Ian Haney López on the Dog Whistle Politics of Race from BillMoyers.com on Vimeo.
My Dad would say, “The Republican Party is the rich man’s party”. That’s not true anymore. The Republican Party is the political party of the fantastically wealthy and the political party of the white fools who fall for their bait and switch scam:
Thats the 50 year old and incredibly successful Republican scam of getting white voters to vote for politicians who continuously enact laws that help the extremely wealthy and harm everyone else. Dog whistle racial politics is the primary vehicle for the Republican scam on the 99 percent.
The other part of the story is that the Democratic Party responded to the Republican scam on white people by tracking right with the Republican Party.
Remember how Governor Rendell said that Barack Obama might not win Pennsylvania because of the "Reagan Democrats"?
White Pennsylvania Democrats were conned into working against their best interests. They believed they voted for Romney and against black people. They in fact voted for the fantastically wealthy and against themselves.
Their is a dark cloud hanging over the Republican Parties bait and switch scam to attract white voters. It's not that white voters can see through the Republican scam. Their minds are clouded by racism. It's the fact that white voters will soon be a minority.
"IAN HANEY LÓPEZ: “Think about the characters in this story. The first character is the person buying a T-bone steak with food stamps. And that's conjuring the image of the lazy minority who's strong, who could work, but who doesn't want to work, and prefers to be on welfare. But the other image is the you in that story, who Reagan's talking to. And the you is ostensibly the voter, the hard-working taxpayer, the law-abiding American. That voter, that hard-working American implicitly has a racial identity. And that's white. So there you can see this racial narrative. You, Reagan is saying to white audiences, you're being taken advantage of.
There's a third character here. Government. It's government ostensibly that is taking advantage of whites, that is taking their money through taxes, and then giving it to these undeserving minorities. So what did Reagan suggest? He suggested tax cuts. We shouldn't, you shouldn't have to pay taxes to a government that's just taking your money and giving it to minorities. And indeed, what did he do? He enacted tax cuts. In the first year of his tax cuts, $164 billion went to American corporations. Over the 1980’s, the Reagan tax cuts transferred a trillion dollars to America's top 1 percent. Yes, voters got the tax cuts they thought were aimed at cutting off undeserving minorities. But in fact, it was a politics that was showering money on the very richest Americans…
IAN HANEY LÓPEZ: … The Republican Party today is 90 percent white in terms of where it draws its support and it's 98 percent white in terms of its elected officials. The country as a whole is almost is 65 percent white. You don't achieve that level of racial homogeneity by accident…
Indeed, dog whistle politics doesn't come out of animus at all. It doesn't come out of some desire to hurt minorities. It comes out of a desire to win votes. And in that sense, I want to start using the term strategic racism. It's racism as a strategy. It's cold, it's calculating, it's considered, it's the decision to achieve one's own ends, here winning votes, by stirring racial animosity. And that's the decision that George Wallace made, that's the decision that Ronald Reagan made, that's the decision that Mitt Romney made.”…
IAN HANEY LÓPEZ And it works. If we want to understand how we got to levels of wealth inequality we haven't seen in a hundred years. If we want to understand what produced the Great Recession and why since the Great Recession 95 percent of the recovery has gone to the top 1 percent, we need to focus on how race is shaping contemporary politics.
BILL MOYERS: We’ll dig further into Dog Whistle Politics in our next episode with Ian Haney López. Here’s a preview:
IAN HANEY LÓPEZ: Democrats have understood, they understood even as early as 1970, race was going to be an effective wedge issue against them. And when the Democrats responded, they responded not by contesting that politics, but instead by embracing it. And this is part of the story of dog whistle politics. Republican shift right and the Democrats have tracked rightward, following them."