If you occur out in the up coming 3 minutes,” the e-mail reads, “just glance for the SUV trapped in 1983 and rocking to ‘Gloria.’ ” Philippe Reines is BlackBerrying from an Uber automobile idling outside Union Station in Washington, D.C. Guaranteed more than enough, there’s the black Suburban, shining in the afternoon solar amid lots of impatient taxis. Reines, Hillary Clinton’s most obvious spokesman and the guardian of her general public persona, is sprawled in the again passenger seat with the window a handful of inches down. “We’re going to push in circles,” he states.
In human being, Reines is none of the matters his status for tenacity would advise. He has, right now at the very least, forgone the Brooks Brothers uniform of the D.C. Energy Male in favor of a navy lengthy-sleeved polo and chinos. His thatch of dark hair is not particularly styled. The BlackBerry sits in the armrest cup holder but, in a further defiance of convention, Reines doesn’t verify it at all. As the Suburban begins to roll down Constitution Avenue, he is comfortable and undefensive. If the air of casualness is alone a sort of the image handle for which he is so well acknowledged, then it is operating.
Reines (pronounced RYE-niss), originally a product or service of the Higher West Facet, has worked as Hillary’s chief individual defender considering that becoming a member of her Senate workplace in 2002, going with her to the Point out Office in 2009 and often building news himself for his colorful and occasionally outlandish methods. The hottest example: In January, at an party with vehicle dealers, Clinton admitted that she hadn’t pushed a car or truck given that 1996, which prompted a BuzzFeed reporter to e-mail Reines seven queries about other modern-day factors that Clinton could not be up on. Had she ever acquired just about anything on the World wide web? Eaten at Chipotle? Swiped a MetroCard? Reines responded with a sneering e-mail that repeatedly referred to “BuLLfeed” and linked to numerous photographs of his patron appearing to do some (but not all) of the activities stated. BuzzFeed posted the full exchange, which designed its way to the scolds on cable Tv. This type of outing comes about to Reines all the time, suggesting, perhaps, that he ought to know far better.
“It’s not a excellent dynamic,” he claims with a rueful smile. “I’ve absent way past one’s healthful shelf life” as an every day spokesman, “which displays as a result of on an once-a-year foundation in some thing that I do or say.” There is only skinny visitors on the capital’s streets quickly we are dashing together I-395 and around the bridge to Virginia.* “I check out to converse to reporters as minor as attainable, just for my own private wellness and wellness,” he claims. “I consider that is a shared emotion. It is not a great deal of reporters who are like, ‘Oh, fantastic, I get to ask the Clinton business a hard issue now I’m positive this is gonna be the highlight of my week.’ ”
As any Washington spinmeister knows, the worst slip-up is one particular that underscores the perpetrator’s critical flaws, perceived or serious, which is why the most recent BuzzFeed episode stings: It echoes an trade about Benghazi with BuzzFeed reporter Michael Hastings, back again in 2012, in which Reines informed Hastings—again by using e-mail—to “fuck off” and “have a superior daily life.”
“The ‘fuck off’ point was awful,” Reines claims, not for the reason that he was aggressive with Hastings—who died in a car crash very last year—but because “I could not have been additional disrespectful of the tragedy” of the assault in Libya. “It was a Sunday morning when I wrote it,” Reines remembers. “Monday is when it hit. Tuesday, waking up and reading the clips of just headline right after headline immediately after headline that contained the phrases Benghazi, ambassador, 4 Us residents killed, Reines, Clinton, fuck off. It was just so disrespectful,” he suggests. “I never thoughts telling people to fuck off. Another person would like to know, you know, ‘We hear her shoe dimensions is seriously 5 and a 50 %, not six.’ I mean, fuck off.”
The Potomac is seen by the roadside trees, and Reines grows quieter. “I’ve always imagined that to the extent that I do a superior position, it’s because I’ve got diverse speeds,” he states. “And it’s tougher as lifetime goes on. I come to feel like I’m a 42-12 months-outdated pitcher who should have remaining at 37, and now I’ve only got a single pitch: Which is all everyone is aware.”
Extremism in defense of Hillary is no vice, on the other hand, and Reines’s manager is sticking with him. He a short while ago co-established a consulting business, Beacon World-wide Techniques, but he still is effective for Clinton as a 2nd comprehensive-time occupation. And if she runs again—he statements he doesn’t know if she will—Reines will be onboard. We have achieved the conclusion of the George Washington Memorial Parkway, and the driver turns all over in front of the gates of Mount Vernon and heads back again toward the District.
A 2016 campaign, if Reines has any say, will be operate extra sensibly than 2008’s: “I assume she’d be far better off not employing any individual above the age of 35,” he claims. “And I imagine they should really all be on a barge or on some kind of orbital platform that can only transmit to the Earth and not receive from it. You just want a roomful of individuals acquiring superior thoughts and fantastic strategies and then not recognizing what occurred. You arrive back to Earth the working day after the election.”
A house-station-like marketing campaign hub is the sort of radical effectiveness Reines tends to go for. He has positioned parental locks on all eleven of the televisions in his firm’s new headquarters, so that no one can look at MSNBC, the network that goes right after him most difficult. On Clinton’s international outings, he would journey with a foldable toothbrush that in good shape a lot more quickly into his pocket, eliminating the want for a have-on bag. And for virtually two a long time now, he has long gone totally cashless. “I haven’t withdrawn a solitary piece of forex in any form” because June 2012, he suggests. As an alternative of a wallet he carries a card holder—but no ATM card. Cabs, a single of the last services for which Reines uncovered he desired actual banknotes, have been changed with Uber rides, the most latest of which is now drawing to a near at the corner of 21st and L Streets, in front of Beacon’s places of work.
The following day an e-mail comes from Reines made up of the electronic history of his last ATM withdrawal, at 3:57 p.m. on June 20, 2012. “1 12 months, 7 months, 17 days,” the subject matter line reads.* Just generating positive the story is exact.
*This article has been corrected to show that the writer and Reines took I-395, not I-495 and that his ultimate ATM withdrawal was on June 20, 2012, not June 12.
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A few weeks ago, the liberal comedian Bill Maher and conservative strategist and pundit Bill Kristol had a brief spat on Maher’s HBO show, putatively over what instigated the tea party but ultimately over the psychic wound that has divided red America and blue America in the Obama years. The rise of the tea party, explained Maher in a let’s-get-real moment, closing his eyes for a second the way one does when saying something everybody knows but nobody wants to say, “was about a black president.” Both Maher and Kristol carry themselves with a weary cynicism that allows them to jovially spar with ideological rivals, but all of a sudden they both grew earnest and angry. Kristol interjected, shouting, “That’s bullshit! That is total bullshit!” After momentarily sputtering, Kristol recovered his calm, but his rare indignation remained, and there was no trace of the smirk he usually wears to distance himself slightly from his talking points. He almost pleaded to Maher, “Even you don’t believe that!”
“I totally believe that,” Maher responded, which is no doubt true, because every Obama supporter believes deep down, or sometimes right on the surface, that the furious opposition marshaled against the first black president is a reaction to his race. Likewise, every Obama opponent believes with equal fervor that this is not only false but a smear concocted willfully to silence them.
This bitter, irreconcilable enmity is not the racial harmony the optimists imagined the cultural breakthrough of an African- American president would usher in. On the other hand, it’s not exactly the sort of racial strife the pessimists, hardened by racial animosity, envisioned either, the splitting of white and black America into worlds of mutual incomprehension—as in the cases of the O. J. Simpson trial, the L.A. riots, or Bernhard Goetz.
The Simpson episode actually provides a useful comparison. The racial divide was what made the episode so depressing: Blacks saw one thing, whites something completely different. Indeed, when Simpson was acquitted in 1995 of murder charges, whites across parties reacted in nearly equal measure: 56 percent of white Republicans objected to the verdict, as did 52 percent of white Democrats. Two decades later, the trial of George Zimmerman produced a very different reaction. This case also hinged on race—Zimmerman shot and killed Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black teen from his neighborhood in Florida, and was acquitted of all charges. But here the gap in disapproval over the verdict between white Democrats and white Republicans was not 4 points but 43. Americans had split once again into mutually uncomprehending racial camps, but this time along political lines, not by race itself.
A different, unexpected racial argument has taken shape. Race, always the deepest and most volatile fault line in American history, has now become the primal grievance in our politics, the source of a narrative of persecution each side uses to make sense of the world. Liberals dwell in a world of paranoia of a white racism that has seeped out of American history in the Obama years and lurks everywhere, mostly undetectable. Conservatives dwell in a paranoia of their own, in which racism is used as a cudgel to delegitimize their core beliefs. And the horrible thing is that both of these forms of paranoia are right.
If you set out to write a classic history of the Obama era, once you had described the historically significant fact of Obama’s election, race would almost disappear from the narrative. The thumbnail sketch of every president’s tenure from Harry Truman through Bill Clinton prominently includes racial conflagrations—desegregation fights over the military and schools, protests over civil-rights legislation, high-profile White House involvement in the expansion or rollback of busing and affirmative action. The policy landscape of the Obama era looks more like it did during the Progressive Era and the New Deal, when Americans fought bitterly over regulation and the scope of government. The racial-policy agenda of the Obama administration has been nearly nonexistent.
But if you instead set out to write a social history of the Obama years, one that captured the day-to-day experience of political life, you would find that race has saturated everything as perhaps never before. Hardly a day goes by without a volley and counter-volley of accusations of racial insensitivity and racial hypersensitivity. And even when the red and blue tribes are not waging their endless war of mutual victimization, the subject of race courses through everything else: debt, health care, unemployment. Whereas the great themes of the Bush years revolved around foreign policy and a cultural divide over what or who constituted “real” America, the Obama years have been defined by a bitter disagreement over the size of government, which quickly reduces to an argument over whether the recipients of big-government largesse deserve it. There is no separating this discussion from one’s sympathies or prejudices toward, and identification with, black America.
It was immediately clear, from his triumphal introduction at the 2004 Democratic National Convention through the giddy early days of his audacious campaign, that Obama had reordered the political landscape. And though it is hard to remember now, his supporters initially saw this transformation as one that promised a “post-racial” politics. He attracted staggering crowds, boasted of his ability to win over Republicans, and made good on this boast by attracting independent voters in Iowa and other famously white locales.
Of course, this was always a fantasy. It was hardly a surprise when George Packer, reporting for The New Yorker, ventured to Kentucky and found white voters confessing that they would vote for a Democrat, but not Obama, simply because of his skin color. (As one said: “Race. I really don’t want an African-American as president. Race.”) Packer’s report conveys the revelatory dismay with which his news struck. “Obama has a serious political problem,” he wrote. “Until now, he and his supporters have either denied it or blamed it on his opponents.” Reported anecdotes of similar flavor have since grown familiar enough to have receded into the political backdrop. One Louisiana man told NPR a few weeks ago that he would never support Senator Mary Landrieu after her vote for Obamacare. After ticking off the familiar talking points against the health-care law—it would kill jobs and so on—he arrived at the nub of the matter: “I don’t vote for black people.” (Never mind that Landrieu is white.)
We now know that the fact of Obama’s presidency—that a black man is our commander-in-chief, that a black family lives in the White House, that he was elected by a disproportionately high black vote—has affected not just the few Americans willing to share their racism with reporters but all Americans, across the political spectrum. Social scientists have long used a basic survey to measure what they call “racial resentment.” It doesn’t measure hatred of minorities or support for segregation, but rather a person’s level of broad sympathy for African-Americans (asking, for instance, if you believe that “blacks have gotten less than they deserve” or whether “it’s really a matter of some people not trying hard enough”). Obviously, the racially conservative view—that blacks are owed no extra support from the government—has for decades corresponded more closely with conservatism writ large and thus with the Republican Party. The same is true with the racially liberal view and the Democratic Party: Many of the Americans who support government programs that disproportionately offer blacks a leg up are Democrats. But when the political scientists Michael Tesler and David Sears peered into the data in 2009, they noticed that the election of Obama has made views on race matter far more than ever.
By the outset of Obama’s presidency, they found, the gap in approval of the president between those with strongly liberal views on race and those with strongly conservative views on race was at least twice as large as it had been under any of the previous four administrations. As Tesler delved further into the numbers, he saw that race was bleeding into everything. People’s views on race predicted their views on health-care reform far more closely in 2009 than they did in 1993, when the president trying to reform health care was Bill Clinton. Tesler called what he saw unfurling before him a “hyperracialized era.”
In recent history, racial liberals have sometimes had conservative views on other matters, and racial conservatives have sometimes had liberal views. Consider another measure, called “anti-black affect,” a kind of thermometer that registers coldness toward African-Americans. Prior to 2009, anti-black affect did not predict an individual’s political identification (when factoring out that person’s economic, moral, and foreign-policy conservatism). Since Obama has taken office, the correlation between anti-black affect and Republican partisanship has shot up. Even people’s beliefs about whether the unemployment rate was rising or falling in 2012—which, in previous years, had stood independent of racial baggage—were now closely linked with their racial beliefs.
Racial conservatism and conservatism used to be similar things; now they are the same thing. This is also true with racial liberalism and liberalism. The mental chasm lying between red and blue America is, at bottom, an irreconcilable difference over the definition of racial justice. You can find this dispute erupting everywhere. A recent poll found a nearly 40-point partisan gap on the question of whether 12 Years a Slave deserved Best Picture.
In 1981, Lee Atwater, a South Carolina native working for the Reagan administration, gave an interview to Alexander Lamis, a political scientist at Case Western Reserve University. In it, Atwater described the process by which the conservative message evolved from explicitly racist appeals to implicitly racialized appeals to white economic self-interest:
“You start out in 1954 by saying, ‘Nigger, nigger, nigger.’ By 1968 you can’t say ‘nigger’—that hurts you, backfires. So you say stuff like, uh, forced busing, states’ rights, and all that stuff, and you’re getting so abstract. Now you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things, and a by-product of them is blacks get hurt worse than whites … ‘We want to cut this’ is much more abstract than even the busing thing, uh, and a hell of a lot more abstract than ‘nigger, nigger.’ ”
Atwater went on to run George H.W. Bush’s presidential campaign against Michael Dukakis in 1988, where he flamboyantly vowed to make Willie Horton, a murderer furloughed by Dukakis who subsequently raped a woman, “his running mate.” Atwater died three years later of a brain tumor, and his confessional quote to Lamis attracted scarcely any attention for years. In 2005, New York Times columnist Bob Herbert picked out the quote, which had appeared in two books by Lamis. In the ensuing years, liberal columnists and authors have recirculated Atwater’s words with increasing frequency, and they have attained the significance of a Rosetta stone.
A long line of social-science research bears out the general point that Atwater made. People have an elemental awareness of race, and we relentlessly process political appeals, even those that do not mention race, in racial terms.
In the 1970s and 1980s, liberals understood a certain chunk of the Republican agenda as a coded appeal—a “dog whistle”—to white racism. The political power of cracking down on crack, or exposing welfare queens, lay in its explosive racial subtext. (Regarding Willie Horton, an unnamed Republican operative put it more bluntly: “It’s a wonderful mix of liberalism and a big black rapist.”) This is what Paul Krugman was referring to in his recent Times op-ed titled “That Old-Time Whistle.” When the House Budget Committee releases a report on the failure of the War on Poverty and Paul Ryan speaks of a “culture, in our inner cities in particular, of men not working and just generations of men not even thinking about working,” you can conclude that the policy report is mere pretext to smuggle in the hidden racial appeal.
Once you start looking for racial subtexts embedded within the Republican agenda, they turn up everywhere. And not always as subtexts. In response to their defeats in 2008 and 2012, Republican governors and state legislators in a host of swing states have enacted laws, ostensibly designed to prevent voter fraud, whose actual impact will be to reduce the proportion of votes cast by minorities. A paper found that states were far more likely to enact restrictive voting laws if minority turnout in their state had recently increased.
It is likewise hard to imagine the mostly southern states that have refused free federal money to cover the uninsured in their states doing so outside of the racial context—nearly all-white Republican governments are willing and even eager to deny medical care to disproportionately black constituents. The most famous ad for Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign depicted an elderly white man, with a narrator warning bluntly about Medicare cuts: “Now the money you paid for your guaranteed health care is going to a massive new government program that’s not for you.”
Yet here is the point where, for all its breadth and analytic power, the liberal racial analysis collapses onto itself. It may be true that, at the level of electoral campaign messaging, conservatism and white racial resentment are functionally identical. It would follow that any conservative argument is an appeal to white racism. That is, indeed, the all-but-explicit conclusion of the ubiquitous Atwater Rosetta-stone confession: Republican politics is fundamentally racist, and even its use of the most abstract economic appeal is a sinister, coded missive.
Impressive though the historical, sociological, and psychological evidence undergirding this analysis may be, it also happens to be completely insane. Whatever Lee Atwater said, or meant to say, advocating tax cuts is not in any meaningful sense racist.
One of the greatest triumphs of liberal politics over the past 50 years has been to completely stigmatize open racial discrimination in public life, a lesson that has been driven home over decades by everybody from Jimmy the Greek to Paula Deen. This achievement has run headlong into an increasing liberal tendency to define conservatism as a form of covert racial discrimination. If conservatism is inextricably entangled with racism, and racism must be extinguished, then the scope for legitimate opposition to Obama shrinks to an uncomfortably small space.
The racial debate of the Obama years emits some of the poisonous waft of the debates over communism during the McCarthy years. It defies rational resolution in part because it is about secret motives and concealed evil.
On September 9, 2009, the president delivered a State of the Union–style speech on health care before Congress. After a summer of angry tea-party town-hall meetings, Republicans had whipped themselves into a feisty mood. At one point, Obama assured the audience that his health-care law would not cover illegal immigrants. (This was true.) Joe Wilson, the Republican representing South Carolina’s Second District, screamed, “You lie!”
Over the next few days, several liberals stated what many more believed. “I think it’s based on racism,” offered Jimmy Carter at a public forum. “There is an inherent feeling among many in this country that an African-American should not be president.” Maureen Dowd likewise concluded, “What I heard was an unspoken word in the air: You lie, boy! … Some people just can’t believe a black man is president and will never accept it.”
Assailing Wilson’s motives on the basis of a word he did not say is, to say the least, a loose basis by which to indict his motives. It is certainly true that screaming a rebuke to a black president is the sort of thing a racist Republican would do. On the other hand, it’s also the sort of thing a rude or drunk or angry or unusually partisan Republican would do.
One way to isolate the independent variable, and thus to separate out the racism in the outburst, is to compare the treatment of Obama with that of the last Democratic president. Obama has never been called “boy” by a major Republican figure, but Bill Clinton was, by Emmett Tyrrell, editor of the American Spectator and author of a presidential biography titled Boy Clinton. Here are some other things that happened during the Clinton years: North Carolina senator Jesse Helms said, “Mr. Clinton better watch out if he comes down here. He’d better have a bodyguard.” The Wall Street Journal editorial page and other conservative organs speculated that Clinton may have had his aide Vince Foster murdered and had sanctioned a cocaine-smuggling operation out of an airport in Arkansas. Now, imagine if Obama had been called “boy” in the title of a biography, been subjected to threats of mob violence from a notorious former segregationist turned senator, or accused in a major newspaper of running coke. (And also impeached.) How easy would it be to argue that Republicans would never do such things to a white president?
Yet many, many liberals believe that only race can explain the ferocity of Republican opposition to Obama. It thus follows that anything Republicans say about Obama that could be explained by racism is probably racism. And since racists wouldn’t like anything Obama does, that renders just about any criticism of Obama—which is to say, nearly everything Republicans say about Obama—presumptively racist.
Does this sound like an exaggeration? Bill O’Reilly’s aggressive (and aggressively dumb) Super Bowl interview with the president included the question “Why do you feel it’s necessary to fundamentally transform the nation that has afforded you so much opportunity?” Salon’s Joan Walsh asserted, “O’Reilly and Ailes and their viewers see this president as unqualified and ungrateful, an affirmative-action baby who won’t thank us for all we’ve done for him and his cohort. The question was, of course, deeply condescending and borderline racist.” Yes, it’s possible that O’Reilly implied that the United States afforded Obama special opportunity owing to the color of his skin. But it’s at least as possible, and consistent with O’Reilly’s beliefs, that he merely believes the United States offers everybody opportunity.
Esquire columnist Charles Pierce has accused Times columnist David Brooks of criticizing Obama because he wants Obama to be an “anodyne black man” who would “lose, nobly, and then the country could go back to its rightful owners.” Timothy Noah, then at Slate, argued in 2008 that calling Obama “skinny” flirted with racism. (“When white people are invited to think about Obama’s physical appearance, the principal attribute they’re likely to dwell on is his dark skin. Consequently, any reference to Obama’s other physical attributes can’t help coming off as a coy walk around the barn.”) Though the term elitist has been attached to candidates of both parties for decades (and to John Kerry during his 2004 presidential campaign), the writer David Shipler has called it racist when deployed against Obama. (“ ‘Elitist’ is another word for ‘arrogant,’ which is another word for ‘uppity,’ that old calumny applied to blacks who stood up for themselves.”)
MSNBC has spent the entire Obama presidency engaged in a nearly nonstop ideological stop-and-frisk operation. When Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell chided Obama for playing too much golf, Lawrence O’Donnell accused him of “trying to align … the lifestyle of Tiger Woods with Barack Obama.” (McConnell had not mentioned Tiger Woods; it was O’Donnell who made the leap.) After Arizona governor Jan Brewer confronted Obama at an airport tarmac, Jonathan Capehart concluded, “A lot of people saw it as her wagging her finger at this president who’s also black, who should not be there.” Martin Bashir hung a monologue around his contention that Republicans were using the initialism IRS as a code that meant “nigger.” Chris Matthews calls Republicans racist so often it is hard to even keep track.
Few liberals acknowledge that the ability to label a person racist represents, in 21st-century America, real and frequently terrifying power. Conservatives feel that dread viscerally. Though the liberal analytic method begins with a sound grasp of the broad connection between conservatism and white racial resentment, it almost always devolves into an open-ended license to target opponents on the basis of their ideological profile. The power is rife with abuse.
By February, conservative rage against MSNBC had reached a boiling point. During the Super Bowl, General Mills ran a commercial depicting an adorable multiracial family bonding over a birth announcement and a bowl of Cheerios. The Cheerios ad was not especially groundbreaking or remarkable. A recent Chevy ad, to take just one other example, features a procession of families, some multiracial or gay, and declares, “While what it means to be a family hasn’t changed, what a family looks like has.” This schmaltzy, feel-good fare expresses the modern American creed, where patriotic tableaux meld old-generation standby images—American soldiers in World War II, small towns, American flags flapping in the breeze—with civil-rights protesters.
What made the Cheerios ad notable was that MSNBC, through its official Twitter account, announced, “Maybe the right wing will hate it, but everyone else will go awww.” It was undeniably true that some elements of the right wing would object to the ad—similar previous ads have provoked angry racist reactions. Still, Republicans felt attacked, and not unreasonably. The enraged chairman of the Republican National Committee declared a boycott on any appearances on the network, and MSNBC quickly apologized and deleted the offending tweet.
Why did this particular tweet, of all things, make Republicans snap? It exposed a sense in which their entire party is being written out of the American civic religion. The inscription of the civil-rights story into the fabric of American history—the elevation of Rosa Parks to a new Paul Revere, Martin Luther King to the pantheon of the Founding Fathers—has, by implication, cast Barack Obama as the contemporary protagonist and Republicans as the villains. The Obama campaign gave its supporters the thrill of historic accomplishment, the sense that they were undertaking something more grand than a campaign, something that would reverberate forever. But in Obama they had not just the material for future Americana stock footage but a live partisan figure. How did they think his presidency would work out?
Even the transformation of the civil-rights struggles of a half-century ago into our shared national heritage rests on more politically awkward underpinnings than we like to admit. As much as our museums and children’s history books and Black History Month celebrations and corporate advertisements sandblast away the rough ideological edges of the civil-rights story, its underlying cast remains. John Lewis is not only a young hero who can be seen in grainy black-and-white footage enduring savage beatings at the hands of white supremacists. He is also a current Democratic member of Congress who, in 2010, reprised his iconic role by marching past screaming right-wing demonstrators while preparing to cast a vote for Obamacare. And, more to the point, the political forces behind segregation did not disappear into thin air. The lineal descendants of the segregationists, and in some cases the segregationists themselves, moved into the Republican Party and its unofficial media outlets, which specialize in stoking fears of black Americans among their audience. (Like when Rush Limbaugh seized on a minor fight between two schoolkids in Illinois to announce, “In Obama’s America, the white kids now get beat up with the black kids cheering.”)
The unresolved tension here concerns the very legitimacy of the contemporary Republican Party. It resembles, in milder form, the sorts of aftershocks that follow a democratic revolution, when the allies of the deposed junta—or ex-Communists in post–Iron Curtain Eastern Europe, or, closer to the bone, white conservatives in post-apartheid South Africa—attempt to reenter a newly democratized polity. South Africa famously created a Truth and Reconciliation Commission, but that was easy—once democracy was in place, the basic shape of the polity was a foregone conclusion. In the United States, the partisan contest still runs very close; the character of our government is very much up for grabs.
And the truth is almost too brutal to be acknowledged. A few months ago, three University of Rochester political scientists—Avidit Acharya, Matthew Blackwell, and Maya Sen—published an astonishing study. They discovered that a strong link exists between the proportion of slaves residing in a southern county in 1860 and the racial conservatism (and voting habits) of its white residents today. The more slave-intensive a southern county was 150 years ago, the more conservative and Republican its contemporary white residents. The authors tested their findings against every plausible control factor—for instance, whether the results could be explained simply by population density—but the correlation held. Higher levels of slave ownership in 1860 made white Southerners more opposed to affirmative action, score higher on the anti-black-affect scale, and more hostile to Democrats.
The authors suggest that the economic shock of emancipation, which suddenly raised wages among the black labor pool, caused whites in the most slave-intensive counties to “promote local anti-black sentiment by encouraging violence towards blacks, racist norms and cultural beliefs,” which “produced racially hostile attitudes that have been passed down from parents to children.” The scale of the effect they found is staggering. Whites from southern areas with very low rates of slave ownership exhibit attitudes similar to whites in the North—an enormous difference, given that Obama won only 27 percent of the white vote in the South in 2012, as opposed to 46 percent of the white vote outside the South.
The Rochester study should, among other things, settle a very old and deep argument about the roots of America’s unique hostility to the welfare state. Few industrialized economies provide as stingy aid to the poor as the United States; in none of them is the principle of universal health insurance even contested by a major conservative party. Conservatives have long celebrated America’s unique strand of anti-statism as the product of our religiosity, or the tradition of English liberty, or the searing experience of the tea tax. But the factor that stands above all the rest is slavery.
And yet—as vital as this revelation may be for understanding conservatism, it still should not be used to dismiss the beliefs of individual conservatives. Individual arguments need and deserve to be assessed on their own terms, not as the visible tip of a submerged agenda; ideas can’t be defined solely by their past associations and uses.
Liberals experience the limits of historically determined analysis in other realms, like when the conversation changes to anti-Semitism. Here is an equally charged argument in which conservatives dwell on the deep, pernicious power of anti-Semitism hiding its ugly face beneath the veneer of legitimate criticism of Israel. When, during his confirmation hearings last year for Defense secretary, Chuck Hagel came under attack for having once said “the Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people up here,” conservatives were outraged. (The Wall Street Journal columnist Bret Stephens: “The word ‘intimidates’ ascribes to the so-called Jewish lobby powers that are at once vast, invisible and malevolent.”) Liberals were outraged by the outrage: The blog Think Progress assembled a list of writers denouncing the accusations as a “neocon smear.” The liberal understanding of anti-Semitism is an inversion of conservative thinking about race. Liberals recognize the existence of the malady and genuinely abhor it; they also understand it as mostly a distant, theoretical problem, and one defined primarily as a personal animosity rather than something that bleeds into politics. Their interest in the topic consists almost entirely of indignation against its use as slander to circumscribe the policy debate.
One of the central conceits of modern conservatism is a claim to have achieved an almost Zenlike state of color-blindness. (Stephen Colbert’s parodic conservative talking head boasts he cannot see race at all.) The truth is that conservatives are fixated on race, in a mystified, aggrieved, angry way that lends their claims of race neutrality a comic whiff of let-me-tell-you-again-how-I’m-over-my-ex. But while a certain portion of the party may indeed be forwarding and sending emails of racist jokes of the sort that got a federal judge in trouble, a much larger portion is consumed not with traditional racial victimization—the blacks are coming to get us—but a kind of ideological victimization. Conservatives are fervent believers in their own racial innocence.
This explains Paul Ryan’s almost laughable response to accusations of racial insensitivity over his recent comments. “This has nothing to do whatsoever with race,” he insisted. “It never even occurred to me. This has nothing to do with race whatsoever.” Why would anybody understand a reference to “inner cities” as racially fraught?
And so just as liberals begin with a sound analysis of Republican racial animosity and overextend this into paranoia, conservatives take the very real circumstance of their occasional victimization and run with it. They are not merely wounded by the real drumbeat of spurious accusations they endure; this is the only context in which they appear able to understand racism. One can read conservative news sites devotedly for years without coming across a non-ironic reference to racism as an extant social phenomenon, as opposed to a smear against them. Facts like the persistence of hiring discrimination (experiments routinely show fake résumés with black-sounding names receive fewer callbacks than ones with white-sounding names) do not exist in this world.
Conservatives likewise believe that race has been Obama’s most devious political weapon. Race consciousness, the theory goes, benefits Democrats but not Republicans. “By huge margins,” argues Quin Hillyer in National Review, “blacks vote in racial blocs more often than whites do.” Obama’s race, conservatives believe, lent him an advantage even among white voters. (As 2012 candidate Michele Bachmann put it in real-talk mode, “There was a cachet about having an African-American president because of guilt.”)
As a corollary, conservatives believe that the true heir to the civil-rights movement and its ideals is the modern Republican Party (the one containing all the former segregationists). A whole subgenre of conservative “history” is devoted to rebutting the standard historical narrative that the civil-rights movement drove conservative whites out of the Democratic Party. The ritual of right-wing African-Americans’ appearing before tea-party activists to absolve them of racism has drawn liberal snickers, but the psychological distress on display here runs much deeper. Glenn Beck’s “I Have a Dream” rally, the Republican habit of likening Obama and his policies either to slavery or to segregation (at this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference alone, both Ralph Reed and Bobby Jindal compared the Obama administration to George Wallace)—these are expressions not of a political tactic but a genuine obsession.
This fervent scrubbing away of the historical stain of racism represents, on one level, a genuine and heartening development, a necessary historical step in the full banishment of white supremacy from public life. On another level, it is itself a kind of racial resentment, a new stage in the long belief by conservative whites that the liberal push for racial equality has been at their expense. The spread of racial resentment on the right in the Obama years is an aggregate sociological reality. It is also a liberal excuse to smear individual conservatives. Understanding the mutual racial-ideological loathing of the Obama era requires understanding how all the foregoing can be true at once.
In February 2007, with the Obama cultural phenomenon already well under way, Joe Biden—being a rival candidate at the time, but also being Joe Biden—attempted a compliment. “I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy,” he said. “I mean, that’s a storybook, man.”
It was a cringe-worthy moment, but Obama brushed it off graciously. “He called me,” said Obama. “I told him [the call] wasn’t necessary. We have got more important things to worry about.”
This has been Obama’s M.O.: focus on “the more important things.” He’s had to deal explicitly with race in a few excruciating instances, like the 2009 “beer summit” with the black Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates, a friend of Obama’s, and James Crowley, the police sergeant responsible for Gates’s controversial arrest. (Obama’s response to the incident was telling: He positioned himself not as an ally of Gates but as a mediator between the two, as equally capable of relating to the white man’s perspective as the black man’s.) After the Zimmerman shooting, he observed that if he had had a son, he would look like Trayvon Martin. In almost every instance when his blackness has come to the center of public events, however, he has refused to impute racism to his critics.
This has not made an impression upon the critics. In fact, many conservatives believe he accuses them of racism all the time, even when he is doing the opposite. When asked recently if racism explained his sagging approval ratings, Obama replied, “There’s no doubt that there’s some folks who just really dislike me because they don’t like the idea of a black president. Now, the flip side of it is there are some black folks and maybe some white folks who really like me and give me the benefit of the doubt precisely because I’m a black president.” Conservatives exploded in indignation, quoting the first sentence without mentioning the second. Here was yet another case of Obama playing the race card, his most cruel and most unanswerable weapon.
I recently asked Jonah Goldberg, a longtime columnist for National Review, why conservatives believed that Obama himself (as opposed to his less reticent allies) implied that they were racially motivated. He told me something that made a certain amount of sense. A few days before Obama’s inaugural address, at a time when his every utterance commanded massive news coverage, the president-elect gave a speech in Philadelphia calling for “a new declaration of independence, not just in our nation, but in our own lives—from ideology and small thinking, prejudice and bigotry—an appeal not to our easy instincts but to our better angels.”
What struck Goldberg was Obama’s juxtaposition of “ideology and small thinking”—terms he has always associated with his Republican opponents—with “prejudice and bigotry.” He was not explicitly calling them the same thing, but he was treating them as tantamount. “That feeds into the MSNBC style of argument about Obama’s opponents,” Goldberg told me, “that there must be a more interesting explanation for their motives.”
It’s unlikely that Obama is deliberately plotting to associate his opponents with white supremacy in a kind of reverse-Atwater maneuver. But Obama almost surely believes his race helped trigger the maniacal ferocity of his opponents. (If not, he would be one of the few Obama voters who don’t.) And it’s not hard to imagine that Obama’s constant, public frustration with the irrationality pervading the Republican Party subconsciously expresses his suspicions.
Obama is attempting to navigate the fraught, everywhere-and-yet-nowhere racial obsession that surrounds him. It’s a weird moment, but also a temporary one. The passing from the scene of the nation’s first black president in three years, and the near-certain election of its 44th nonblack one, will likely ease the mutual suspicion. In the long run, generational changes grind inexorably away. The rising cohort of Americans holds far more liberal views than their parents and grandparents on race, and everything else (though of course what you think about “race” and what you think about “everything else” are now interchangeable). We are living through the angry pangs of a new nation not yet fully born.
Carlos, a before long-to-be-19-calendar year-previous from Honduras, is most fond of pastimes and men and women who convey on short-term amnesia. His previous girlfriend, Maria, was one such satisfied distraction. He performs soccer every Saturday in the Bronx at Mullally Park, just a couple of blocks from Yankee Stadium. That assists, too. I focus so considerably, he claims, that I neglect about every little thing else.
Most of the recollections Carlos would like to lose arrive from the journey he built from Honduras to the United States as an unaccompanied migrant two yrs back. He fled simply because it was his greatest probability of obtaining an adulthood. His hometown San Pedro de Sula has the greatest murder amount in the Americas. When, gang associates on bikes arrived at a park wherever he had been playing soccer and opened hearth. A mushy white scar on his ideal calf documents exactly where a bullet pierced his skin. At 15, he observed a shut mate shot in entrance of him. As a witness, Carlos would possibly have to be a part of the gang responsible or be murdered. He went to are living at an aunt’s dwelling, an uncle’s, a further aunt’s at every, gang users arrived, threatening him. I advised my mother that if I was going to die, it would be attempting to get out, he claims. She gave him $150 and he boarded a bus to Guatemala.
The day he arrived at the Mexican border, he was robbed. The very same week, he satisfied a young woman who was also intent on riding the freight trains, called la Bestia or el Tren de la Muerte, to the United States. She was wonderful, Carlos remembers. Soon right after they talked, he observed her stumble and fall on the tracks as she experimented with to board a practice. Her decapitated head rolled to the floor around Carlos’s toes.
Carlos at soccer follow.
(Photo: Edward Keating)
A thirty day period into his journey, Carlos was detained by a member of the Zetas cartel who demanded $80. At the stash dwelling, he stood on a floor stained with blood and could hear the screams of migrants currently being tortured in again rooms. It was only simply because one of his traveling companions was a childhood buddy of Carlos’s kidnapper that he went no cost.
And then there was his 17th birthday, which he phone calls the worst working day of his lifestyle. Carlos was sleeping below a bridge when a male just a number of toes away from him was burned to demise. One more migrant awoke Carlos by telling him, La migra [Immigration police] is coming. He panicked and ran. The pungent scent of burning flesh was detectable even after he’d sought refuge in an adjacent forest.
Carlos witnessed awful points on the trains, too. He noticed a woman gang raped. Migrants ended up from time to time thrown from the best of la Bestia on to the tracks. When a family members made available him a occupation in Veracruz setting up chairs and cleansing an situations hall, he seized it so he could save funds to fork out for the bus.
Most Central People in america enter the U.S. by crossing the Rio Grande into Texas. Because his ultimate bus trip remaining him in the northwest corner of Mexico, Carlos traversed via the Arizona desert. He smelled the human bones and decomposing remains prior to he observed them. Twenty times into the trek, out of drinking water and hallucinating, he made his way to the freeway and walked on the double yellow line so he would be picked up by Border Patrol. Immediately after two times in a detention facility in Phoenix, he was transferred to a juvenile shelter in Westchester. When his grandmother, who is a U.S. citizen, noticed him there, she fainted. All through his 7 and a half months in Mexico, Carlos was ready to phone residence just 3 occasions. It ran by way of their heads a great deal that I was useless, he claims.
With his grandmother at their apartment.
(Image: Edward Keating)
More than 10,000 unaccompanied child migrants had been apprehended at the border in June 2014 on your own. A public relations marketing campaign warning Central Americans in opposition to the journey, merged with a Mexican crackdown on migrants boarding la Bestia, assisted lower the range of arrivals by two thirds by the conclude of the summertime. Nevertheless, advocates estimate that some 74,000 little ones and adolescents will cross into the United States this yr. That is pretty much double the determine from 2013. Aside from Texas, New York has taken in much more of these kids than any other state.
In aspect since of geography, Carlos stands a superior chance than most of currently being permitted to keep. As a Central American, he is entitled to a court docket listening to to identify if he will be deported. (Mexican children, in contrast, can be screened and despatched back again by border patrol brokers.) And, in a break with the past, the Workplace of Refuge Resettlement the section of the Division of Health and fitness and Human Companies that is dependable for the unaccompanied migrants is finding up the tab for lawful representation of youngsters who are housed in their juvenile shelters in New York. Because Carlos was produced to his grandmother in New York Metropolis, it also meant he could obtain a medical and authorized clinic operated by Catholic Charities, the Children’s Wellness Fund, and Montefiore Clinic in the Bronx. Each individual other Wednesday night at the hospital, he and other unaccompanied teenage migrants in the metropolis can receive healthcare look at-ups, show up at a group counseling session, and meet with an legal professional.
Tips for choosing the domain name associated with your activity
Recognition or differentiation on the internet are very important aspects, and choosing a domain name has a direct relationship with it. When it comes to an activity that already has an established, well-known name, or is linked to a commercial brand, the logical thing would be for the domain associated with the website to be the same or similar, as long as it is not reserved or is being used by another entity.
However, whenever we can afford the possibility of choosing a new domain name for an initiative or business, it is advisable to take into account that it complies as much as possible with a series of characteristics. This is important to acquire certain advantages, save ourselves problems and even avoid unnecessary conflict situations as we will see below.
The keyword in the domain name
Although the latest updates to Google’s algorithms give less relevance to the fact that the domain name contains or references the activity, it is still very positive that it includes related keywords. Without a doubt, it is a characteristic that suggests to interested people the value they can obtain, or the topic that is covered in a transparent and clear way.
A memorizable domain name
It goes without saying that when choosing a domain name you score points that are memorizable, and this should be a priority. How many times do we try to remember the name of a website, online store or resource that we visit on our own initiative or on recommendation, but whose name we cannot assimilate? And on the other hand … isn’t it true that later we abandoned the idea of recovering it just because of the research effort that it would entail? Umm, you don’t want it to happen to others with your website?
A short and specific name is always more interesting from a cognitive point of view, the user digests it quickly, but it is increasingly difficult to find names that meet this requirement without being used. The usual thing in these cases is to resort to the combination of two or even three words used with ingenuity, as in the case of our own domain, “in-genio-virtual” or “ingenio-virtual” to form “ingeniovirtual.com”. What do you think? We’ll work on it huh?
Choose easy to interpret and write domain name
It is very important that the domain name is pronounced and understood well without giving rise to different interpretations regarding its spelling. Despite the fact that search engines offer more and more quality in their predictions as we type in the search field, this can lead to errors, and even harm us, especially in cases where there is a competition that operates with similar names.
Using certain characters such as numbers, hyphens, accents, umlauts or the letter “ñ”, also compromises the precision with which the public retains it. Even more so if they comment or indicate the name orally, an example of this would be “12montes.com” which could be interpreted as “docemontes.com”, leaving the predictive possibilities of search engines completely out of place.
When choosing a domain name it is better to avoid acronyms or abbreviations that prevent it from being related to the activity or the brand. For example, it is better to use “montesyasociados.com” than “mya.com” for mountains and associates. This type of domain names worked at the time for big brands like HP or IBM, but when they started there were not so many millions of pages on the Internet, nor so many of them competing in the same sectors or markets.
The alphabet in the domain name
Most of the vertical directories of media and companies on the internet offer in the results of their searches the names of the companies in alphabetical order. This means that we will increase the chances that we will be found in these directories before the competition if our domain name and especially the commercial one begins with the first letters of the alphabet.
In addition to being important that we have a modern and functional website, it will greatly benefit us to call “antoniopeluqueria.com” rather than “hairdresserantonio”. In this example, from “a” to “p” there is nothing more and nothing less than a difference of 17 letters, in what position will the name associated with the domain appear in a directory of hairdressers?
The extension associated with the domain name
Depending on the location or area in which you want to operate, domains with a “.com” extension are international in nature, while others are designed for a continental area or territory such as “.eu”, and national, even more reduced as in In the case of Spain, which would be “.es”, there are also related to provinces.
Other domain names are associated with the type of activity, such as “.net” for some types of businesses with only online presence, or “.info” if the purpose of the site is merely informative, or .org for organizations.
There are many more extensions but these are the best known or most common, which at the same time will cost less to remember most users because they are more familiar with them. Especially in the case of making a direct search by typing in the browser field.
Search and discard when choosing domain name
At this point and with several domain names selected to be candidates to represent and defend the initiative, it is time to check their availability. It is possible to do this in the later phase of choosing web hosting for the site files, using some of the pages that include search fields for the availability of the providers of this type of service.
The possible association of the domain name with other websites must also be considered and avoided. In addition, we must check that it is not being used in social networks, an aspect that could lead to confusion, or worse, to force us to add unwanted alphanumeric characters to differentiate them from other profiles, such as the underscore “_” or others less intuitive yet. This is a very common error, problematic for communication when transmitting our profiles on social networks to potential interested parties or clients.
You can use pages such as namechk.com to check the availability of the domain name in most social networks, this wonderful tool will be in charge of verifying the networks in which it is busy, only by entering the domain name once in the corresponding field . What a time saver, don’t you think?
Final choice and conclusions
You can choose your final domain name among those that are free regarding the extension of the domain that interests you the most, and as long as it is not yet associated with an activity similar to yours with another extension. It should also be free in those social networks in which you have considered interacting. Do not think twice, register the domain in a trusted or reputable site, duly accredited by ESNIC, ICANN or another similar body and register it by reserving profiles or accounts on the social networks that interest you. Only in this way will you guarantee that it is not reserved by another person or body after a while, sometimes surprises have been brought in a matter of hours and even minutes.
At IngenioVirtual we bet on good practices before developing a website, we take into account aspects such as domain and hosting from a beneficial and productive point of view for our clients, we work in collaboration with hosting providers with the best guarantee, support and quality in the service, get in touch and tell us what type of website you need so that we can advise you without obligation.