Contemporary American political decorum will seem Kafkaesque to Chinese anthropologists. They will labor to unravel its intricate contradictions and hypocrisies. But staring long enough, the roles of each major party will eventually emerge as if from a stereogram. Roles that are never spoken but always understood. There’s much on this topic to discuss, but one recent example will suffice for now. That example concerns each party’s appeal to its constituencies.
As anyone who resolutely ignores modern pieties knows, republicans rely on whites to win elections as democrats rely on non-whites. Are there any lucid liberals in the audience inclined to dispute the assertion?
No, but mobilizing whites is racist!
Exactly, but as I was mentioning both parties feature decreasing overlap in the vote farms they seek to cultivate. How this fact may be acknowledged (or not) forms quite a differing performance in political pantomime.
Etiquette for democrats demands open appeals to racial solidarity and pledges of tribal spoils upon victory. In contrast, republicans must pursue votes they will not receive and offer nothing to those they will. Most amusingly, both parties are obliged to pretend that the other is behaving just as they.
It must all appear as quite an elaborate ritual, though one fundamentally no different than shaking hands or feigning interest in the question: How are you? It’s just what we do, no one need tell us. Though breaches in protocol can be quite awkward for everyone involved.
I was thinking of this reading a recent article on the 2012 Romney concession call to Obama.
Washington (CNN)Mitt Romney’s personal aide is disputing a claim by one of President Barack Obama’s top campaign strategists that Romney implied during his concession call that Obama won the 2012 election just because he turned out the black vote.
The claim, stemming from the election-night phone conversation between the two candidates, surfaced in a new book by David Axelrod, Obama’s political adviser and message guru.
Obama was “unsmiling during the call, and slightly irritated when it was over,” Axelrod writes, according to the New York Daily News, which obtained an advance copy.
“‘You really did a great job of getting the vote out in places like Cleveland and Milwaukee,’ in other words, black people,'” Obama said, paraphrasing Romney. “That’s what he thinks this was all about.”
Obama’s 2012 campaign manager, Jim Messina, backed up Axelrod’s story in a tweet Thursday.
Obama was slightly irritated that Romney would imply that democrats explicitly mobilize blacks to knockout-game the voting booths. Is a 93% racial bloc vote what he thinks this was all about?
Well, yes. But still it’s really quite outrageous–that he noticed, I mean. As mentioned, both parties are obligated to pretend the other behaves as themselves. So for Romney, Obama must have ran a campaign pristine of racial tint. And I’m sure Mitt understands this better than most. But it was that unseemly implication that so chaffed our typical mulatto president. Everyone knows that ‘Cleveland’ and ‘Milwaukee’ are racist euphemisms for American cities in the wrong place at the wrong time. So Obama’s reaction is perfectly within the bounds of propriety: democrats must pretend they believe that republicans are making the same racial appeals. And thus while the offense was admittedly slight, Romney is plainly the party out of bounds in this episode. Republicans should grovel an apology and probably just concede 2016 altogether.
Though to reiterate before continuing: Obama does not appreciate insinuations about alleged tribal appeals.
Here are some random, unrelated photos.
While we all hopefully now comprehend what may be seen but never acknowledged, Obama himself wishes to emphasize proper protocols. Because ‘Cleveland’ and ‘Milwaukee’ constitute absolutely no component of leftist electoral strategy. The very concept of race is preposterous and, by the way, we’re going to demographically bury you.
In his Vox interview, Obama predicted that immigration would overwhelm conservative causes.
If “you go to Tennessee and it turns out that you’ve got this huge Kurdish community. And you go to some little town in Iowa and you see some Hasidic Jewish community, and then you see a bunch of interracial black and white couples running around with their kids . . . in these little farm communities, and you’ve got Latinos in the classroom when you visit the schools there,” he said.
“So people are getting more and more comfortable with the diversity of this country, much more sophisticated about both the cultural differences but more importantly, the basic commonality that we have,” he said.
That diversity hinders conservative priorities, he said.
“And that’s a source of optimism. It makes me hopeful,” he said.
Commonality: that was the theme of Obama’s address to La Raza, if I recall. How much in common illiterate Indian hobos have with the good people of AIPAC and NAN. But what that commonality is remains something republicans are duty-bound to never explore.
And so future Chinese will unearth these archives with lips curving into a smile. Mr. Obama irritated by implications he did what was openly done.
The Dindu President of a Dindu people.