Bush political operative Karl Rove is a Machiavellian master at finding divisive, hot-button, election-year issues that delight the GOP's right-wing barnburners, divide the Democrats, and divert voters' attention from such realities as falling wages, poor health care, and war.
Bush political operative Karl Rove is a Machiavellian master at finding divisive, hot-button, election-year issues that delight the GOP’s right-wing barnburners, divide the Democrats, and divert voters’ attention from such realities as falling wages, poor health care, and war.
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For this fall’s electoral battle, Karl thought he had the perfect scapegoat: Illegal immigrants. But – Look out, Karl – this flamethrower of an issue has blown back on you!
By pushing a vengeful, anti-immigrant bill through the house, the Bushites have indeed rallied the xenophobic right – but they also got something they never expected: a massive outpouring of outrage from immigrants of all kinds, as well as from young people, the clergy, union members, moderate Republicans, and just plain folks. Karl awakened, alienated, and activated a huge constituency that he wrongly assumed was too meek and powerless to stand up.
Rove’s strategy of divisiveness requires than an issue be boneheaded simple. He thought he had it with immigration: “See illegal workers. Deport. Build wall. Everything good again.” But, as made clear by the millions of people taking to the streets, it’s not so simple.
However, Republicans are not the only ones who could learn something from these mass demonstrations. Democrats in congress (and those planning to run for president) also had no idea that this dormant constituency was there, was so passionate, and was ready to fire up. If democratic leaders will grow a backbone, break out of the clubby confines of corporate politics, and reassert their party’s populist ideals – they’ll find that millions of Americans who’ve been shunted aside by the system are ready to respond to a new politics that appeals directly and honestly to their long-ignored hopes and needs.
"The issue isn't just jobs. Even slaves had jobs. The issue is wages." --Jim Hightower