Sunday, January 5, 2014

Dog Whistle Politics

Professor Ian Haney López has just released his latest important book Dog Whistle Politics:  How Coded Racial Appeals Have Reinvented Racism and Wrecked the Middle Class.

Description:  "Campaigning for president in 1980, Ronald Reagan told stories of Cadillac-driving 'welfare queens' and 'strapping young bucks' buying T-bone steaks with food stamps. In trumpeting these tales of welfare run amok, Reagan never needed to mention race, because he was blowing a dog whistle: sending a message about racial minorities inaudible on one level, but clearly heard on another. In doing so, he tapped into a long political tradition that started with George Wallace and Richard Nixon, and is more relevant than ever in the age of the Tea Party and the first black president.

In Dog Whistle Politics, Ian Haney López offers a sweeping account of how politicians and plutocrats deploy veiled racial appeals to persuade white voters to support policies that favor the extremely rich yet threaten their own interests. Dog whistle appeals generate middle-class enthusiasm for political candidates who promise to crack down on crime, curb undocumented immigration, and protect the heartland against Islamic infiltration, but ultimately vote to slash taxes for the rich, give corporations regulatory control over industry and financial markets, and aggressively curtail social services. White voters, convinced by powerful interests that minorities are their true enemies, fail to see the connection between the political agendas they support and the surging wealth inequality that takes an increasing toll on their lives. The tactic continues at full force, with the Republican Party using racial provocations to drum up enthusiasm for weakening unions and public pensions, defunding public schools, and opposing health care reform.

Rejecting any simple story of malevolent and obvious racism, Haney López links as never before the two central themes that dominate American politics today: the decline of the middle class and the Republican Party's increasing reliance on white voters. Dog Whistle Politics will generate a lively and much-needed debate about how racial politics has destabilized the American middle class -- white and nonwhite members alike."


  1. You can see racism in anything if thats all you look for. Heard an interview from one of Reagan's sons a few years back, were he described his dad as completely opposite of that "coded" racism suggestion. Many republicans and most libertarians are for opportunity not welfare. People didn't immigrate to America during the irish potato famine for a handout. Many immigrants go on to thrive as do many native born americans. Ron Paul's unwillingness to support the extension of unemployment benefits is minding the government's store so to speak. It is suppose to be insurance. If you extend it forever then it is welfare. I wouldn't be surprised if there is another big drop in unemployment by March because of people who lost their benefits now "actually" (code word that applies to any color) go look for work. ac

  2. Isn't this where we always end up when the Left reaches the end of their intellectual tether, false charges of "racism", "sexism", "homophobia", etc.? Pathetic.

    “Taxpayers simply cannot continue to sustain new populations the size of San Diego or the state of Nevada every year ... California is sending up the red flag that Washington should heed. Unprecedented demands are being placed on job markets, schools, hospitals, police, social safety nets, infrastructure and natural resources. Unlimited new arrivals pressuring these systems threaten to overwhelm them ... To leave the door unguarded is to create an environment in which no one can live securely and peacefully. And so I am sponsoring a bill in the Senate to reduce immigration-legal and illegal.” -- Sen. Harry Reid (D)

    Just exactly who was Ole Harry blowing that "dog whistle" for? Are your ears ringing?

    But Harry wasn't done:

    “Opponents of immigration reform cry racism or point toward our historic role as a nation of immigrants. Charges of racial bias are unfounded. ...”

    There. You see? No harm, no foul. Just as long as it's a Democrat doing the whistling.

    I could give you hundreds of examples of Democrats using racial provocations. Maybe someone should write a book.