“What remains for the GOP is a campaign premised more on issues of national identity, aimed largely at that portion of our population for which ‘American’ is synonymous with ‘white’ and ‘Christian,’ than any national campaign has been since the American Party (also known as the Know Nothings) based its 1856 campaign chiefly on Protestant bigotry against Irish and German Catholic immigrants. In Appalachian America (the heart of which went to the polls yesterday in West Virginia), as Mark Schmitt notes in the forthcoming issue of the American Prospect (which I edit), a disproportionate number of people write ‘American’ when answering the census question on ethnic origin. For some, ‘American’ is a race — white — no less than a nationality, and it’s on this equation that Republican prospects depend.”

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“[T]hat’s an important point missing from the Washington Post’s piece, which, in addition to unadulterated racism, details attacks and slurs on Obama for issues of nationality, religion, and patriotism. Essentially, it makes the same point the FT made, but even less explicitly than the FT, by mixing clear racism with more oblique ‘concerns.’…

[T]ack enough of that together, and all the sudden there’s a language that allows people to talk about deep-seated hesitancies without using the taboo language of race. Call it para-racist language.”