3 Massive Issues That Prove The GOP Is Under Heavy Neo-Confederate Influence

We know, just from how they talk and what policies they support, that the Republican Party is the party of the Southern Strategy, the party of theocracy, and the party of old, rich, white men. They think white Christians are the most persecuted and oppressed group in America today. In fact, today’s GOP looks an awful lot like neo-Confederacy, which has (officially) been around since the Civil Rights Movement. Here are three issues that conclusively demonstrate that.

Small federal government and states’ rights

An essay from the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) says that neo-Confederates typically look at the Civil War as the start of America’s decline. The “War of Northern Aggression,” as many in the South call it (neo-Confederate or otherwise), was unconstitutional in their eyes, as was Lincoln’s freeing the slaves. Neo-Confederates see any assertion of federal authority as an infringement of states’ rights; a blatant violation of the 10th Amendment.

This type of thinking is present in all the nullification ideas flitting about, and in the ongoing fight against Obamacare. Nullification isn’t a new idea (it is, in fact, a very old idea in U.S. history), but its roots are Southern. Nullification dates back to the events leading up to the nullification crisis of 1832, when South Carolina decided that federal tariffs didn’t exist, prompting President Andrew Jackson to send Union troops in to enforce federal law.

Today, we have states trying to pass legislation that would allow them to suspend any federal law within their borders that they deemed an infringement on their sovereignty. They’re trying to preemptively pass laws that nullify whatever huge gun grab they think Obama’s working on. They’ve tried passing laws that nullify Obamacare. Whether they call themselves neo-Confederates and actually subscribe to that way of thinking or not, this is neo-Confederate thinking.

Christian theocracy

For all their trumpeting of Constitutional values, the GOP is increasingly dominated by theocrats. These are the people who think that marriage equality will be the downfall of the U.S. They’re the ones who think that abortion is murder under biblical law, and they try to pass anti-abortion measures, or they slip them into unrelated bills in order to pass them. They cry about the moral decay of America, and love to whine about unconstitutional executive overreach, when they themselves would scuttle the First Amendment.

More than half of Republicans today favor making the U.S. a Christian nation, despite Constitutional law forbidding it. Tennessee tried making the Bible its official book. But more than all that, the SPLC essay talks about how neo-Confederates see current American culture—which promotes equality for women, ethnic minorities, the LGBT community, and non-Christian religions—as incompatible with traditional American values.

You hear shades of this when Mike Huckabee talks about marriage equality leading to the criminalization of Christianity. You hear it when people like Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal tell lies about a Muslim invasion. You hear it when they whine and cry about fights against racism and sexism being nothing more than political correctness. And you hear it when people like Rick Santorum say that civil law must agree with, or take a backseat to, biblical law.

Neo-Confederates, according to the SPLC’s essay, believe that the Civil War was a struggle over the future of the orthodoxy. The noble South was fighting against the heretics from the north. Slave owners are held up as adhering to biblical law, which could be where some of these Republican idiots get the idea that it’s okay to say, “Slavery wasn’t all that bad.” There’s plenty of neo-Confederate thought behind the GOP’s insistence that we’re a Christian nation.

Racism and racist policies

They’ve succeeded in gutting the Voting Rights Act, and in pushing through voter ID laws that disproportionately harm minorities. Neo-confederates, according to the SLPC’s essay, believe that multiculturalism will doom the U.S. To prevent this from happening, they actively work to keep minorities in their place.

In the South, whites overwhelmingly blame blacks for their low economic status – a position that hasn’t changed in 40 years. Outside of the South, there has been some movement on that, although there is certainly plenty more than needs to be done. Congressmen and Senators from the South are almost entirely Republican, they tend to push ending the social safety net, and they tend to believe that black people “play the race card” far more than people outside their region of the U.S.

A 2013 article in Salon talks about how the South, and the neo-Confederates, increasingly see U.S. politics through the lens of race. In the 2012 presidential election, a whopping 92 percent of the GOP vote came from whites. They see welfare as programs that wrongfully take money from hardworking white people, and give it to undeserving, lazy black people. That’s a huge part of why they’re so vocal about gutting the social safety net. Reagan didn’t need to mention the race of his mythical “welfare queen,” says Salon. Southern, evangelical whites had already decided she must be black.

Republican redistricting policies in states like Virginia are cleverly designed to pack minorities, especially blacks, into small districts, and give white Republicans a safe majority for years to come. According to Newsweek, they pulled a very dirty trick in order to try to accomplish this in Virginia after Obama won re-election in 2012. They failed, but the fact that they even tried shows the depths to which the GOP will sink to suppress the minority vote, and preserve white supremacy as the “natural order.”

But don’t call them racist! Some of their best friends are black, you see.

The neo-Confederate thinking will eventually fail

While many of them won’t call themselves neo-Confederates, and, if asked, they might even decry neo-Confederate thinking, they’ve taken over the GOP. Their entire platform, the legislation they support, and even their talking points, speak loudly of neo-Confederate thinking. Eventually, progressivism will stamp some of this out, too. But look for it to come back, again and again, until we finally achieve a cultural shift that wipes all of this out once and for all.

Featured image by eyeliam. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Flickr