Politics: A Color-by-Numbers Study

by Racialicious Special Correspondent Latoya Peterson

Mitty Loves the Kids!

In the aftermath of Democratic battle over the black vote, I started thinking about how politics tend to shake out among racial lines. While I cannot speak to why whole groups of people vote one way or another (theories abound) I can explain a little of what has shaped my views and beliefs.

Part of that reason is the complete and total lack of interest in minority issues from the Republican camp. They aren’t really interested in diversity or social justice. If Republicans are interested in black voters, it’s more of a superficial interest, at best. You don’t really want to talk to me, you just want to use the word “bling” in a sentence.

(Exhibit A: The pic I chose for this piece. I expect if Mitt Romney was a bit more current, he would have yelled out “Mitty loves the kids!” as opposed to quoting the Baja Men. Alas, one can only dream…in da wind…in da wind…)

At any rate, I do try to occasionally see what Republicans are discussing and see if there have been any major shifts in the party that are worth noticing. I was recently directed to this column by Larry Elder, a self-proclaimed Libertarian who just so happens to roll with the Republicans.

In “A Democrat or A Republican?” Elder tries to explain why people vote on way or another. The logic he employs to demonstrate this baffles my mind:

Republicans believe hard work wins, and government should allow you — to the fullest extent possible — to keep what you earn. Democrats believe that success results from luck, chance and happenstance, and therefore a just government takes from those who have and gives to those who do not.

Hard work wins? Really? And y’all backed a President who looks at Camp David as a lifestyle choice? Half-jokes aside, I notice this is a common way to frame the debate between parties – one party wants people to work hard and achieve, the other party wants handouts. From a more leftist perspective, one could argue that Republicans stand for corporate welfare and old boys clubs while others just want the opportunity to work hard. It’s really in how you look at things.

Republicans believe discrimination to fix previous discrimination remains discrimination, and that all a government can be is just in its own time. Democrats wish to use government to “rectify” past wrongs, which they hold responsible for today’s “inequities.”

So…you’re saying there aren’t inequities today? No skill gaps? This isn’t just a black and white issue. And we don’t need to “rectify” past wrongs? Why is rectify in quotes? I have yet to think of a problem that one can solve by ignoring it and hoping it goes away. I suppose we can call this the “fuck it, it’s time to move on” defense. Things happened in the past, but we need to press on to a new future. However, if we never face our past, how can we possibly act like we have laid all the issues to rest?

I am not sure about anyone else here… but in my life, running from old problems tends to create more problems in the long run.

Republicans believe that government should empower the individual — that a government that taxes least taxes best. Democrats want individuals to empower government, and support policies that redistribute income from person A to “deserving” person B.

Yet another way the debate is twisted and reframed. I can accept the first part of the statement. The government should empower individuals and protect them from harm. I can even see the issue on taxes – after all, if our government was more fiscally responsible we would not need such high taxes. But I take high issue with ranking people as “deserving” it smacks of the idea that instead of contributing to a common good, someone is being penalized for the benefit of someone else. I also don’t like the framing of the sentence – that we are redistributing income. Not so – you are paying into the government, and that is money that would have otherwise stayed in your pocket. However, it isn’t as if the government is skimming $30,000 off your $100,000 to give it directly to someone making $10,000 a year. Part of that money goes to admin costs, part of it goes to infrastructure, part of it goes to programs and public assistance, part of it goes to your state to fund your libraries and police force and all the other tiny things that we take for granted. Could the government spend our money more wisely? Hell yes. But I hate when people try to conjure up the idea of this mythical welfare cheat as where all their tax dollars are going. More likely than not, that person who is making $10,000 will receive maybe $2,000 in benefits (think food stamps, WIC, vouchers). Would they be better off if you just gave them the $30,000? Perhaps, but that is a whole other discussion…

Republicans believe that the playing field, while unlevel, requires an individual to do the best he or she can with the cards dealt. Democrats consider life rigged, and that one’s destiny rests on matters beyond the control of the individual.

Wow. This is a big one in terms of ideology. Again, on the surface, this one looks like simple matter of self-determination versus wanting to have things handed to you. But again, think back. No, life isn’t fair. No, life isn’t going to be perfect. But there is a huge difference between making the most with the hand you are dealt and battling institutionalized racism, sexism, and homophobia.

Republicans believe in peace through strength, and thus support strong national defense, and — in this era of Islamofascism — a proactive foreign policy. Democrats believe in strength through peace, and believe they can better influence the behavior of enemies by demonstrating our good intentions.

Islamofascism again? Peace through strength – sounds like bullying to me. No one will ever fault you for keeping a good defense – its when you take the offensive that starts to cause problem. Besides, inciting fear as a campaign tactic isn’t working too well for the GOP. And hell, I live outside of DC. I work about two blocks from the Capitol. We have regular terrorist attack evacuation drills. If another terrorist attack occurs, I probably wouldn’t survive it. But for some reason, I am still more afraid of getting sick with my shitty $150-a-month-HMO freelancer coverage than I am of another attack.

Republicans believe in the mutual benefits of free trade of goods and services. Democrats believe in “fair trade,” and support barriers that shield domestic industries against competition, reducing the incentive to innovate and change to remain competitive.

Wow. That’s a full other post in itself. I already discussed one scenario here, and I have a few more posts coming out on this topic, but to be honest, free trade leaves a lot to be desired in terms of allowing other nations to participate without being exploited. Now, personally, I feel like fair trade is allows more nations to participate, but I know there are others who will disagree. I’ll just say this – there’s a reason why companies like to advertise their fair trade initiatives. Socially conscious consumers are willing to pay for fair trade items.

Republicans consider the Constitution a contract, limiting the duties, powers and obligations of the federal government. Democrats consider the Constitution a “living, breathing document,” to be interpreted flexibly. Republicans, for example, reject Roe v. Wade because the court based it on a right to privacy, not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution. Democrats consider the right to privacy implied, despite the absence of any reference to it.

Oh no he didn’t.

The Republicans consider the Constitution a contract? Oh really? And exactly who gets to determine what is constitutional? Bush thinks he does. Well, he thinks he can interpret the parts he doesn’t blatantly ignore. And why do the Republican candidates seem so willing to bypass it whenever convenient? And what’s this about Huckabee proposing to change this “contract” to be in accordance with God’s Law? Rudy Guliani declined to answer all questions relating to the Constitution and Presidential power. So did Mike Huckabee. So did Fred Thompson. John McCain answered some questions, and declined others. Mitt Romney and Ron Paul were the only Republicans who chose to answer all the questions provided by the Boston Globe. In contrast, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Christopher Dodd, John Edwards, and Bill Richardson answered all the questions. If we are going to talk about a flexible interpretation of the Constitution, we need to start looking at the GOP.

Republicans believe what they see, and Democrats see what they believe.

If Republicans believe what they see, it’s time for them to get some damn eyeglasses.


Note: The article ends up there.

At any rate, I do recognize that Michelle Malkin, Ann Coulter, Dinesh D’Souza, Larry Elder, and other pundits may not necessarily reflect the actual views of the GOP. I also have seen all the comments asking why we don’t cover Republicans more often. By we, I think you mean me, as Wendi and Carmen aren’t wonking out on a regular basis. And personally – I have more than I can stomach just dealing with the Democrats. Trying to cover the Republicans before the official race gets underway will probably drive me over the edge. However, if you are a Republican (or if you just want to write about the GOP) please feel free send tips or volunteer a post via email – team@racialicious.com.

About This Blog

Racialicious is a blog about the intersection of race and pop culture. Check out our daily updates on the latest celebrity gaffes, our no-holds-barred critique of questionable media representations, and of course, the inevitable Keanu Reeves John Cho newsflashes.

Latoya Peterson (DC) is the Owner and Editor (not the Founder!) of Racialicious, Arturo García (San Diego) is the Managing Editor, Andrea Plaid (NYC) is the Associate Editor. You can email us at team@racialicious.com.

The founders of Racialicious are Carmen Sognonvi and Jen Chau. They are no longer with the blog. Carmen now runs Urban Martial Arts with her husband and blogs about local business. Jen can still be found at Swirl or on her personal blog. Please do not send them emails here, they are no longer affiliated with this blog.

Comments on this blog are moderated. Please read our comment moderation policy.

Use the "for:racialicious" tag in del.icio.us to send us tips. See here for detailed instructions.

Interested in writing for us? Check out our submissions guidelines.

Follow Us on Twitter!

Support Racialicious

The Octavia Butler Book Club

The Octavia Butler Book Club
(Click the book for the latest conversation)

Recent Comments

Feminism for Real – Jessica, Latoya, Andrea

Feminism for Real

Yes Means Yes – Latoya

Yes Means Yes

Sex Ed and Youth – Jessica

Youth and Sexual Health


Online Media Legal Network

Recent Posts

Support Racialicious

Older Archives


Written by: