Sunday, October 26, 2008

After the Election & Neo-Confederacy

I am going to assume that the election is going to go badly for the Republicans and they are going to lose the White House, the House and the Democrats are possibly going to get their 60+ majority in the Senate. I am not going to go over the polls and arguments state by state. There are other websites which do a good job of reviewing the polls and analyzing the polls and politics much better than I. I am not necessarily assured that the election will be a great Democratic party win either. I will be watching election night on the Internet to see what happens while I am doing other work around the house. I don't own a television. However, for sake of discussion let's say that it is going to be a big win for the Democrats as I assumed above.

I am not sure if it such a prize to win this election. The economy is in terrible shape and getting worse and handling the economy is going to be like trying to catch a falling anvil. Though the policies of the last 8 years or more have resulted in this economic debacle, the public will hold the current office holder accountable for results.

One consequence of the 2008 defeat of the Republicans is going to be a struggle for its future and recrimination who are to blame for the defeat. These are a few interesting articles relevant to these two topics.

"The Party of Yesterday" by Timothy Egan

"Ceding the Center" by David Brooks

"Republican fears of historic Obama landslide unleash civil war for the future of the party" by Tim Shipman

After the election I don't think there is going to be a coherent direction for the Republican party. They will be fighting it out. There won't be a popular Republican president and a powerful national Republican party establishment to set the direction. The most prominent Republican is going to be Sarah Palin and she is not going to be pushing the agenda of the Republican establishment, though I am sure she is willing to deal with them. Palin derives her political base on themes oppositional to the national Republican party establishment. Even prior to this coming election defeat, the Republicans have chosen a campaign plan of fear mongering, anti-intellectualism, and calling others un-American. It is not surprising that it has reminded some of George Wallace.

The surviving Republican party will be even more heavily centered in the former Confederate states than before. Palin will be driving the Republican party further to the right. Ann Coulter must by now be realizing that Palin is her competitor. Palin will be the natural person for a hard right Republican party politics to assemble around. She already has a ready made base for reactionary Republicans to base their efforts to capture the Republican party. I think that Palin would rather be the head of a Reactionary Republican party out of power, than have a moderate Republican party that sends her into retirement laughing at her.

Republican elected officials in the former Confederate states will need to consider what they need to do to survive a potential challenge in the Republican party from reactionary Republicans. The national Republican establishment is somewhat discredited and won't be able to offer as much help to a Republican facing a challenge in the Republican primary. Imagine a moderate Republican in the South running against a reactionary Republican challenger who has Palin visiting the district to support the challenger. However, even without Palin, I think Republican congressional representatives are going to be concerned about what gets them elected locally and will have little concern about the national Republican establishment agenda.

I think the election of an African American president is going to have an impact. There is a fraction of Americans who will find this galling, I think most are in the Republican party and others might leave the Democratic party for the Republican party. Obama's election will represent the end to them of white privilege, in particular what they imagine should be their own privilege in the system. They will represent a force for a reactionary politics in the Republican party. Also, I think that having an African American president will tend to racialize politics with some. If someone is upset with Obama's policy on lets say national infrastructure, bridges etc., they won't be angry with a Democratic president, for some people they will be angry with a African American president. For reactionaries that are angry with George W. Bush and Democrats in general anyways, the fact that Obama is African American will further gall them.

Then there will be the Republican base having to face defeat. I don't think they will take it very well. They are going to have an agenda that the rest of the nation is going to consider extreme and they are going to be aware of this rejection and feel very frustrated.

The very bad and worsening economy is going to drive a large fraction of the public to be very discontented. People are going to be really angry. For a lot of people this will drive the search for scape goats. Certainly there are individuals whose behavior was reprehensible and have responsibility for the present financial crisis. However, the question could be asked who put the current administration in power for the last eight years? However, telling the public that they are responsible for their own problems is hardly a plan calculated to bring political success. Instead Others will be seen to the source of problems.

I think in the former Confederate states the Republican Party will move towards being a sort of Dixiecrat party and the party of the reactionaries. The neo-Confederates might find a role in this Republican party or they might find that they are on the outside and the Republican party has stolen some of their themes. I think that the Council of Conservative Citizens will find that they
are inside the Republican party, but the League of the South (LOS) will find they are competing with a Republican Party that has taken for themselves policies from the LOS agenda. This doesn't preclude that there will be Republicans seeking their endorsement.

I don't think it is impossible that some Republicans will run for office flying Confederate flags, at least in the primaries. In 2012 I think there will be more than one Republican presidential candidate endorsing the Confederate flag in South Carolina. Barbour ran for governor of Mississippi with the Confederate flag even though there was a national Republican establishment that had real strength. On the other hand, I have a hunch that Palin won't be communicating much, if at all, with the Alaska Independence Party in the future. They won't fit into her plans unless secession becomes big in the Republican base.

In summary, I think we are going to see a Republican party going reactionary, and picking up agenda items that the neo-Confederates support. Neo-Confederates may find influence within the Republican party in the former Confederate states. In other cases neo-Confederate groups may find they are marginalized because the Republicans have picked up their agenda items. I also see in some of the former Confederate states a Republican politics that is shrill and angry.

This is of course just one possible future. If Obama and the Democrats get the economy going again soon, it will difuse a lot of discontent. The national Republican establishment does have a lot of the potential campaign money and they will be organizing to prevent a reactionary shift in the Republican party.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Article on the Neo-Confederacy of the Alaska Independence Party

As I think almost everyone knows, Sarah Palin has spoken to the convention of the Alaska Independence Party (AIP) praising them in a video she sent to their convention.

This article by Max Blumenthal and David Neiwert describes the AIP party and the beliefs of its members. They have a neo-Confederate view of the Civil War. The article is at this link.

This isn't surprising since the AIP is the Alaska branch of the Constitution Party which is an organization of Christian Reconstructionists and Christian Reconstructionists have a neo-Confederate view of American history. The two movements have a lot of overlap in beliefs and individual members. My co-author and I have an article on Confederate Christian nationalism at this link.

It is a milestone for mainstreaming neo-Confederacy in that a Vice-Presidential candidate for the Republican party is involved with and a supporter of a neo-Confederate secessionist group.

I plan to blog on the financial crisis and the neo-Confederates, but want to get this posted first.
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