On July 2, 1964, Democratic President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act that created a legal framework for racial equity in the U.S. Legend says he remarked:
It's now more than a generation, and the Democrats still seem to have lost the South to racism and reaction. Modernity continues to wear cracks in the "solid" edifice, but the general picture is that the South remains a Republican stronghold; everywhere else, even the libertarian-minded Mountain West, is potentially up for grabs.
I'm going to go out on a limb here. Far wiser observers than I tell me I shouldn't draw such sweeping conclusions from demographic developments. But I am convinced that, in the first half of the twenty-first century, Republican embrace of racial inequality will lead to national marginalization. To draw a metaphor from another Republican bug-a-boo, failure to evolve puts the party on a path to extinction.
We're in for a rocky season. But the "browning" of the country, the gradual but inexorable population shift toward the day when persons of European ancestry now classified as" white," cease to be a majority and become simply one of several "racial" groups, cannot be stopped. Anxious whites will try to hold back the encroaching landslide, but we can't.
Whites have already ceased to be a majority in California and just recently in Texas. The shift will have happened in the country at large by around 2050.
If the rest of country follows the pattern we've seen in California, white demographic anxiety will inspire efforts to enshrine and reinforce structural obstacles to the full equality of non-white groups. Got to "protect" that shrinking white majority. That's the meaning of the long push outlaw race conscious policies. So a Republican court came up with last week's decision outlawing voluntary efforts to create diverse school systems so as not to "unfairly" burden white parents. Race conscious policies feel like a threat when you can no longer use them solely to keep those other people down.
It's on immigration that Republicans have really "shown their colors." The debate on the rotten immigration bill recently defeated in the Senate brought all their racist skeletons out in the open. Democratic opponents pointed to the indentured servitude aspects of the "guest worker" proposal and the unfairness of the point system. But Republican opponents might as well have just put on their sheets and lit up the crosses as they railed against "illegals."
Polling shows why. Surveying likely primary voters, Kathy Frankovic of CBS News reported in late May that intensely xenophobic views of immigrants hold sway in the Republican party.
These people are "the base" of the Republican Party and they are unapologetically racist.
When the trolls dominate, a political party becomes stupid, inept and unattractive. At least that is California experience. I believe we will see the national Republican party follow that trajectory.
Josh Marshall agrees:
It's going to be a rocky season, but these people aren't going to win. They can make a lot of lives miserable, but they'll have to stop human history to stay on top and this isn't going to happen.
Nativism, fear of black and brown, is the path to obsolescence for the Republican Party, a party now angrily marching off toward the cliff of irrelevance.