or minorities voting values over dollars.Report

    • Avatar Mark in reply to E.D. Kain
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      says:

      The Republicans have made race-baiting one of their central talking points for, what, 45 years now? I can’t see anyone trusting them any time soon.

      An example that springs to mind: Ronald Reagan. What percentage of African-Americans took part in the paean to him when he died? It was about zero. But Reagan is the greatest hero in history to white Republicans. As a party, they can never reconcile that – Reagan and scapegoating African-Americans go hand-in-hand. You’d have to give up on one, and after 40 years, maybe you could win the other.Report

  2. Avatar Alex Knapp
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    says:

    This is slightly tangential, but when I was a high school debater, one of the big arguments every year was that whatever the Affirmative team’s plan was, it would inevtiably violate “Federalism”, giving more power to the Federal government and taking it away from states, which had an end result of tyranny. In response to this, I developed an argument that state governments had historically proven themselves to be more tyrannical than the federal government (using civil rights as a big example) and ended up winning with that argument quite often…Report

    • Avatar E.D. Kain in reply to Alex Knapp
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      says:

      The problem with that argument is this: the only reason the Federal government has historically been less tyrannical is that it was acting as a check on states – obviously size has little to do with tyranny. However, at a certain point the power of the federal government could increase to the point where its potential tyranny would be far more difficult to ever check than the states’ past tyrannies were. That is, it has the potentiality of great tyranny, whereas the states always had the threat of the federal government to rein in their own smaller tyrannies. Your equation looks only to the past and not to the future.Report

      • Avatar Alex Knapp in reply to E.D. Kain
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        says:

        Other countries that evolved from local units to confederation to federal government to central government haven’t devolved into tyrranies. France and Switzerland, for example, seem to be doing okay. I’m not sure how much of a check state power is: there’s no examples of it really being employed to PROTECT freedom. But plenty of times in history the states used their power to check the Federal government in the furtherance of repression (Fugitive Slave Act, anyone?)Report

        • Avatar Cascadian in reply to Alex Knapp
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          says:

          Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions?Report

        • Avatar Kyle in reply to Alex Knapp
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          says:

          Those are some pretty weak and cherry-picked examples.

          Switzerland still is a confederation and structurally not all that dissimilar from our own government – in terms of divided sovereignty.

          France isn’t all that tyrannical, unless you’re a Muslim woman who wants to wear a headscarf to school or a Sikh with a turban.

          Also, I’m not entirely sure how France fits, given that it’s had a strong centralized government vis-a-vis monarchy for much of its settled history.

          For counter-examples of unchecked federal power gone awry, you could easily use Russia, China, or Weimar Germany.

          I just think this is slippery slope of cherry-picked examples here. I think your first point was important – and an important argument for a different balance of divided sovereignty than loose confederation – however, E.D. is right to see this as weak induction.Report

          • Avatar Jivatman in reply to Kyle
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            says:

            There have been several attempts but nowadays they would just have been overridden by the supreme court in short order. There’d be no way that something like the Kentucky & Virginia resolutions would succeed today, if one were to challenge, say, The Patriot Act in such a way.

            The supreme court has become relatively weak, less of a check on power and more of a rubber stamp. That’s because there have been numerous times throughout it’s history where it’s been threatened (such as by FDR’s threat to pack the court) and forced to back away from a decisions it was clearly going to make.

            And over time it ends up retreating more and more to the point of irrelevance.

            I think Jefferson called that one – I honestly think we’d be better off without a supreme court.

            And, the 17th amendment was pretty much the final blow to state power.Report

  3. From Jamelle:

    “Simply put, even if Democratic policies had a negligible effect on the material well-being of minority voters, I still think that you would see large-scale minority support for the Democratic Party, if only because Democrats are the party that takes minority concerns seriously. “

    Let’s really explore that thought. “Even if Democratic policies had a negligible effect…I still think that you would see large-scale minority support for the Democratic Party…” And that is what the Right is up against. It’s really a vicious circle. Blacks don’t feel like the GOP takes them seriously so they give their support to the Democrats even when their policies don’t really benefit them in any meaningful way, Republicans throw up their hands in disgust and the cycle repeats. What compounds it even more is the genuine belief among conservatives that liberal policies actually harm minorities and it still goes ignored by those communities themselves because the good intentions were there, even if the results were a disaster (who was more responsible for the fall of New Orleans, FEMA or decades of liberal neglect?)

    This becomes a chicken or egg scenario at some point. Liberals disingeniously argue that if conservatives just got serious about minority issues they would see support swing over to them. Conservatives argue that the voters have to show they can change their voting patterns before they are worth the investment of time and campaign dollars. I’m dubious of the first approach when you have a Democratic party that is so entrenched in minority (re: black) communities and more than happy to further the fictional narrative that conservatives hate minorities and want to keep them down. I’ll lend my tentative support to the second approach because I have long believed that the best way to get the attention of politicians is to become an informed and unpredictable voter.Report

    • Avatar 62across in reply to Mike at The Big Stick
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      says:

      Mike –

      Thanks for a pretty vivid illustration of the lack of respect that Jamelle refers to. African-Americans must predominantly back the Democratic party solely because they have been duped by the disingenuous liberals to buy into a false narrative about conservatives. These adults can’t possibly being reaching a conclusion based on evidence – on who is listening to them when they speak and working in their communities. And conservatives shouldn’t have to demonstrate that their policies will benefit minorities until they get some assurance that they’ll get the minorities’ votes in the end. Please!!Report

      • Avatar Kyle in reply to 62across
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        says:

        I disagree. I don’t think Mike was being particularly disrespectful. He’s not saying that African-Americans have been duped but that democrats further a fictional narrative.

        If we were to flip this around and argue Republicans have been more than happy to further the fictional narrative that liberals hate religion and want to keep them down, I don’t think a fair reading would be that one is saying religious people are duped. Instead, it would be accurate to comprehend that Republicans are peddling a self-serving argument.

        That’s what Mike, I think, is saying about the Democrats and frankly there’s more than enough ample evidence to prove all of these. He’s also saying that narrative is a contributing factor for Republican reluctance to make serious attempts at attracting minority voters.

        He’s clearly not saying, “African-Americans must predominantly back the Democratic party solely because they have been duped.”

        The comment was observational not a vain attempt at retrocognition.Report

      • Avatar Mike at The Big Stick in reply to 62across
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        says:

        No voting block (that I am aware of) has been as dependable a vote for a single party for so long as blacks and the Democratic party. That is 90% the legacy of the civil rights movement and 10% of Democrats convincing them to still be mad about it.Report

        • Avatar 62across in reply to Mike at The Big Stick
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          says:

          You’re right that it was not fair to claim you thought minorities were dupes. Also, I agree with the idea that there is “residual anger from the lack of Republican support for the civil rights movement and liberals are all too happy to continue to re-enforce it.” But here you go again. Look at your math: if African-American support for the Democratic Party is 90% genuine resentment over events of almost 50 years ago and 10% the result of unfair reinforcement of that resentment, that leaves exactly 0% that can be attributed the actual experiences of this population as a group of constituents of the Democratic party. That means none of the dependable black vote is given for legitimate reasons, such as Democratic attentiveness to their interests or policies that benefit their communities. I don’t understand how neither you or Kyle can see that is disrespectful to claim that the black vote is fundamentally the product of manipulation and nostalgia and none of it is the result of informed voters giving due diligence to the choices before them and voting for the party that has done better by them.Report

          • Avatar Mike at The Big Stick in reply to 62across
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            says:

            Would you say that the support of the Religious Right for the GOP is based on what the GOP has delivered or what the GOP has given lip service and token effort to?

            I can’t think of anything that Democrats have delivered to minority communities that actually helps them in the longterm. But they talk the good talk.Report

            • Avatar 62across in reply to Mike at The Big Stick
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              says:

              Mike, I have no idea what the support of the Religious Right for the Republicans is based on, but I imagine that voting bloc has gotten enough actual results (sympathetic Supremes, DOMA) that they keep coming out for the GOP for their own reasons. I’m sure part of it is that their alternative in our two party system has been demonized as anti-religious, but it doesn’t really matter. Sufficient numbers of religious moderates can be disavowed of this idea through policy choices, that the Religious Right can go on thinking Democrats are Satan’s minions. I wouldn’t write all religious people off as unreachable, as you seem determined to do with all minorities.

              As to your second point, I can’t think of anything that the Republicans have delivered for you that would make you such an ardent supporter. Because, I’m not you. But I assume that you have your reasons, that you have looked at your choices and made well considered decisions. This is a leap of faith considering the party you’ve chosen to defend here, but I take you at your word that you are an informed voter and not someone swayed by those who only talk the talk.Report

        • Avatar sidereal in reply to Mike at The Big Stick
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          says:

          What percentage is covered by contemporaneous e-mail jokes and offhand comments about Obama, watermelon, fried chicken, and witch doctors? Or Buchanan waddling in front of a camera to rant about white folks versus the immigrant horde?

          You don’t have to believe that all Republicans are secretly racist or that no Democrats are racist or that it’s impossible to oppose a minority candidate without being racist to come to the rather obvious realization that there are lots of racists and they’ve found a comfortable home in the conservative movement.

          Surely many African Americans have noticed.Report

          • Avatar Mike at The Big Stick in reply to sidereal
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            says:

            I think I’ve made this point here before: I’ve know exactly two people who use the word ‘nigger’ on a regular basis. Both are lifelong Democrats. Life is a lot more complicated than you let on. Democrats see racism in off-handed remarks like calling Obama a radical. I see racism in welfare and affirmative action.Report

            • Avatar Dan Miller in reply to Mike at The Big Stick
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              says:

              If the GOP wants to break out of single digits amongst African-Americans, the question isn’t where you see racism; it’s where the potential black GOP voters see racism.Report

            • Avatar sidereal in reply to Mike at The Big Stick
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              says:

              So your counterargument consists of a personal anecdote and an ad hominem. I didn’t say life was uncomplicated. I said the conservative movement is disturbingly welcoming to racists (Real racism, as in ‘I think dark-skinned people don’t deserve the fruits of this nation as much as whites’, not hamfisted well-meaning racialism like affirmative action). I don’t use the fact as a club to beat Republicans with. I don’t want to conveniently win elections with that fact. I want it to go away. I want the racists to be relegated to nationalist third-parties and promptly forgotten about. And I do believe we’re moving in that direction. But we’re not there yet, and pretending it’s not true doesn’t move it along any faster. Pretending that welfare is ‘racist’ 6 months after Brisenia Flores was murdered for being Hispanic is the sort of lack of perspective that’s gumming up the works.Report

              • Avatar Mike at The Big Stick in reply to sidereal
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                says:

                My ‘anecdotal’ is not just that and anyone who has spent any time in the South would agree with me (and from what i hear that also includes plenty of places in the North – like South Boston, for example). You’re making broad, ridiculous generalizations. “The conservative movement is disturbingly welcoming to racists.” Have you spent any time with a group of white, blue collar, union guys and heard the things they say when they think no one is listening? Those are the same union workers who vote Democratic and who the left depends on. You are being amazingly naive if you seriously want to pretend the Democratic party doesn’t harbor racists.

                The thing is there are a LOT of people in the U.S. who harbor racist thoughts from time to time and seomtimes even vocalize them. Some of them vote Democrat, some of them vote Republican. To try and draw any sort of corollary with that data is about as useful as trying to correlate broccolli eaters and political affiliation.Report

              • Cf. Clinton, Hillary 2008. That said, one thing I’ve noticed (and this is purely anecdotal on my part) is that in recent months, the one group where the GOP has been gaining has been in the subset of traditionally Democratic groups that have the greatest propensity for racism.Report

              • Avatar EngineerScotty in reply to Mark Thompson
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                says:

                Last year, there were numerous racists who were “voting for the n—-r” because GOP mismanagement of the economy had left them no other choice.

                Wouldn’t it be ironic if the success of the past year (i.e. were no longer staring at a depression) resulted in these voters moving back into the GOP column, because they now have the luxury of voting their prejudice over their pocketbook?Report

              • Avatar sidereal in reply to Mike at The Big Stick
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                says:

                You are being amazingly naive if you seriously want to pretend the Democratic party doesn’t harbor racists.

                Funny, I don’t remember writing that. In fact, I remember writing the opposite. And once again, a potentially useful and honest examination of the intersection of the GOP and race fritters out into willfully blind They-do-it-too-ism. Which is fine, I guess, for short-term Democratic prospects, since the longer conservatives go believing that there’s no difference in institutional racism between the parties, the longer minorities will disproportionately vote for Democrats, etc. But probably worse for the polity as a whole.Report

              • Avatar Mike at The Big Stick in reply to sidereal
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                says:

                ‘Institutional racism’? Does that mean we don’t support welfare and affirmative action? Beyond that I’m at a loss for how the two sides differ. Please share.Report

    • Avatar krogerfoot in reply to Mike at The Big Stick
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      says:

      “I have long believed that the best way to get the attention of politicians is to become an informed and unpredictable voter.”

      Mike: Yes, but. As a bloc, informed and unpredictable voters have as much sway over politics as unicorns, I’d say. The problem with talking about voting blocs is that individuals don’t behave as a statistical mass. “Uninformed” is a good across-the-board description of USA voters of any hue, and on election day, people are just going to vote for (or against) a given candidate or party based on a vague impression gathered from a variety of media and chatter.

      As far as fair/unfair perceptions of racism go, Dan pointed out that “the question isn’t where you see racism; it’s where the potential black GOP voters see racism.” Democrats can be counted on to caricature Republican motives and attitudes w/r/t white-black issues whenever possible. The question is why the GOP insists on making this so easy.Report

  4. Avatar Sam M
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    says:

    62 says:

    “These adults can’t possibly being reaching a conclusion based on evidence – on who is listening to them when they speak and working in their communities.”

    Well, you might want to take this up with Jamelle. He’s the one who stated: ““Simply put, even if Democratic policies had a negligible effect on the material well-being of minority voters, I still think that you would see large-scale minority support for the Democratic Party…”

    In your mind, is this true or untrue? I believe it is true.

    For instance, historically, a lot of support for more rational drug laws have come from “the Right.” See William F. Buckley, National Review, Milton Friedman, Cato, etc.

    So let’s say some coalition of these conservatives manages to change drug laws in a substantial way. I think this would do a great deal to improve traditionall “black” communities. But even if it were to pass, I suspect it would do very little to increase minority support for conservative politicians. For the exat reasons Jamelle mentions.

    Again, true? Untrue? Horrible racist?Report

    • Avatar Dan Miller in reply to Sam M
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      says:

      “For instance, historically, a lot of support for more rational drug laws have come from “the Right.” See William F. Buckley, National Review, Milton Friedman, Cato, etc.”

      There’s a big, big gap between “a few conservative thinkers have a good idea” and “conservatives make this a political priority and pass effective legislation”. Especially because thinkers on the left are at least as sensible on the topic of drug legalization.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Dan Miller
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        says:

        A brief aside.

        I am a registered Democrat (an artifact from my youth) and caucused for Mike Gravel (well, tried to… they broke my group up because it only had one member). When the time of the night came for us to bring resolutions to the floor, we had stuff about the greens, stuff about the war… so I stood up and suggested ending the War on Drugs.

        Well, people looked at me like I took a dump in the middle of the floor. A middle-aged lady asked me about the children (seriously!), a middle-aged African-American guy told me that while it was unfortunate that the hammer of the law falls hardest on minorities that that was no reason to just give up, another middle-aged lady asked about the schools, and a young guy who had obviously done this before asked for a vote to table my resolution. The vote to table was almost unanimous.

        It ain’t just the Republicans holding us back from Utopia.Report

  5. Avatar Bob
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    says:

    Like E.D. I have only two words, Southern Strategy.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southern_strategyReport

  6. Avatar Sam M
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    says:

    “There’s a big, big gap between “a few conservative thinkers have a good idea” and “conservatives make this a political priority and pass effective legislation”.”

    Clearly.

    But if Republicans were to take to heart the idea that they need to be “for” something, and made this one of the things to be form nationally, and got good legislation passed, I suspect that the bump in minority support would be… not much.

    Alternatively, even if democrats take a big dump on minorities, promise all kinds of stuff at election time, then fail to deliver, I suspect that minorities will continue to vote for Democrats. Which is to say:

    “even if Democratic policies had a negligible effect on the material well-being of minority voters, I still think that you would see large-scale minority support for the Democratic Party”Report

  7. Avatar jim
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    says:

    read fredric bastait’s” the law”Report

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