MASSIVE RESISTANCE: In the 1950s, it meant closure of schools to prevent universal education. Today it means closure of government to prevent universal health care. The resisters have changed parties, from Democratic to Republican.
Ari Berman, writing in The Nation
, has a good summary of the racial divide that accompanies the solidification of the Republican Party
as the party of Southern massive resistance.
He says the fact that the party is whiter, more Southern and more conservative than ever before is a key factor in the government shutdown over Obamacare. (And when will the Republican architects of Arkansas's "private option" version of Obamacare demand that national Republicans let them govern in Arkansas, as good federalists should?)
Berman notes how Republicans have packed power into congressional districting, creating districts that are nearly unassailable ideologically (and whiter than ever). White Southern Republican now account for 97 of the 233 GOP House seats, up 50 percent from 1994.
Of the fifty-four members of the congressional Tea Party Caucus—which is most vociferously telling John Boehner not to compromise—33 are from Southern states. Of the eighty members of the so-called House GOP “suicide caucus” who urged Boehner to defund Obamacare, “half of these districts are concentrated in the South,” writes Ryan Lizza of The New Yorker. As long as ultraconservative Southerners from lily-white districts hold the balance of power in the Congress, we shouldn’t be surprised that obstruction and dysfunction is the result.