There are some making the argument that the Republican Party is not really the party of racism. They point to the facts that black people overwhelmingly voted for Barack Obama and white people for Mitt Romney as being two sides of the same coin. They don’t seem to bother to compare the 90% Democrat voting of blacks for Barack Obama to the 90% Democrat voting of blacks for white presidential candidates much either.
Now, I am not one to say that Republicans are primarily motivated by racism, but I do believe it is a major thread of the Republican fabric of politics, that it is a significant motivation in Republican politics. Consider their voter suppression activities: they simultaneously disadvantage blacks, Hispanics, and Democrats. All three of which is just fine with the Republican rank and file. And look at the kind of criticism our first black President has garnered from the rabid right: Obama bin Laden, Obama as a monkey, Obama as a witch doctor, Obama as a non-citizen (When did we make blacks citizens anyway? I don’t believe in the federal government in any case.), Obama was born in Kenya, “You lie!,” etc.
None of these are racial, I am sure. (Sarcasm alert, sarcasm alert!)
Richard Nixon’s southern strategy coupled with Lyndon Johnson’s Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts resulted in all of the racists in the South become Republicans (they used to be Democrats!). Yes, there are racists in the North. Yes, there are racists in the Democratic Party. But the vast majority of Southern racists took up residence in the Republican party and are still there. And the South is the regional bastion of the GOP.
If you want evidence as to whether this is true, all you need to look for are the usual dog whistle comments. Most recently we heard from Senators Ted Cruz and Rand Paul in support of Cliven Bundy. When Bundy got lathered up and started on his favorite topic of “the Negro” both of those Senators denounced his comments, well actually their press secretaries did, in written statements, so there will be no video or audio record of the two Senators denunciations but their prior approval of Mr. Bundy’s antics will be widely available in those formats.
This is how the race card is played, without race being brought up. And Republicans, especially ambitious Republicans, better learn how to curry the favor of racists, even if they are not racists themselves, because a significant fraction of their base is.