GOP Fears, New American Majority and Democratic Infighting

GOP+Fears%2C+New+American+Majority+and+Democratic+Infighting

Walter C. Farrell, Jr., PhD, MHPS, Guest Columnist

The eminent Harvard legal scholar and historian, Dr. Annette Gordon-Reed, in her well-received book, On Juneteenth (2021), traced the origin stories of America’s development which were intertwined with slavery and violence against ethnic minorities—those of Indigenous, Black, Hispanic, and Asian backgrounds—whom we now refer to as the New American Majority. They were not then or now viewed as full citizens.

As their numbers have grown dramatically during the 21st century, Professor Gordon-Reed notes that “the degree of racial tolerance among Whites has always been about numbers,” regarding America’s ethnic minority groups, especially when they have advocated for social economic justice, from school desegregation in the 1950s and beyond; sit-ins, freedom rides, voting and civil rights in the 1960s; and political representation during the present day.

To justify oppression and repression, the White power structure created a series of origin stories—Big Lies—to explain their inequitable treatment of their brothers and sisters of darker racial hues. Collectively, they categorized them as lazy, immoral, unintelligent, sexually aggressive, and buffoonish, among other demeaning traits. Books, movies, and the general print and broadcast media reinforced these features.

After the Civil War defeat and surrender in the 19th century, traitorous were resurrected and lionized via statues and monuments in every region of the nation. Organizations such as the Daughters of the Confederacy raised millions of dollars to perpetuate that Big Lie, and their descendants have reinforced and expanded it for more than a century.

Thus, it is not surprising that our most recent former President, Donald J. Trump, had no difficulty crafting his own foundational story about a fraudulent and stolen election after the voters turned him out and blamed it on the New American Majority who stuffed ballot boxes and rigged voting machines with the help of China and Venezuela.

This fear and loathing of the New American Majority are at the core of the over 400 bills introduced in 48 states that make it harder to vote and that are overwhelmingly aimed at low-income voters of color. Republicans fear that ethnic minorities will take over the nation and deny them the power and control they feel they rightfully deserve.

Without labeling it or calling it what it is, they are attempting to institute a not-so-subtle form of political apartheid. To their credit, Republicans have pulled together their rank and file elected officials at every level of government to push this initiative, while Democrats, who control the three elected branches of the federal government, are fighting among themselves with slim majorities in the House and Senate.

The GOP currently has 27 governors to the Democrats 23. Republicans also control 30 of the 50 state legislatures that will redraw Congressional districts before the 2022 midterm elections. Democrats hold 220 House seats while Republicans hold 211 with four vacancies. Since the GOP will have the primary responsibility for constructing Congressional district lines, it appears to have the upper hand in becoming the House majority in 2023.

Coupled with the reality of a 50-50 split in the Senate, with Vice President Harris casting the deciding vote if the Democrats can get their 50 members on the same political page, Democrats are having little success of late.

Republicans are being aided by the growing enmity between Democratic moderates and progressives over the Party’s stance on issues, e.g., the progressive push to defund the police amidst a spike in crime; a multi-trillion-dollar budget for an expansive brick and mortar infrastructure plan, climate change, and human infrastructure bill; and the abolition of the Senate filibuster.

Although the aforementioned issues are driving Democrats apart, the Republicans are piling on with other divisive concerns: critical race theory (which lumps any White grievance under its banner); transgender rights; and abortion rights to solidify their base. Democrats seem unaware of the effects their bickering is having on the voters who gave them trilateral power in 2020.

Democrats’ apparent naiveté about the political process they are intricately involved in boggles the political imagination. Is it impossible for them to go to their House and Senate caucuses and cut a deal they can live with? Can President Joe Biden call Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, and key progressives and moderates together to hash out the sticking points of their disagreements?

Time is running out as the 2022 midterms are around the political corner. There is no time to waste. The Democrats’ House Squad, initially made up of Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley, and Rashida Tlaib, have now been joined by newly elected Reps. Cori Bush, Jamaal Bowman, Mondaire Jones, and Marie Newman; the Progressive Caucus; and moderates are heading for a political cliff with their eyes wide open.

The liberal and progressive New Majority voter base from New York City sent them a message last week when Eric Adams, a Black ex-New York City cop, won the mayoral Democratic primary, running on a law and order platform along with police reform. The House Squad needs to recalibrate its political message to be more inclusive of its base.

The communication cannot be clearer that the increasingly left-wing orientation of the Democratic House Squad and House and Senate Progressives is not one that will enable Democrats to hold their majorities in either the House or the Senate, which will make President Biden and Vice President Harris lame ducks during the last two years of their term.