Using Race as a Wedge

The Washington Post recently reported about the failure of the anti-segregation amendment to pass in Alabama (it was essentially 50-50). According to the CNN exit poll, 73% of Alabama voters were white. Assuming that the vote to keep the segregationist amendment was negligible among non-whites, this means that 68.5% of whites voted against the anti-segregationist amendment (or for segregation).

One of the lame excuses given was that some people voted against the amendment because there was the potential that someone might use it in a court challenge to increase school funding (and taxes)–as if this would be a bad thing given the miserable educational performance of Alabama. In other words, the vaunted “values” voters decided to choose money over righting of the defining evils of the Southern experience. Besides, how many whites didn’t vote their pocketbooks, but instead actually are in favor of segregated schools? 20%, 30%, 40%….

We’ve heard ad nauseum, mostly from Republicans, that the Republican base is religious. That simply is a lie: the true, hardcore Republican base is bigoted and racist. If racist whites stayed home, the Republicans would not win elections. That’s why Republican presidental candidates make pilgrimage to Bob Jones University. This is the fundamental moral corruption at the heart of the Republican Party. Hatred is the Republican base.

With this point, Democrats have a tremendous opportunity to not only define the Republican party as bigots, but to use this issue to hamper the Republican agenda. Both the Senate and House Democrats, as well as Democratic-controlled legislatures, should introduce motions to censure the state of Alabama for allowing segregation. Let’s call the Republicans out on this issue. After all, if you repeat something enough times it becomes true…even if it’s the truth to begin with!

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