The Cracker Project


The rightward drift of the Republican Party over the last fifty years has transformed the GOP from the representative body of the professional and business classes to the party of racialized Heartland angst. This metamorphosis has transformed the Party’s prospects as an apparently permanent minority in mid-Century to an apparently permanent lock on real policy-making power in Washington and the States. Turns out it’s fun, easy, and profitable to convince relatively privileged people they are the victims of The Conspiracy Of The Undeserving.

The only downside to this wildly successful branding shift has been that the mostly white, largely rural customer base buying this particular make of offal is shrinking as a share of the population.

American Population by Ethnicity, 1990-2030

No corporation, no matter how successful, would voluntarily choose to tie itself exclusively or predominantly to a shrinking customer base. The chronic short-termism of American politics and the belief that Republican-dominated states can use gerrymandering and “anti-fraud” voter requirements to put off the date of reckoning have convinced a critical plurality of Republican voters and politicians that the Whitey Gambit is a sustainable strategy, but, you know, math.
Washington Post

Nevertheless, as time goes on and the clock tolls more ominously, Republican efforts to appeal to more and more middle-aged white people have produced some thoroughly extreme rhetoric and policy. The President* won office largely on his promise to build a “big, beautiful wall” on the Southern border for which Mexico would, somehow, pay. Muslims would be prevented from entering the country. The efforts of the previous President to reduce police harassment of young black and Hispanic men have been halted and largely reversed. Pundits have long projected that Republican Presidential candidates would need two percent more of the white vote every cycle to counteract the country’s demographic shift. These extreme policies seem to have done the trick. President* Trump got all the honkies he needed, barely.

I’m old enough to remember when the GOP thought it needed the support of non-white voters to hold power in the United States. The combination of safe seats, an increasingly extreme donor base, and continual fear of Primary challenges from the Right has served to counteract, you know, math. So, the Cracker Project goes on.