It is still fairly common for conservatives to claim to be the party of Lincoln. That might even have a teaspoon of truth in regards to north-eastern Republicans. Though when racists like Rush Limbaugh say that it is Democrats are are the racists party, such claims are either shameless lies or display a stunning lack of knowledge about the history of political and racial alignments in the U.S. Conservatives, which is what they should call themselves, not Republicans ( the Republican Party has almost nothing to do with small r republicanism) cannot even claim to be the party of Teddy Roosevelt (R, 1901-1909), our 26th president. Teddy went after monopolies and enacted government regulation controlling food quality and inspections. Today’s Repub lican Party, i.e. the Conservative Movement went ballistic at liberal pundits and economists suggesting that we bust up the too big to fail banks after the Great recession started, and they watered down new financial regulation (Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-AL), said he believes Washington’s role is to “serve the banks.”). And of course conservatives are still fighting basic health and safety protections of the American public. Supposedly tossing out every sensible regulation on the books would create millions of jobs. Those jobs, in the conservative fantasy, would not even pay a minimum wage, much less a living wage. So there is evidence to support the observation that conservatives have become captives of the economic and cultural fantasies of the plantation economy. Sure it is easy to find a conservative on the internet arguing that they need low wage workers. That is because they think when they start a business it is their right to get wealthy on the back of wage slaves. How did conservatives to get this point. How did the Republican party, which used to be the progressive party, become the regressive movement. In case you missed it, this is a pretty good post about the history of political alignments between parties, How Racism Caused The Shutdown
This isn’t an article about how Republicans shut down the government because they hate that the President is black. This is an article about how racism caused the government to shut down and the U.S. to teeter on the brink of an unprecedented and catastrophic default.
I understand if you’re confused. A lot of people think the only way that racism “causes” anything is when one person intentionally discriminates against another because of their color of their skin. But that’s wrong. And understanding the history of the forces that produced the current crisis will lay plain the more subtle, but fundamental, ways in which race and racism formed the scaffolding that structures American politics — even as explicit battles over race receded from our daily politics.
The roots of the current crisis began with the New Deal — but not in the way you might think. They grew gradually, with two big bursts in the 1960s and the 1980s reflecting decades of more graduated change. And the tree that grew out of them, the Tea Party and a radically polarized Republican Party, bore the shutdown as its fruits.
[ ]…Hence the famous Dixiecrat revolt of 1948, when Strom Thurmond and likeminded Southerners temporarily seceded from the Democratic Party over Harry Truman and the Democratic platform’s support for civil rights. The tacit bargain that Katznelson documents during the Roosevelt Administration, in which the Northern Democrats would get their New Deal if the Southern Democrats got their white supremacy, became untenable.
The Legacy Of The Democratic South’s Rebellion: The Tea Party
We all know what happens next. The Southern conservative takeover of the Republican Party pushes out moderates, cementing the party’s conservative spiral. This trend produces the Tea Party, whose leading contemporary avatar — Ted Cruz — engineers the 2013 shutdown and risk of catastrophic default.
So we can draw a tentatively straight line between the last 80 years of racial politics and this week’s political crisis. Aside from being an interesting point of history, what does that tell us?
First, that the shutdown crisis isn’t the product of passing Republican insanity or, as President Obama put it, a “fever” that needs to be broken. Rather, the sharp conservative turn of the Republican Party is the product of deep, long-running structural forces in American history. The Republican Party is the way that it is because of the base that it has evolved, and it would take a tectonic political shift — on the level of the Democrats becoming the party of civil rights — to change the party’s internal coalition. Radicalized conservatism will outlive the shutdown/debt ceiling fight.
Second, and more importantly, the battle over civil rights produced a rigidly homogenous and disproportionately Southern Republican party, fertile grounds for the sort of purity contest you see consuming the South today. There’s no zealot like a new convert, the saying goes, and the South’s new faith in across-the-board conservatism — kicked off by the alignment of economic libertarianism with segregationism — is one of the most significant causes of the ideological inflexibility that’s caused the shutdown.
While many of my conservative friends, co-workers and family support Medicare, Social Security, Medicaid, Workman’s Compensation, i.e. the social safety net, sabotaging the safety net has become core to the conservative cause. This is also where racism and ye old far-Right nativism meets the ACA or Obamacare. Even the Tea Baggers support the safety net, they certainly depend on it to survive. Conservatives think it is morally just that they receive these entitlements, but not those people over there – the people of color. They see Obamacare as something, as another program that will – in their blurred vision – be taken advantage of by those other people. Even as like food assistance, white southerners and mid-westerners are actually the largest number of participants.