Wednesday, November 08, 2006
Rep. Harold Ford, Jr (D-Tenn)(Maya Alleruzzo photo/The Washington Times)
Republicans won only one seriously contested U.S. Senate race yesterday, that between Rep. Harold Ford Jr. (D) and former Chattanooga mayor Bob Corker (R) in Tennessee.
In that one context, they demonstrated that Republicans still own one issue that trumps Iraq, Bush-loathing, a sluggish economy, and lack of healthcare for many voters. That issue is race. Or, more accurately, white supremacy.
Since 1968, Republicans have made themselves the comfortable home of our ample supply of white racists. Sure, they don't wear Klan robes anymore, or usually use the language of explicit racism. But they know who ought to be boss and it infuriates them when people of color step out of their places. An awful lot of those white supremacists are in the South. Yesterday, the Republicans were further confirmed as the party of the white South, losing most of their already diminished presence in New England and slipping in the middle and west of the country. Republicans are on the way to becoming a regional party of anti-modern, racist cranks.
This is a horrendous reality for the most loyal Democrats of all, southern Blacks who make up double digit minorities across the South. Gerrymanders sometimes give them Black representatives, but their power in their states is thwarted by majorities whose unspoken, but real, unifying principle is white racial solidarity.
Nancy Pelosi will lead the first Democratic post-Civil War majority that is not dependent on Southern conservatives. That is a huge realignment, one whose implications will take awhile to work themselves out.