The 2008 election is shaping up to be a watershed event—or at least that is a strong possibility. First, the Democrats nominated Barack Obama as the first black nominee for a major political party. During the Democratic primaries, it was obvious that white working class people supported Hillary Clinton rather than Obama.
Obama’s nomination meant that blacks would be even more inclined to vote Democrat than usual, and Republicans had no motivation to reach out to black voters. The result was that the racial breakdown at the convention was 2% black, 5% Hispanic, and 93% white. This compares with 85% white in 2004 (due to outreach by George Bush) and 89% white in 2000. The breakdown for the Democrats was similar to previous conventions: 65 percent white, 23 percent black and 11 percent Hispanic.
Meanwhile, McCain was the model neocon candidate (i.e., favoring whatever the Israeli right wants and a poster boy for massive legal and illegal immigration to the US). He became the Republican nominee after über-Zionist Joe Lieberman jump started his moribund campaign with a ringing endorsement that was picked up by the mainstream media, propelling him to the nomination.
But McCain, who has been a strong advocate for the ill-fated bill that would have granted amnesty for illegal aliens and a variety of other liberal causes, had a problem: Lack of enthusiasm from the grass roots of his own party and from leading Republican opinion makers like Rush Limbaugh. The Democrats had all the momentum of an historic candidacy, a bad economy, an unpopular war, and lots of brain-dead whites hoping for racial absolution.
The (rather brilliant) solution was to select Sarah Palin for McCain’s running mate—a solution that has energized the Republicans but will also further the racial polarization of American politics—a prospect that is certainly welcome for us atThe Occidental Observer. The image of Palin endorsing small town values and surrounded by her white children on stage at the Republican convention is absolutely nauseating to the hegemonic left. Gloria Steinem expressed her outrage in the L.A. Times. Steinem’s ideal woman is doubtless someone like herself: a childless post-modern intellectual railing against male hegemony and other injustices.
Needless to say, this image of white fertility and small town values is not going to appeal to blacks or Latinos either. Indeed, Palin’s speech reminded Whoopi Goldberg of a German-American Bund rally(!). Way too many happy white people in one place.
German American Bund rally at Madison Square Garden. New York, United States, February 20, 1939.
Palin is a personification of what I term implicit whiteness. She has a white political and cultural affiliation even if there are still taboos about saying so explicitly. As she stressed in her acceptance speech, she is unabashedly proud of being a small-town American—an advocate of hunting, fishing, hockey moms, and serious Christianity. (The downside is that Palin’s Christian beliefs seem to be the Dispensationalist variety. Dispensationalists believe that the preservation of Israel is a Biblical imperative and they have become closely allied with the neocons.)
The prediction is that an even greater percentage of whites will vote Republican in the 2008 election than in 2004. In 2004, 58% of whites voted Republican, and their votes constituted 88% of all the Republican votes.
If and when this occurs, there will be much weeping and gnashing in the media. In fact, it’s already happening. Writing in the Washington Post, Harold Meyerson is particularly blunt, claiming that the Republicans are using identity politics in a last gasp effort to hold on to political power:
The GOP’s last best hope remains identity politics. In a year when the Democrats have an African American presidential nominee, the Republicans now more than ever are the white folks’ party, the party that delays the advent of our multicultural future, the party of the American past. Republican conventions have long been bastions of de facto Caucasian exclusivity, but coming right after the diversity of Denver, this year’s GOP convention is almost shockingly — un-Americanly — white. Long term, this whiteness is a huge problem. This year, however, whiteness is the only way Republicans cling to power. If the election is about the economy, they’re cooked — and their silence this week on nearly all things economic means that they know it.
This of course is ridiculous. Identity politics is what multiculturalism is all about. Meyerson doesn’t seem to notice that blacks are much more likely to engage in identity politics than whites: Well over 90% of blacks will vote for Obama. And he would never complain about Jewish identity politics in which the great majority of Jews vote Democrat (74% in 2004, 79% in 2000) despite their elite economic status and despite the fact that the Bush II administration was dominated by foreign policy operatives whose main allegiance is to Israel. Just imagine the angst of people like Meyerson if 75% of whites voted Republican.
Meyerson’s scorn and contempt for “the American past” is a scorn and contempt for white people—not at all surprising in a member of the ethnic group responsible for opening the flood gates of immigration to the US. He would doubtless agree with fellow Jewish intellectual activist Ben Wattenberg that “The non-Europeanization of America is heartening news of an almost transcendental quality.”
Unlike the explicit ethnic identifications of blacks and Jews, white ethnic identification remains implicit. But white ethnic identification is bound to become increasingly explicit as the election returns show whites stubbornly attempting to cling to political power —not to mention the other signs that most whites—like Sarah Palin—still pledge allegiance to the traditional culture of America.
The danger, of course, is that this artful move by McCain in selecting Palin will not have any effect on policy should McCain be elected—that a McCain administration would be yet another neoconservative administration with all the dangers (war and massive legal and illegal immigration) that that implies. McCain has surrounded himself with neoconservative Jews, and there is a real possibility that Joe Lieberman could become Secretary of State or Secretary of Defense in a McCain administration.
(My favorite of these Jewish McCain supporters is Marshall Wittmann: “A former self-confessed Trotskyite, radical Zionist and labor organizer, Wittmann served in the elder George Bush’s administration, then went to work in the mid-1990s for the Christian Coalition of America despite being Jewish.” We’ll take a wild guess that he still has a Jewish identity and is pursuing Jewish interests—a crypto-Jew by any other name.)
This was certainly the strategy of the Bush administration: Rally the white base of the Republican Party by appealing to implicit whiteness and then do absolutely nothing to advance the interests of white people. But that sort of tactic can’t work forever. It’s like the immigration amnesty act of 1986: When people realized that the amnesty law did not stop illegal immigration, they couldn’t be fooled a second time and overwhelmingly rejected a (McCain-sponsored) amnesty law.
McCain himself may well be absolutely cynical about all this, but sooner or later, the Republican appeal to white identity will have to actually do something to advance the interests of whites. And they will have to be explicit about it. Right now, it looks like the election of 2008 will bring that day closer.