It's the political mirage that won't dissipate. On May 29, Donald Lambro wrote in the Washington Times:
"There is growing fear among Democratic strategists that George W. Bush is making gains in their party's base, especially with minorities and labor. If true, this could be the most important political sea change in America in 70 years.
"Donna Brazile, the black turnout specialist who ran Al Gore's 2000 presidential campaign, has been telling the Democratic National Committee and anyone else who will listen, 'don't take African-Americans for granted' because their loyalty is eroding and Mr. Bush is courting them aggressively."
I say: bunk (not for the first time).
So Donna Brazile wants Democrats to pay more attention to African-Americans—such as (to pick a random example) Donna Brazile?
Well, I'm sorry if this is disillusioning to Mr. Lambro—but political consultants like Brazile and Karl Rove seldom say anything to the press that hasn't been crafted to advance their interests.
And it's generally not hard to figure out what their interests are.
Lambro goes on:
"This slippage is even more [!!!!] evident among heavily Democratic Hispanic and Latino voters. Some 35 percent of all Hispanics voted Republican in 2002, according to postelection surveys."
But 35 percent is exactly George W. Bush's (pitiful) share of the Hispanic vote back in 2000. So the Democrats have experienced no slippage whatsoever—despite all the "Hispandering" (as Mickey Kaus calls it) that the Administration did over the first two years.
In the current (May 1st) issue of the neoliberal Washington Monthly, Ruy Teixeira, co-author of The Emerging Democratic Majority, explains what actually happened in the last election. Sounding a lot like, well, me, Ruy wrote:
"Last November was all about the white vote. For all the talk of Republican minority outreach, the voters who showed up for the GOP on Election Day were, with few exceptions, white. In the 2000 election, 54 percent of whites voted for Bush and 56 percent for congressional Republicans; in 2002 that figure rose to 58 percent, which, coupled with higher turnout of whites, especially conservative whites, was enough for victory. Viewed one way, that's good news for Republicans, since whites comprise the overwhelming majority of U.S. voters. Trouble is, that majority is steadily diminishing."
Minorities simply didn't show up much to vote last November. For example, in California, where we have the most reliable exit poll data, the nonwhite share fell from 36 percent in 1998 to 24 percent in 2002.
In effect, Republican minority outreach has turned out to be a smokescreen that Karl Rove laid down to distract the media from his fundamental (and winning) strategy of getting more whites to turn out and vote Republican—what we at VDARE.COM call (despite my modest disclaimers) the "Sailer Strategy."
Rove succeeded in making the 2002 election about fighting terrorism and fighting Iraq (which was portrayed as one and the same thing).
In contrast to whites, foreign affairs generally don't much interest minority groups, except when an immigrant group's home country is affected — for instance, Cuban-Americans are intensely interested in the embargo on Cuba.
Since the election, the Administration has been preoccupied with its second tax cut bill and with Iraq.
If the economy finally climbs off the canvas before Election Day, which it should do if the normal business cycle is still in effect, then the Administration is positioned to claim credit on the grounds that it at least Did Something.
But it's hard to imagine that cutting the dividend tax will loosen the Democrats' traditional grip on the black and Hispanic electorates. Cutting the estate tax certainly didn't lure minorities into the GOP fold in the 2002 election.
Personally, I'm not terribly optimistic about the fate of neoconservative plans to turn Iraq (of all places) into Proposition Nation, Jr.
But that probably won't hurt Bush much in the upcoming election. For many Americans, so far as I can judge from listening to country music radio stations, the Iraq Attaq wasn't about democratizing the Middle East. It was about racial revenge.
Unquestionably, the Bush Administration's pugnacious foreign policy has caused the most warlike ethnic group among WASPs to turn out and vote overwhelmingly for the GOP. (You might ask: Wait a minute — are there WASP ethnic groups? Next week, I'll explain what they are, and how the Administration seems to be targeting the most strategic one.)
But there are two small problems with Rove's approach.
First, he's inflicting damage upon the American citizenry, and his own party, not just in the long term but in the quite pressing medium term, by shoving through an illegal alien amnesty etc. just so that he can spin the press in the short term.
Second, what would Rove have done without 9/11?
If it hadn't happened, would he have had to invent it?