First it was the Netanyahu speech, now it’s the Iran letter. The Republican Party continues to undermine the Obama presidency on foreign policy, healthcare reform and even government shutdowns that have dramatically polarized the country and stalled American progress. The so-called “traitors” have admitted the Iran letter might have been a bad idea and will hopefully be charged for violating the Logan Act, but the problem of presidential disrespect stems much deeper than merely righting wrongs. In our post-colonial society, the American public naively believed we had overcome the racist hump by electing a black president. Turns out, the GOP has ultimately struggled with having a black leader, and their determination to destroy Obama’s legacy has reflected the party’s unwavering racism. Let’s take a look.
Obama’s Birth Certificate
Ever since Obama took office in 2008, Republicans have repeatedly demanded to see his birth certificate. Even when Obama finally released his long-awaited birth certificate, the GOP still wasn’t satisfied. In January 2012, a YouGov poll found that more Republicans questioned Obama’s citizenship. The hard evidence did nothing to convince Republicans that Obama is, in fact, American.
Zero Political Shift
The General Social Survey has collected 40 years of data that highlights a divisive political trend between the Democratic and Republican parties. While Democrats have shifted since the 1970s to citing discrimination and external factors for African-Americans’ progress and limit of economic opportunities, Republicans have rarely moved from the assumption that blacks are responsible for their plight.
The infamous government shutdown of 2013 had many liberal pundits crying racism. While conservatives denied the accusation, a fascinating parallel emerged that subtly confirms racism played a role. One notable factor is that Republicans whose districts scored high on racial resentment were about 60 percentage points less likely to vote for the deal to end the shutdown than Republicans from districts with lower levels of racial prejudice.
While some have argued that Republicans’ undermining is nothing new, the heightened level of the GOP’s outright disrespect is clearly astonishing. John Kerry slammed the GOP’s letter to Iran as “irresponsible.” The fact is Republicans are willfully damaging American perception of their own party and continuously polarizing the country on domestic and foreign issues because of racism. They don't want to be led by a black politician, and are doing more than what is in their power to prevent that.