Willie Horton Doesn’t Work Anymore-At Least Not In Virginia

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A lot has changed since 1989 and Willie Horton, as was seen last night in NJ and Virginia. Some of it’s demographic. The suburbs around the cities-and the cities themselves-have become browner, blacker and more diverse over all. As access to better housing has grown, the formerly Republican suburbs have become more and more Democratic.

But last night-in Virginia, New Jersey, and all over in local races-where racist fearmongering was a tactic, the Republicans lost badly. Hate just isn’t a winner like it used to be in anywhere that’s competitive. It’s hard to make it work when the scary foreigners, black people, and gays are neighbors who often work in the next cubicle and live on the next block. It’s hard to really make it work after Obama’s success in the Presidency. If a black man can do a terrific job as President, having the Muslim neighbor as your Mayor just isn’t scary. Or a gay man who promises that as a member of the State Assembly, he will make sure that the toxic site gets cleaned up

Racist fearmongering became like crack to the Republican party-highly addictive and replacing substance. No need to talk about matters that ordinary people care about like health care, good roads, schools, or just getting along. As long as you can scare enough Fox-watchers to the polls, you didn’t have to actually govern. But Republicans forgot there’s another side to the election. Those people who are being fearmongered about are voters too. And these days there are enough of them to actually vote out the bigots. And the people who are tired of the negative campaigning and not having their needs met are now joining him. People know enough about Democrats to know that they take governing seriously enough to do a good job and care about everyone, not just a handful of church goers. So the Republicans lost badly last night-and until they give up the bigots-will lose even more.

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