The Party of Strom Thurmond: Not all X are Y, but all Y are X

The Party of Strom Thurmond: Not all X are Y, but all Y are X November 4, 2012

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“Let me just be candid,” said Col. Lawrence Wilkinson, a Republican. And then he got very candid indeed:

My party full of racists. And the real reason a considerable portion of my party wants President Obama out of the White House has nothing to do with the content of his character, nothing to do with his competence as Commander in Chief and President, and everything to do with the color of his skin. And that’s despicable.

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Richard Nixon explained the plan to his chief-of-staff, Bob Haldeman, who wrote it in his diary. “You have to face the fact that the whole problem is really the blacks,” Nixon told him. “The key is to devise a system that recognizes that while not appearing to.”

— Gary Younge in “Evolution of the American voter

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A recent Associated Press poll suggests that Nixon’s approach still promises electoral rewards for the immoral:

51 percent of respondents expressed explicit anti-black sentiments, and 52 percent expressed explicit anti-Hispanic sentiments.

This is actually an increase from a similar poll conducted in 2008.

Raw Story has more:

That finding is based on poll questions that both directly asked respondents questions about their feelings toward particular races, as well as more subtle questions that gauged racial attitudes without mentioning the subject. Yet on the questions that explicitly gauged overt racism, a slim 51 percent majority of Americans still showed anti-black bias, versus 48 percent who did not.

Republicans were far more likely than Democrats to show some sign of anti-black bias. Seventy-nine percent of Republicans exhibited an explicit anti-black attitude on the more direct questions, versus 32 percent of Democrats who did the same.

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Andy Borowitz:

But in the other camp is the former New Hampshire governor John Sununu, who worries that the Republican Party’s emphasis on misogyny is threatening to drown out its “winning message of racism.”

“I understand the appeal of Mourdock’s anti-woman theme, but I worry that it’s going to overshadow our core value of racism, which is still our best shot at winning this thing,” he said. “In politics, you’ve got to dance with the one who brung you.”

Hoping to heal a possible rift with so little time left until Election Day, the R.N.C. chairman Reince Priebus said today that there is room for both views in today’s Republican Party: “Our ‘big tent’ message to voters should be this: come for the misogyny, stay for the racism.”

That’s a joke. But this video fabricated and posted by “birther” racists was not intended as a joke.

And Donald Trump isn’t trying to be a joke either.

Nor are these white Romney supporters from Virginia joking:

Kurt Johnson, 62, a who works in the chemical business in the Richmond area, said he was “enthusiastic” about the election but worried too many people see Obama as “hip, cool, and sympathetic.”

“Michael Jordan could be president on that basis,” he said. “I don’t mean to sound glib, but are we electing someone to know the top hip hop songs — or to get the job done?”

… Lisa Beazley, 51, said she was “praying very hard and hoping people have common sense” ahead of election day. … “I still worry Obama has a shot,” she said. “There’s a lot of people out there that do depend on the welfare system and it worries me.”

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Warren Throckmorton reminds us that the great reversal, in which the Party of Lincoln became the Party of Strom Thurmond, didn’t just alter the Republican Party’s views on racial justice, but also it’s views on public education.

The Republican Party of 2012 is against public education, regarding it, at best, as a necessary evil. Here, for contrast, is a snippet Throckmorton provides from the Republican platform of 1876:

The public school system of the several states is the bulwark of the American republic; and, with a view to its security and permanence, we recommend an amendment to the constitution of the United States, forbidding the application of any public funds or property for the benefit of any school or institution under sectarian control.

And here is the Republican platform of 1892:

The ultimate reliance of free popular government is the intelligence of the people, and the maintenance of freedom among men. We therefore declare anew our devotion to liberty of thought and conscience, of speech and press, and approve all agencies and instrumentalities which contribute to the education of the children of the land, but while insisting upon the fullest measure of religious liberty, we are opposed to any union of Church and State.

Such robust support for secular public education is unimaginable from the Republican Party of 2012. Lee Atwater explained why:

You start out in 1954 by saying, “N—–, n—–, n—–.” By 1968 you can’t say “n—–” — that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states’ rights and all that stuff. You’re getting so abstract now [that] you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites. And subconsciously maybe that is part of it. I’m not saying that. But I’m saying that if it is getting that abstract, and that coded, that we are doing away with the racial problem one way or the other. You follow me — because obviously sitting around saying, “We want to cut this,” is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than “N—–, n—–.”

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Islamophobia Strikes Late in Michigan Congressional Race

A right-wing Super PAC is running attack ads against a Syed Taj, a Democratic congressional candidate in Michigan, in an attempt to portray the Muslim doctor as un-American and tied to terrorism. The 30-second ad charges that Taj “wants to advance Muslim power in America,” has ties to Hamas, and is “too extreme for America.”

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  • WalterC

     The two-senators-per-state thing is due to slave states not wanting to lose power to the more-populous northern states way back then.

    Not quite. Some of the slave states, like Virginia, had easily 8 to 10 times the population of northern states like Rhode Island (the first of the thirteen original colonies to formally abolish slavery prior) and twice the population of New York. The southern states had already gamed the system in their favor by getting the 3/5ths compromise approved, which enabled them to count 3/5ths of their slave population for the purpose of representation in Congress (if none of the slaves had been counted, then the Southern states would have been in trouble representation wise).

    The compromise that formed the Senate can’t be as neatly divided on pro-slavery/anti-slavery grounds. Slave states like Georgia supported proportional (rather than 2 per state) because they were more populous and were expecting to only get bigger. Larger states like New York were on a states’ right jag and backed equal representation. It was instead based mostly on population — some slave states wanted proportional, some wanted equal, and the same for the pro-abolition states. 

    If the whole country could vote on half the Senate, the government would be significantly less reactionary, and the Tea Party would never have a chance.

    The Senate is significantly less reactionary than the House at this point, and since they are only elected in staggered 6-year terms they were not hit nearly as hard as the Tea Party revolution. Most of the big Tea Party imbeciles who got thrashed (like Sharon Angle and Christine O’Donnell) lost their Senate races, which tend to be less tolerant of social and political extremism (if Todd Akin had made his “rape” comment in a House race, he probably wouldn’t have struggled since he could campaign to a very small narrow district of idiots rather than entire, more diverse state). 

  • At least in my county

    Bully for you and your county.

    News flash: it’s not the same everywhere. Haven’t you heard of all the shenanigans and funny business surrounding Diebold, for heaven’s sake?

  • WalterC

    Each state has exactly two senators. It is not possible for anyone to have to vote for more than two senators at a time, therefore, and I don’t think any states even have them voted on at the same time. 

    You’re absolutely right. Basically, the Senate elections are staggered; only 1/3rd of the Senate is up for election at the same time (This is why the Senate is thought of a continuous body, since over half of its membership stays the same from election to election; this is in contrast to the House, where every seat is up for election every two years). This also means that no state will ever have both of its Senate seats on the ballot at the same time. 

    During the main election, most people will have the President/Vice-President, one Senator (if they have a seat up for election), and they will always have a Representative. Slightly over half of the states have the governors’ elections on a different year than the Presidential election. Depending on your state, you might have a Constitutional amendments or questions: for example, tomorrow Maine voters will be considering Maine Question One, a law which will allow the state government to recognize same-sex marriage. 

    Where ballots can get big is when you have local elections on the same day as the presidential election. That varies so much though (from locality to locality!) that it’s not a universal problem.

  • AnonymousSam

    And where they’re not getting switched, they’re getting tossed out. Pennsylvania and Florida both purged their voter registries; in Florida, at least, this was found to be utterly illegal and reversed.

  • Jenora Feuer

     All right, so I was misremembering things, apparently; I knew that senators weren’t elected every time, but I got the proportion wrong.

    (In Canada, senators aren’t elected at all, they’re appointed by the Prime Minister, often from party members without seats in the House, leading to the old joke about how in the U.S. you have to win an election to get into the Senate, whereas in Canada you have to lose one.  The current Prime Minister has talked a lot about an elected Senate, but that seems to be far more of a way to get the base excited rather than an actual plan on his end.  Me, I don’t mind the idea of elected Senators so much, but I do not want Senators able to run for re-election: I think there’s a utility in having people who are in less of a position to be tempted by campaign donations.)

    Still, there is something to be said about keeping the election as simple as possible.  Up here, every party is allowed to have observers at each polling station, but the actual vote counting is done by civil servants and volunteers, under the eyes of the party people who can argue about spoiled ballots but who don’t make the final decisions.  Obviously it’s impossible to completely prevent fraud and collusion on the part of the poll volunteers, but this method at least makes it difficult.

    With regards to voting machines the latest issue of the Risks Digest has some good articles as well, such as the one about Ohio voting machines getting software patches despite them being technically certified systems that shouldn’t be touched this close to an election; an article (unfortunately the copying of the article was messed up, but it links to the original on Huffington Post) about the fact that Virginia and Pennsylvania still heavily use DRE machines with no paper trail and no ability to perform recounts; and comments on the extra problems caused by hurricane Sandy to areas of New Jersey which will still be without power on election Day, and attempts to work around this.

  • hidden_urchin

    Aw, that sucks.  I’m sorry.  I know how that feels.  (Not good!)

    I’ve been working pretty frantically and focusing more on getting a rough sketch of the story down out of the fear that I’ll get stuck if I take too long to figure out how I want to say something.  I’ll end up doing a massive rewrite during the editing phase, I suspect.

  • By the way, how’s NaNoWriMo going for the rest of our writers around here?

    Ehh.  Went past the 10,000 word mark over the weekend, which is good, but historically is on the low side for me at this stage.  Of course, I got a late start, as I wasn’t able to begin writing until the 2nd.

    The story itself isn’t great, as it’s primarily an attempt at working through some…stuff for me, so I don’t imagine it would make for interesting reading.

    Unfortunately, Wednesdays and Thursdays are kind of a wash for me, so I’ll have only a minimal amount of time to write tonight and tomorrow, then I’ll have to get into gear over the weekend.

  • GDwarf

     

    Oh for the love of little Green apples,

    Folks, I work as an election judge for the St. Louis County Election board.

    Our electronic voting machines have a triple paper trail; an actual
    paper printer that lets the voter verify what they’re voting for as they
    select options;

    …Which is meaningless unless that’s also submitted for tallying. It’s trivial to write a program that prints off paper saying a vote was registered for x while actually tallying it for y.

    data that’s stored on the machine’s memory card, which
    is sealed with strips that make it obvious to everyone if they’ve been
    tampered with, and data that’s stored on electronic keys that the poll
    workers use to boot the machines up for every voter, and said keys have
    to be in hand of a poll worker at all times. Voters are not allowed near
    them. And all of that kept with a battery backup in case the power
    fails.

    Alright, and how do you know that the software on the key is good? Or that it’s tallying votes correctly?

    If anything, *anything* out of the ordinary is detected, we close the
    machine, remove voter access to it, and call the higher ups, who send a
    bipartisan team of IT techs to inspect it, repair or take it out of
    commission.

    Excellent.

    There are no USB ports.

    Sure, but you insert those bootable keys somewhere, no? So what’s to stop someone putting their own key in? Or swapping keys?

    There are no internet connections.

    Excellent, but that’s by far in the minority for these things.

    There
    is zero chance someone can open a panel without breaking internal seals
    that the Election Board has in place, much less pass the notice of the
    bipartisan team that keeps an eye on things.

    I have to ask: How do you know that?

    If we get to the polling place in the morning and the voter count on
    the machine is anything but Zero, we don’t touch it, and call the higher
    ups.

    At least in my county, these things are as secure as anything else.

    Those are all solid security steps and I heartily applaud them, but not only are they rare, they also don’t protect against sabotage in the factory or glitches in the software. They also don’t do anything to address the issue of votes not being auditable.

    I also suspect that the cost of those machines is quite high, much higher than a paper ballot system. Which is part of my point: A perfectly secure computer ballot system, if it could exist, would be much more expensive and cumbersome than a paper system while offering no advantages over it.

    Look: Ask *any* computer security professional and they’ll say that e-voting is a terrible idea given our current technology. We may someday find some way to do it right, but we’re not there yet. That’s what the people who are paid to find new uses for computer security technology say, which is rather like having the NRA say that guns just aren’t a good thing for most people to own. I’m inclined to go with the experts on this.

  • Rakka

     Are you sure those things were planned by someone with no knowledge about electronic security? Because to me they sound like they were planned by someone who DID, and wanted to leave an obscene amount of backdoors.

    Also, this apparently happened: http://www.politicalhotwire.com/general-political-discussion/77533-romney-buys-voting-machine-company.html All I can say is “what the fuck is wrong with the USA to allow this sort of breach of impartiality?”

  • If it helps I’ve still got like 46,000 words to go. :O

  • Actually, the Romney + voting machine thing was Snopesed as not true.

    That said, it is still possible that the appearance of a conflict of interest is enough to cast doubt on the reliability of the voting machines and this alone should have motivated Romney + family to studiously avoid trying to buy companies which could affect the electoral process.

  • Rakka

    Well, that’s good to hear at least, they’re not yet that blatant at buying themselves into power. I thought that if it were true it would have made international news so I was a bit uncertain… but it wouldn’t have surprised me the least bit if it were true, and that’s a scary state for a major world power’s claiming-to-be-best-democracy to be in.