Romney Ads a Blatant Appeal to White Resentment

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In his Washington Post blog, Jamelle Bouie predicts that the Republican's campaign will continue using ads that encourage white voters to doubt Obama's concern for people like them.

For the last month, the Romney campaign has been running with a new strategy: blatant appeals to racial resentment. The welfare ads, which falsely accuse President Obama of "gutting" welfare reform, were the first sign of this shift. It continued in subtler form with attacks on Obamacare — accusing Obama of taking from Medicare recipients and giving the revenues to his supporters — and became explicit again with last Friday's "joke" about the president's birth certificate.

At this point, in fact, Romney has stopped trying to hide the extent to which he wants to "otherize" Obama as a president for nonwhites. In an interview with USA Today this weekend, he defended the welfare ads by accusing Obama of offering waivers as a political calculation designed to "shore up his base."

At best, Romney means Obama's "base" is made up of welfare recipients. And the latest report from Pew Research provides insight into why the Romney campaign has adopted the Lee Atwater playbook for winning elections. Just five years ago, party identification among white voters was near parity — 46 percent identified as Republican, 44 percent as Democrat. Now, Republicans have a twelve point advantage among white voters, 52 percent to 40 percent. Overall, the GOP has become incredibly homogenous — 87 precent of self-identified Republicans are white, compared to just 61 percent of self-identified Democrats.


Read Jamelle Bouie's entire piece at the Washington Post.

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