The “War On Whites” And The GOP’s Very Serious Problem With Racism

Image via REUTERS

Image via REUTERS

Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Alabama) made an absolutely absurd statement while talking with right-wing host Laura Ingraham in response to National Journal’s Ron Fournier and his appearance on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace. This ridiculous choice of words ended up inspiring the currently trending Twitter hashtag #WarOnWhites.


To give you the background, there was a discussion with Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida) on immigration and executive action by President Obama. Ron Fournier stated that the Republican Party had a very serious issue with Hispanic voters seeing them as “the party of white people.”

“The fastest growing bloc in this country thinks the Republican Party hates them. This party, your party, cannot be the party of the future beyond November, if you’re seen AS the party of white people.” (Source)

Rather than acknowledge the obvious issue that the GOP has with attracting Hispanics and minority voters in general, Rep. Brooks decided to blame – you guessed it – President Obama and Democrats for engaging in a “war on whites.”

Brooks: This is a part of the war on whites that’s being launched by the Democratic Party. And the way in which they’re launching this war is by claiming that whites hate everybody else. It’s a part of the strategy that Barack Obama implemented in 2008, continued in 2012, where he divides us all on race, on sex, greed, envy, class warfare, all those kinds of things. Well that’s not true. Okay?

And if you look at the polling data, every demographic group in America agrees with the rule of law, enforcing and securing our borders. And every one of them understands that illegal immigration hurts every single demographic group. It doesn’t make a difference if  you’re a white American, a black American, Hispanic American, an Asian American or if you’re a woman or a man. Every single demographic group is hurt by falling wages and lost jobs.

And so the Democrats, they have to demagogue on this and try and turn it into a racial issue, which is an emotional issue, rather than a thoughtful issue. If it becomes a thoughtful issue, then we win and we win big. And they lose and they lose big. And they understand that and as they get more desperate, they are going to argue race and things like that to a much heightened emotional state. . . .

Ingraham: . . . [C]ongressman, don’t you think . . . that characterization is a little out there.

Brooks: But that is, in effect, what they’re doing, though. That’s the political game that they’re playing. . . .

Ingraham: No, they’re playing the ‘race’ card. They’re playing the ‘race’ card just like they’re playing the ‘war on women’ card. This is what the left does. But I just think that phraseology might not be the best choice.

Laura Ingraham is about as conservative as it gets and she has a history of making controversial and disgusting remarks. So when she says Rep. Brooks may have chosen his phrasing wrong, he’s definitely out of line. However, he’s only one out of many Republican politicians who can not and will not accept the fact that they really are seen as the party of white people, both the wealthy and many of those who see themselves as temporarily embarrassed millionaires.

This is the very real problem that the GOP finds itself facing right now. If they were to pivot to Hispanic voters, they would anger their current base of support which right now is comprised primarily of white, often older people. If the GOP stays the current course, they will soon be relegated to being a regional party, only representing mostly rural areas scattered across the southern parts of the country.

Still not convinced of the Republican problem with talking to non-whites? Take, for example, this recent exchange involving Rep. Steve King (R-IA) and Erika Andiola and her friend Cesar Vargas. As soon as Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) hears them introduce themselves, he bolts, leaving King to fend for himself. The condescending manner in which Rep. King talks down to Vargas and Andiola is yet another example of the very big problem Republicans have with minority voters right now, especially Hispanics.

Not enough? How about the time Rep. Don Young (R-AK) referred to Hispanic workers as “wetbacks”? Or the time Newt Gingrich referred to President Obama as the “greatest food stamp president in history,” which is a subtle racist dogwhistle to bring up images of Reagan’s Cadillac-driving welfare queens.

I know that not all Republicans are racist, xenophobic or condescending assholes like Rep. King and others. It just so happens that the ones who are racist, xenophobic or condescending assholes are the most vocal – and those who aren’t don’t have the balls to stand up to and call out the likes of Steve King, Louie Gohmert or Michele Bachmann.

If the GOP wants to remain relevant past the next few election cycles, they will have to jettison the racists and other extremists who are dragging the party ever further to the right, and scaring off many new potential voters. Accusing President Obama and Democrats of engaging in a “war on whites” doesn’t help their cause, it only makes their own racism more obvious.


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