Back in 2009, I tried some long term Machiavellian political strategizing:
On this reading, the Republican Party can’t just have a positive strategy of attracting and mobilizing white voters. There has to be a supplementary tactic. Republicans must also drive voters away from the Democrats by using wedge issues and shrewd rhetoric to aggravate the inevitable fault lines in the Democrats’ unwieldy coalition.
Even if this doesn’t convert anyone to the GOP, it would lower turnout among potential voters who lean Democrat.
In 2008, McCain let Obama position himself to blacks as the black candidate, to other nonwhites as the nonwhite candidate, and to whites as the postracial candidate. Yet, unless treated as timidly as McCain handled his opponent in 2008, a black-led four-race coalition is an inherently fragile thing.
The good news for the GOP about black voters: it really can’t get much worse than 2008. McCain ran as gingerly as imaginable on topics even remotely related to race, and still lost 95-4 among blacks. …
The more important question is: What about the growing immigrant groups, the Hispanics and the Asians, who, together, cast 9.9 percent of the vote in 2008?
Karl Rove labored mightily to convert Hispanics into Republicans, with minimal success and catastrophic side effects. There simply are fundamental reasons why a low-income group will always be more attracted to the Democrats, with their proud tax-and-spend tradition. (Asians might be a different story, but there’s no evidence of it as yet and anyway nobody has paid them much attention.)
A more plausible Republican strategy, one with much history on its side, is to work to make Hispanics and Asians less enthusiastic about voting Democrat.
Maybe they could get so disgusted with the Democrats that they convert to Republicans. Or maybe not. Maybe they’ll just vote less. Half a loaf (or a non-cast vote from your opponent’s base constituency) is better than none.
… But let’s be realistic. Being, in essence, the white party makes the GOP uncool. And that’s only going to get worse as the impact of decades of indoctrination in the uncoolness of white people by the school system and Main Stream Media continue to pile up.
Further, contra Karl Rove, the GOP will never be able to shake its white party image. It will either increase its share of the white vote or it will go out of business as a party capable of winning national power.
My suggestion: the only long-term option for the Republicans, the de facto white party, is to rebrand the Democrats as the de facto black party.
Not the Minority Party or the Cool, Hip, Multicultural Party—but the Black Party. Go with the flow of the fundamental Manichaeism of American thought: Black versus White.
Sure, it’s kind of retarded, but Americans, especially American intellectuals and pundits, aren’t good at thinking in terms of shades of brown. You can’t beat it, so use it.
Hispanics and Asians certainly will never be terribly happy with the idea of being junior partners in the white party. (Indeed, lots of white people have an allergy to belonging to the white party.) Hence, the alternative must be framed that if Hispanics and Asians don’t want to be junior partners in the white party, they get [to] be junior partners in the black party.
Black or white: choose one.
Or they can not choose and stay home on Election Day.
The subtle cunning of the tactic of rebranding the Democrats as the black party is not to criticize the Democrats for being the vehicle of African-American political activism, but to praise them for it, over and over, in the most offhand “everybody-knows” ways.
Republicans can hurry along the coming Democratic train wreck by, for example, lauding blacks as the “moral core” of the Democratic Party. Respectfully point out that the Democratic Party is the rightful agent for the assertion of African-American racial interests, and that advancing black interests is central to the nature of the Democratic Party. Note that, while individual blacks wishing to vote for the good of the country are more than welcome in the GOP, black racial activists have their natural home in the Democratic Party. That’s what the Democrats are there for.
Don’t argue it. Just treat it as a given.
Moreover, Republican rhetoric should encourage feelings of proprietariness among blacks toward their Democratic Party. It’s not all that hard to get blacks to feel that they morally deserve something, such as, for example, predominance in the Democratic Party. African-Americans are good at feeling that others owe them deference.
This kind of subtle language, casually repeated, puts Democrats in a delicate spot. Either they insult blacks by denying this presumption, or they alarm their Asian, Hispanic, and white supporters by not denying it. As everybody knows, but seldom says, black political control hasn’t worked out well for places as far apart as Detroit and Zimbabwe.
For instance, 2016 on the Democratic side will be interesting. If Obama wins re-election in 2012, blacks will argue, not unreasonably, that they’ve brought the Democrats political prosperity and therefore a black deserves a spot on the 2016 national ticket. If Obama loses re-election, the media will relentlessly blame it on white racism, and blacks in 2016 will demand a black candidate to fight the scourge of anti-black feelings.
Even if blacks are rebuffed by the Democrats in the 2016 nominating process, they aren’t going to vote Republican in the fall. But without a black on the ballot, they won’t show up to vote in quite the huge numbers seen in 2008.
Conversely, if the Democrats pander to blacks in 2016, thus establishing a precedent of a permanent black spot on the national ticket, that will raise severe questions in the rest of this awkward alliance.
As the black sense of rightful ascendancy in the Democratic Party becomes more pronounced, Hispanics will be demanding that their burgeoning numbers mean that it’s now their turn. Meanwhile, more Asians will wonder why they are supporting an agglomeration dominated by blacks who don’t share their values. And white Democrats will wonder how exactly they can prosper in a party where everybody else is allowed to speak out in internal disputes as representatives of a legitimately aggrieved racial group, but they aren’t.
The GOP faces a daunting future of their own making. Then, again, so do the Democrats. All Democrats should be helpfully assisted to confront this.
Of course, practically no Republican tried to implement this strategy, but it is clearly happening anyway among Democrats: black megalomania and white Democrats’ myth-making combine to privilege blacks as the moral core of the Democratic Party. Which would be fine for the Democrats, except that blacks tend to behave badly far more often than any other group.
So, Democrats have self-inflicted this Sailer Strategy Supplement on themselves.