There was already a decades-high pile of evidence proving Republicans oppose democracy before the House took up the Voting Rights Advancement Act last week. The partisan vote on the bill—which saw nearly every Republican refuse to restore anti-discriminatory protections to the 1965 Voting Rights Act—nonetheless reaffirmed GOP investment in a compromised democratic facsimile that excludes black voters.
Conventional contemporary punditry holds that Republican voter suppression tactics that target black and brown Americans—closures of polling sites, purges of voter rolls, and strict voter ID laws—are due not to racial resentments but those groups’ Democratic reliability. Racist GOP voter disenfranchisement, according to this thinking, is less a manifestation of white conservative bigotry than colorblind power grubbing. But it’s more probable that Republican hostility to black voting rights is about both GOP power retention and heartfelt bigotry.
In the Trump era, avoidance of political miscegenation isn’t just a GOP power move. It also reflects the need to appease an angry white base and, increasingly, the party’s own racist leadership.