The Southern Strategy and the racial revulsion of U.S. white voters

Mitt Romney today blamed his loss at the polls in part on the desire by minorities for "gifts", presumably to be given by President Obama.

The Southern Strategy was an electoral strategy employed by the U.S. Republican Party from the 1960s to the 2000s. As evidenced by Mitt Romney, it continues today. Its math is simple: racism attracted more white votes in the U.S. South than it lost black votes nationwide.

There has been much talk since Barack Obama's Nov 6, 2012 election win of shifting demographics and the relative decline in potency of a conservative, white bloc. However, I think there is a leading indicator that is more subtle.

As background, the Southern Strategy initially depended on the calculus of openly stating that government would work to the benefit of whites and to the detriment of blacks -- that economic opportunity, safety, redistribution, etc., would all be done to benefit whites and harm blacks. This radical agenda was achieved by the creation of an "Other" -- assigning to black Americans, not just the obvious inequality of opportunity, but a host of nefarious attributes: evil, corruption, sexual deviancy, intellectual inferiority, etc. To be sure,  others have become Others: Latinos, Arabs, Muslims, Gays, Feminists, and intellectuals. Even in 2012, some see women in general as the Other, evidenced by astonishing remarks made by Todd Akin, Richard Mourdock, and others on rape and female sexuality.

But at some point, the Other becomes the neighbour, and an intermediate stage is reached that I would call the "one of the good ones" period. Since the 1980s, the Republican Party has embraced certain, select blacks and Latinos, while continuing to view the vast majority as the Other.

However, if trusting a person extinguishes their Otherness, there has to be a saturation point at which so many voters befriend an Other that they begin to question, not just whether the people who look like their friend are truly so foreign, but whether anyone in their community can really be so foreign. Whether the Other is conceptually relevant; so begins the "racial revulsion of white voters" stage.

Migration, integration, immigration, birth rates, and an increasingly open, knowledge-based economy cause the Southern Strategy to turn from electoral success-maker to the GOP's Achilles heel. Where, since 1960, the Republican Party has made a net profit at the ballot box through racism (initially overt, now subtle -- hear Lee Attwater), the balance sheet has shifted. Expressing racism not only costs almost all minority voters, but causes revulsion in an increasing number of white voters. The migration of previously ghettoised or otherwise concentrated or invisible minorities into the neighbourhoods, jobs, schools and lives of the ruling class shifts the electoral calculus, such that racists, sexists, and homophobes repel, not the obvious targets of their hate, but the broader community. So long as a Southern Strategy continues -- by will or by habit -- it will not serve to attract the majority by repelling the minority, but to weld the minority and a repelled segment of the majority into a super-majority. An agglomeration of and for the just, against economically and socially regressed injustice. The entrenched, racially and sexually radical views of a segment of the Republican Party and the recently-labelled conservative entertainment complex have an expiration date that can be measured in generations.