From Lawyers, Guns and Money:
As always when questions of motivations rather than actions come up, I think we have to return to George Wallace. Even politicians who make overtly racist appeals may be much more committed to winning elections than to racism. So I’m not sure it matters much what precise mixture of partisan advantage and racism motivates Republican efforts to suppress the African-American vote; the efforts are, in the end, racist even if wholly motivated by the former. Similarly, I don’t know how much racism and how much partisan advantage led to, say, Reagan kicking off his campaign in Philadelphia, MS to deliver coded appeals to southern racists (as well, of course, as the 3 Americans consistently committed to “states’ rights” principles), but it’s indefensible either way. Attempts to figure out whether the tunes played on Nixon’s Piano are authentic expressions of subjective racist beliefs or mere self-interested cynicism are both impossible and beside the point.
While you’re at it, check out this column by Bob Herbert, focusing on the modern Republican’s party’s dedication to denying the vote to as many Black Americans as possible. Herbert ends his (otherwise excellent) column by writing “Blacks have been remarkably quiet about this sustained mistreatment by the Republican Party, which says a great deal about the quality of black leadership in the U.S..”
Actually, if it weren’t for black activists and leaders, I don’t think many of us would have heard about most of these problems at all. The problem is that no one listens to them. I wish Herbert had instead written: “Democrats have been remarkably quiet about this sustained mistreatment by the Republican Party, which says a great deal about the quality of Democratic party leadership in the U.S. ”
Curtsy: David at The Debate Link.