Romney’s Campaign Wedge: Drawing Race & Class Lines
The issue of taxes is the Republican Party’s dog whistle on race. Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan—engaged in a nail-biting political fight—have resorted to blowing it loudly and unashamedly. Combined with their new drumbeat on welfare—which amplifies race-signaling on taxes—their approach could work. No doubt Romney will be wielding that whistle tonight. If GOP history is any guide, he’ll use it to conduct an “us vs. them” conversation without using explicit racial terms.
The target is white women. According to Gallup, white men are already largely pro-Romney by a whopping 26 percentage points. With the GOP having alienated half of the electorate in its year-long War on Women—reignited last week by Todd Akin—Romney’s lead amongst white women is three times smaller at 8 percent.
Obama has a tremendous advantage amongst people of color. The only way that Romney can overcome it is to get his support amongst white women into the double digits. The campaign surely knows it and seems to have concluded that racial wedge issues are the surest way to get ahead. Neck and neck in what should be a runaway election year for the GOP, given the state of the economy, Romney and Ryan are paving their road to the White House with racial animosity.
But the one-two punch of taxes and welfare to transmit race signals is not new. Ronald Reagan did so with devastating effect in 1980. He coasted to reelection four years later. Romney is merely bringing the party back to where it started 30 years ago…
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