There’s little doubt Sarah Palin is poising herself to become the new voice of the Republican party. As she campaigns for McCain, going rogue has not only become her norm, it’s become her platform. Her pro-”redneck” America, her “real” America, is really code for white, rural America. And like in the late 60s, when the white supremacist George Wallace used thinly veiled hate speech so as to inoculate himself from claims of overt racism, Palin and her followers are gaining momentum by embracing fear and intolerance and using similarly coded language. In yesterday’s Op-Ed column in the New York Times, Paul Krugman predicted this new movement–led by the Palins and the Michele Bachmanns–will only get uglier and increasingly bigoted.
But the G.O.P.’s long transformation into the party of the unreasonable right, a haven for racists and reactionaries, seems likely to accelerate as a result of the impending defeat.
This will pose a dilemma for moderate conservatives. Many of them spent the Bush years in denial, closing their eyes to the administration’s dishonesty and contempt for the rule of law. Some of them have tried to maintain that denial through this year’s election season, even as the McCain-Palin campaign’s tactics have grown ever uglier. But one of these days they’re going to have to realize that the G.O.P. has become the party of intolerance.
Many are trying to make predictions on how the Presidential elections will turn out by making comparisons to Harold Ford Jr’s unsuccessful bid to win a Senate seat in 2006. I think it’s a bad comparison. Schaffner at pollster.com takes a look at some exit polling data on “late deciders” anyway and concludes there to have been no Bradley Effect in effect..
Of the things weighing down Jr’s campaign, race was probably less significant than having the last name Ford and being from Memphis. People knew “Ford,” but perhaps not as many knew Harold Ford Jr. I think folks were still trying to see whether or not there would be some kind of fallout from his family members legal troubles. There’s also the fact that late in the campaign, many progressives and Kurita fans were still pondering whether to pinch the snout and pull the lever for Ford or waste one on Lugo. Or abstain.
Nashville Post Politics
Pollster.com compares the current presidential race to the 2006 U.S. Senate race between Bob Corker and Harold Ford:
The differences between early deciders and late deciders are opposite of what we would expect if there was a race effect among late deciders. Whites who decided within the last week and a half of the campaign were actually 8% more likely to vote for Ford than those who made up their minds earlier. The same pattern held for less educated whites, rural whites, and whites living in eastern Tennessee. The only two groups where Ford did not do better among late deciders was for low income whites and older whites. But even in this case, Ford performed about as well as he did with early deciders, not significantly worse.
What does this mean for the presidential race? It depends on the extent to which you think the case of Tennessee in 2006 can be applied to the 2008 presidential contest. On one hand, the demography of Tennessee would seem to make it a good place to look for race effects among late deciders. On the other hand, electing someone to the Senate in a midterm election is a bit different from electing a president. But if you believe the comparison, then the experience from Tennessee in 2006 would suggest that there is little reason to expect late deciders to break against Obama because of his race.
New Mexico Independent
Instead I’m thinking about race in America.
As in, Race.
I’m having a hard time with the gross racism that’s all of a sudden burst into the open during this presidential campaign. Call it the Palin-effect.
Sarah Palin said Barack Obama ” pals around with terrorists,” and further added that he’s “not like us” at a rally last week. That set off a round of Republican rallies that literally spewed racial hatred at Obama.
It’s been well-documented and picked over in the press, with Frank Rich summing the situation up in a New York Times Op-Ed:
At McCain-Palin rallies, the raucous and insistent cries of “Treason!” and “Terrorist!” and “Kill him!” and “Off with his head!” as well as the uninhibited slinging of racial epithets, are actually something new in a campaign that has seen almost every conceivable twist. …
…what has pumped up the Weimar-like rage at McCain-Palin rallies, is the violent escalation in rhetoric, especially (though not exclusively) by Palin. Obama “launched his political career in the living room of a domestic terrorist.” He is “palling around with terrorists” (note the plural noun). Obama is “not a man who sees America the way you and I see America.” Wielding a wildly out-of-context Obama quote, Palin slurs him as an enemy of American troops.