I had the good fortune of experiencing some enlightenment by one of my friends on Google+. He had posted about something I had never heard of before, The Southern Strategy (very well documented at Salon.com).
The Southern Strategy has been hotly pursued by the Republican Party since at least 1968 as a way to solidify their backing from a white voter majority in the US. Since then, it has been largely successful at dividing the country between whites and minorities and subjugating minorities as a second class. Rather than providing a basis for national unity, The Southern Strategy (TSS) has been used to divide the country between whites and everyone else.
In years past, this division was subtle and fairly well obscured by mainstream media. Now the effort is overt and in full bloom as exhibited by the front runner of the GOP in this presidential election cycle, Donald Trump. One example that comes to mind is Donald Trump's idea of a national requirement for Muslim registration. You know, like the Nazis required of the Jews in Germany. That's very overt racism for the leader of either major party in a presidential election.
I have some friends and family that are aligned with the GOP. I know them not to be racist so I have to wonder how they could be comfortable with the prospect of a Trump presidency. I believe that I can extrapolate that discomfort to many supporters of the GOP in principle, to the exclusion of the overt racism now on parade. They may like the GOP, but find the overt racism unsettling at best. I believe that this discomfort is particularly true in the Blue States like New York and California, two of the biggest states that are the hardest to win by the GOP.
This idea of maintaining power by division, "divide and conquer" as it were, is a fool's errand at best and doomed at worst. The evidence for this is easy to find. First, from a moral perspective, TSS is an exercise in deception on a massive scale. The GOP cannot reasonably be considered sincere if their electoral efforts require deception.
Second, from a demographic perspective, the cause is lost, easily within 2 generations, likely within 1. The US Census has projected that by 2044, more than half of all Americans will be of a minority status, that is, non-white. With whites in the minority relative to all others, TSS may still find success, but maintaining dominance in legislatures will become harder with time. I believe that once a white minority is established in American politics and popular culture, backlash is likely.
Third, there is another demographic: with education comes birth control. I know, it seems counterintuitive, but trends in population show a significant decrease in the rate of population growth, and even decreases in population among countries with greater education opportunities for girls and women. As girls grow up into educated women, they delay child rearing to established a career and to ensure that they are not subject to the whims of the men they marry.
Here's the irony: wealthy white minorities have worked hard for decades to keep the best education opportunities to the exclusion of the poor and to some extent, the middle class. As the poor and middle class find good educational opportunities elusive, they tend to have larger families, but shorter lifespans. They grow more populous, at the expense of the better educated white minority over time. As whites grow more educated, they have fewer children. This trend is inevitable as the data bear this out. The effort to exclude minorities from the best education opportunities has been so successful, that many poor and middle class whites have been ensnared.
The goal then, is to convince the white majority that as poor and middle class whites, they too, are a target of TSS. Who wouldn't be unhappy to learn that they are really just pawns for maintenance of a wealthy minority? To get an idea of how bad inequality is in America, check out this video. That is the status quo that most of us are being asked to support, and exactly what TSS is all about.
We don't have to wait one or two generations for change. The best candidate at hand to reach the poor and middle class whites with this realization is Bernie Sanders. He's not fabulously wealthy like the Clintons or the Bushes. He doesn't have a SuperPAC, and relies upon funding from the poor and middle class of all colors in small donations. He is just one candidate who can convince poor and middle class whites that they've been screwed by the elite. He is willing to call out the elite for their elaborate deception where others, particularly in the GOP clown car, are not.
Education is the key to voting. As people become more educated, they tend to vote more often as they are more aware of what is at stake. Bernie Sanders is the only presidential candidate calling for free public education for anyone who wants it. Keeping most people ignorant is part of the plan with TSS. Through education, we can bring about the change this country so desperately needs.
The end game of The Southern Strategy is to use ignorant poor and middle class whites as a majority bulwark against all other minorities. If poor and middle class whites notice the ruse, they may find an ally in the minorities that have been declared as their "enemy" by the GOP. Perhaps then, we can be united as a nation.