With Mary Landrieu losing the Louisiana Senatorial runoff election last year, one could say that the conservative tidal wave that started by the “Southern Strategy” implemented by Nixon and Reagan is now complete. Liberals like myself have been critical of the GOP and the utilization of the “Southern Strategy”. Nixon and Reagan targeted disenfranchised white southerners who used to be registered as Democrats but became disenfranchised after the Democratic Party started supporting civil rights legislation. Reagan would say things like “I didn’t leave the Democratic Party, the Democratic Party left me”. Reagan went so far as to discuss “states rights” in Philadelphia MS. That was the location of the murders of several civil rights workers. The people who murdered them, and others who felt like them, believed that “states rights” enabled Jim Crow and other laws meant to keep black persons as second class citizens.
Typically when you try and reach out to a group and want to convince them to vote with you, the idea is that you want them to keep voting with you. This means you need to give them reasons to continue voting for you and as such you will have to pass laws and support policies that they like. So Reagan creating a coalition that included white southern racists meant that he would have to pander to those people if he wanted to keep their votes.
Now we have Steve Scalise and his speech at the Landmark Hotel in Metairie Louisiana. There are a lot of conflicting stories about the nature of his talk including what was spoken about and who was the targeted audience. I am not going to go into all of those items in this post. However, one thing has been made pretty clear. Steve Scalise accepted an invitation from Kenny Knight to speak that day. Kenny Knight is a David Duke ally and a known racist and anti-semite. According to Knight, Scalise knew about Knight and his feelings on people who are black on the topic of the “Jewish Question” (his words). If Scalise knew of these things then why on earth would he accept a speaking invitation from him?
I was raised Jewish and have many friends who are black. Steve Scalise is the 3rd ranking member of the House. It concerns me greatly that someone with that much power and influence would be pandering to racists and anti-semites. Scalise should be judged by the company he keeps. And it seems pretty clear that he had no problem accepting a speeing engagement where he was invted by a racist and anti-semite.