Jeb’s Southern Strategy
The supposedly moderate establishment candidate just pulled a page from the nastiest right wing playbook of the last 50 years. Yes, Jeb is echoing Mitt’s complaints in the immediate aftermath of his 2012 loss: in short, the Dems win black votes because they give away “free stuff” to minorities. Of course, this also echoes other GOP “heroes” like Nixon, Reagan, and Goldwater, all of whom played up states rights as a sop to nervous and resentful whites.
Jeb Bush told a South Carolina crowd Thursday that Democrats play to African-American voters by offering “free stuff,” a similar comment to a contentious one that Mitt Romney made in the days after his 2012 loss to President Barack Obama.
This Bush might be worse than the last one. Jeb is returning to the Reaganesque con job of the dreaded black “welfare queen.” At least W avoided such transparent racist vulgarity, and at least paid lip service to the idea of “compassionate conservatism”. Now that phrase is totally discredited within the GOP. Indeed, compassion is a dirty word in a party whose primary goal now is appealing to racist fears and vilifying the poor.
Jeb claims he’s trying to reach out to black voters. But this kind of rhetoric undermines any such contention. Just like Reagan in Philadelphia, Miss., in 1980, this is quite calculated. The Republicans will win very few black votes regardless. Might as well try to stir up enthusiasm among white regressives and win as many of them as you can. He’s aping Trump’s belligerent anti-immigrant rhetoric; he’s just aiming it at black people.
All of this is incredibly condescending to blacks. The implication is that they can be bought very cheaply, and they aren’t voting on issues or their knowledge of US racial history since the Civil Rights Act. Jeb may be a little smarter than his brother, but he also may have even less integrity.