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Hullabaloo


Sunday, December 15, 2013

 
Republican answers for a young urban Latino

by David Atkins

Joe Scarborough, speaking at the Reagan Library:

“We’ve got to make sure that we nominate a candidate like Reagan who believes that freedom and less taxes and less regulations and more opportunity are just as relevant to an 18-year-old Latino starting his career in South Central Los Angeles as it is a 65-year-old hedge funder in Greenwich, Conn.,” he said.
That sounds nice in theory, but one has to ask what messages he's talking about that are supposed to appeal to an 18-year-old Latino from South Central. Let's imagine some of these hypothetical conversations:

"You don't need Medicaid or Obamacare subsidies, you lazy moocher. Get a health savings account with all that money you're not saving!"

Not likely to work.

"The reason your relatives can't get ahead isn't that there's endemic racism and exploitation of service workers. They're just lazy parasites! But if you go into a lot debt and major as an engineer, intern for a few years then take an awful job somewhere, maybe you can be out of debt by 40, if you don't have kids too early!"

That's not too appealing.

"You don't want us to deport the grandmother who raised and fed you? Too bad--because RULES! Adios, abuelita!"

Ummmmm...nope.

"Upset that your nephew was killed in a drive-by shooting, and you want to do something about gun violence? Too bad. We need more guns, because maybe we'll have to use guerrilla warfare to fight the U.S. military and the police in case they try to force Communist universal childcare and healthcare down our throats! Wolverines!"

That's probably going to sound as crazy as it is.

"Student loan reform? Suck it up. Just work while you go to school. That $10/hour job will make a big dent in your $60,000 student loan. After all, *I*, your 60-year-old conservative better, worked for higher wages while going to school for $500 a semester, which makes me better than you somehow. Pull yourself up by your boostraps, bud!"

Better hope no one ever shows him an income inequality chart.

"More funds for public school? No, commie! If you have a kid, you should totally pay for private school. Get an education savings account to go along with that health savings account! Can't put money toward either one? Well, then, you shouldn't be buying extravagant things like a cell phone, or meat for your kids' food. Rice and beans is all you need!"

I can't imagine why he would vote for a Democrat after that kind of inspiration.

"You want a pension? Boo! Unions are bad. Your dad may be doing well in a union, but they're really bad for you. And Social Security is a ponzi scheme! Get yourself a 401K or hope you don't live to see 65!"

Again, that probably won't work.

"You have gay friends who want to get married? No! Your sister can't afford birth control? Too bad! Having doubts about what your conservative priest told you? Evil!"

He's probably fairly angry by now.

"You don't need higher wages. You need lower taxes! Oh wait--you're poor? Sorry, 47%er. Your taxes should go UP so your billionaire boss' taxes can go down. Anyway, you should totally become a super-rich entrepreneur. If the GOP wins, you'll have even more money! Isn't that cool? No?"

Tone deaf beyond words.

"Worried about climate change? Don't worry, it's a big hoax. Let us drill more oil and maybe you'll get a job there! Oh, and don't believe that evolution stuff, either. I don't care what you learned in that LIBERAL college!"

That will surely persuade.

This is the problem for Republicans. They've bought into the idea that the conservative ascendancy took root because of the power of their actual ideas, rather than because they combined 1% money with the prejudices of a slim majority of the white middle class against their poorer, browner brethren.

Republican "ideas" have absolutely no appeal for young people, and particularly not for young people of color.

There are two only things that can save Republicans. The first is if Democrats tie themselves too closely to the corrupt Wall Street establishment and allow Republicans to portray them as crony capitalist tools of the wealthy elite. The second is if Democrats allow a libertarian Republican insurgency to flank them on commonsense issues like ending the drug war, enacting patent reform, protecting personal privacy and other issues that are both popular with the young and dear to the cyberlibertarian crowd.

If Democrats don't make those fatal errors, there's very little the GOP in its current incarnation can do about the demographic challenges they face. Their ideas are obviously terrible just at first glance.


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