Ever since the Republican
Party, in the 1960s, embraced the "Southern strategy" of appealing
to middle-class and working-class whites opposed to the Civil Rights
Movement, modern conservatives have had something of a race problem.
That problem is Anglo Christian bigotry. Certainly, high-profile conservative
leaders have made of point of eschewing racial language and denouncing
overt prejudice. Political prudence explains this, to a degree, but
so does, in many cases, a genuinely enlightened egalitarianism. The
conservative "race problem," however, continues to reveal
itself in two primary areas. First, there’s the fact that conservative
economic policies have been hard on the lower income brackets and therefore
disproportionately hard on African Americans. Moreover, the hard-right
proposals on immigration reform in the House of Representatives promise
to be equally hard on Latinos. Second, there’s the occasional embarrassing
comment or episode which serves as a reminder of the dark association
between conservative politics and racial intolerance.