New South “Classic”

The Democratic pollsters at Public Policy Polling released last week what should have been a pretty mundane poll on the Republican Presidential race.  The theme was ‘which GOP contender is most likely to carry their own state.’  But tucked away amid the results was a nasty little nugget from their Mississippi respondents.

Apparently 46% of Republicans in Mississippi think that interracial marriage should be illegal.  A minority of 40% think it should be legal.  Another 14% weren’t sure, a strange number by itself.  Yet another gigantic WTF from my GOP.

Unless these dirty liberal pollsters cheated by using phones that can dial people living in 1965 these numbers are horrifying.  Granted, they were polling Republicans so the poll says nothing about how many Democrats in the state missed the Civil Rights Movement entirely.  Perhaps a similar percentage of Mississippi’s three dozen or so Democrats are just as bigoted.  Do you think so?

You can ask why they were posing such a loaded question in a poll about Presidential candidates.  That’s easy to answer – they were fishing for dirt.  But HOLY CRAP did they ever find some.  Was it inappropriate for them to go fishing?  Maybe, but look at that fish!  The point of all this is not that it was a biased poll.  The point is that we shouldn’t be making it that easy for people to make us look ridiculous.

This comment, emailed in to the pollsters by a poll respondent explaining why she thinks interracial marriage should be banned tells a depressing tale:

“I believe God made us a different color for a reason and should be honored by not marrying outside of the race that God picked for me, however the color of one’s skin does not make him/her better than another color.”

So in other words, it’s not like I’m some sort of racist or something.  I just think miscegenation violates God’s holy will so it should be a crime.  Dude, wow!

I’ve expressed some skepticism in the past about polls that show wacky beliefs from Republican voters.  But the results keep mounting.  Back in the summer a quarter of Republicans in a poll said Obama might be the Antichrist.  A third said he is a Muslim.  Donald Trump is surging in GOP polls after placing himself squarely (though awkwardly) in the Birther camp.  And now this.

As so often happens, the words of Barry Goldwater are ringing in my head.

“We cannot allow the emblem of irresponsibility to attach to the Republican banner.”

Maybe Mississippi is a little less “New” than the rest of the “New South.”  Perhaps folks there are a little more retro.  Call it “New South Classic“.  But I think as an organization we really need to check our heads and take a careful look at our rhetoric.  What is it we’re doing as a Party that makes us so appealing to people who cherish these views?  We are paying a price by trying to downplay the outrageous fringe instead of confronting it.  We have a bigger problem with extremism than we want to acknowledge.

Things will be extremely busy up here for at least another week so the writing will be thin.  Some may be grateful for the break.  You’re welcome.  But more will come soon.

And because there’s no one here to stop me, a bit of commentary on the subject from Nina Simone:

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