McCain, The GOP Base, And Race: Succumbing To The Dark Side

OK, so this Maron v Seder ad is just a spoof, something along the lines of my earlier suggestions to John McCain that he simply give in to his party

OK, so this Maron v Seder ad is just a spoof, something along the lines of my earlier suggestions to John McCain that he simply give in to his party's inner Nativist and toss the Latino vote overboard. But it touches on something important.

Obama's candidacy has exposed one of the deep internal tensions that has always existed within the Republican Party's longtime use of the racial-fear card: One the one hand, the core of the GOP's appeals to suburban voters in particular has been predicated on preserving white privilege and blunting the advance of minority civil rights, particularly when it comes to changes in the demographic makeup of previously all-white communities. (That is, after all, the underlying nature of the Nativists' anti-Latino push.)

On the other hand, they can't appeal to those suburban voters with nakedly bigoted rhetoric -- it's been proven to be a turnoff for them. So they've been resorting to subtle dogwhistles throughout this campaign.

But in these final weeks, and as McCain stumbles into a deeper hole in the polls, the GOP is becoming increasingly frantic and desperate. And that's when the teeth are bared.

It will be important for Democrats and progressives not to become complacent at this point. For one thing, we really don't know whether or not appealing to the lizard-brain elements Outer Wingnuttia will work electorally speaking -- judging from the polls, it's more likely to drive McCain farther south. But we can't take that for granted.

More importantly, we need to be prepared for the consequences, both short- and long-term, of these kinds of appeals: Who it empowers, what demons it unleashes. As Democrats are the targets, it's important to be alert and attuned to the violent beast that's being unleashed.

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