Sunday, October 21, 2018

A blue wave, then a brown wave

       Wherever the Republican Party's demographics were going before Trump, they have become, in the words of Procol Harum, a whiter shade of pale.

            Before Trump, the pallor of the Grand Old Party was one of those unspoken conditions, like Granddad's nose hairs. Now its overt whiteness and overt racism have become Granddad's stretch yellow convertible.

            Under Trump, Granddad feels free to be himself.

            As with white supremacists like Steve Bannon's and Stephen Miller's holding unprecedented sway in the executive branch.

            As with Republican Congressman Steve King's doing a sit-down for a site that speaks for Europe's neo-fascist "identitarian" movement, saying that America is committing "cultural suicide."

            As with Laura Ingraham's ranting on Fox News that immigration – legal and illegal – is turning this into "an America we don't recognize anymore."

            You don't recognize it, Laura, because all you see is your target audience, and they look just like you.

            Georgia Republican gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp sees it, and has done something he hopes will stop a surge in anger over Trumpism from making Stacey Abrams the first African-American female governor in American history.

            Kemp, who happens to be Georgia's secretary of state, just put on hold the registrations of thousands of voters, 70 percent of them black.

            Texas' Ted Cruz is in a race no one imagined would be close, Democrat Beto O'Rourke nipping at his heels.

            Whether or not Texas' Latino voters turn out in strong numbers for O'Rourke could be decisive. Equally important, however, could be young Texans. O'Rourke has been connecting the dots at college campuses and getting big crowds

            Florida's Rick Scott, the Republican governor, sees brown, the Puerto Rican kind, in his race to unseat Democratic incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson. Donald Trump's let-them-eat-paper-towels dismissiveness toward Puerto Rico could be decisively hurtful to Republican candidates there this fall.

            The gubernatorial nomination of African-American Andrew Gillum will boost black turnout in Florida, as will a ballot initiative to restore voting rights to ex-convicts.

            Trump snaked his way to an Electoral College victory by inflaming and defaming people of color and creed. But the Republican Party is coming to understand what follows the "E Pluribus" on our currency. It isn't "E Pluribus Exclusivus."

            No matter the size of the blue wave this fall, the size of the brown wave to come is more impressive, and when it comes, the Republican Party will stick out like the skinny-legged, black-socks retirees on the beach.

            Even if blacks and Latinos do not turn out proportionally compared to white voters, sheer numbers will make it impossible to ignore them.

            Though whites are still the majority, that status will end before another generation reaches governing age – 2040, says Pew.

            In states with large populations of color – Texas, that's you; Florida: you; Arizona: you -- the brown wave is coming sooner than the rest.

            Ultimately, no Republican voter-suppression designs will hold it back.

            Until then, Trevor Noah of "The Daily Show" has an idea.

            As Republican efforts have sought to reduce black turnout by any crooked means they can devise, Noah says every black American should register as a Republican, not to vote that way, but to not get purged.

            Noah says that if Republicans think blacks will vote for them, "They're going to be waving Trayvons into the voting booth like a third-base coach."

            Noah offers Kanye West as an example. In a country club-atmosphere where seemingly the only blacks wear jockey helmets and brandish hitching rings, West, as a reward for his MAGA hat, got invited into the Oval Office to yell unintelligible things while cameras flashed.

            That's called equal access in Donald Trump's America.

            Longtime newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. Email: jyoungcolumn@gmail.com.

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