Sunday, December 18, 2022

Blueprint for Republican Triumph

The Guardian reports

After more than a year delving into history and studies to make its case for reparations to California descendants of enslaved Black people, a first-in-the-nation taskforce began deliberations on Wednesday to quantify how financial compensation might be calculated and what might be required to prove eligibility....

The taskforce has a 1 July deadline to complete its final report for the Legislature listing recommendations for how the state can atone for and address its legacy of discriminatory policies against Black Californians. Lawmakers will need to pass legislation for payments and other policy changes to take place.

On a positive note (or two)

Earlier this year, the committee made the controversial decision to limit reparations to descendants of Black people in the United States as of the 19th century, either as freed or enslaved people....

Kamilah Moore, the taskforce’s chairperson, said the group has not decided on any dollar amounts or what form reparations could take, nor where the money would come from.

Limiting reparations, as well as the possibility that without knowing where from, how much, or in what form this will come, suggests that reparations may not come about.

That would be a positive development, though blogger Steve M maintains "reparations would be moral justice."  He's wrong about that, in large part because in some way, taxpayers and/or consumers in no way responsible for the harm experienced by African-Americans will be the ones held responsible and blamed.

And this movement is not limited to California, insofar as

On Wednesday, the Boston city council voted to form a taskforce to study reparations and other forms of atonement to Black residents for the city’s role in slavery and its legacy of inequality. Lawmakers in other parts of the country have pushed their states and cities to study reparations without much progress. But Evanston, Illinois, became the first US city last year to make reparations available for Black residents, and public officials in New York will try anew to create a reparations commission in the state.

But SM accurately notes

Even if it's just California, Boston, and Evanston, that'll be enough for the backlash. Chris Rufo will be all over this. So will Fox News. So will Ron DeSantis. I expect the 2024 Republican presidential nominee to win in part on the basis of an angry pledge never to support reparations.

Reparations will be portrayed as a budget-buster that picks the pockets of white, Asian, and Hispanic people, as a handout to the (few) descendants of the enslaved who are now fabulously wealthy, and as The Racist Democrat Party's means of making poor hard-working Volk pay for the consequences of its own racism. (Did you know Robert Byrd was a member of the Ku Klux Klan? Did you know Abraham Lincoln was a Republican?) All just in time for the 2024 cycle. Get ready.

That's how politicians and pundits of the GOP establishment will frame it.  Working-class Latinos, Asian-Americans, non-Hispanic whites will be expected to fund blacks (poor, middle-class, and rich) because of the actions of wealthy and powerful whites generations ago. One group of consumers or taxpayers would be mandated to subsidize another group based on racial background. Critics will be accused of being racist and "haters," a formula for stoking racial antagonism.

It would not set "black and brown" people or "people of color" against non-Hispanic whites , as supporters may hope. It's a formula for setting the latter group, Latinos, and Asian-Americans against blacks. A veritable conservative wet dream, Republican pols would not be able to believe their great good fortune. The backlash may not be furious- but will be ongoing and lasting, with political ramifications beyond even those Steve M fears.


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