While the Republican Party is closing its ranks and entrenching itself in their ideology, the White Power movement wants you to ‘come see the lighter side‘ of racism and is hoisting its own “Big Tent”. It looks like the Grand Ol’ Party isn’t the only one playing with rebranding.
First, President Obama got the jump on the republicans by making a big show of courting their votes and then, after almost every single one of them voted against his stimulus and just about everything else the democrats put up, he successfully tarred them with being the Party of No. Since then they have retreated into their “base”, the core of their ideologically rigid fans, and lost a senator in the process.
On the other hand, the Christian Revival Center and the Knights Party – the term KKK is so passe these days – are looking to remake themselves as communities of love and celebration rather than hate and discrimination. They don’t do “cross burnings” anymore. It’s called “lightings” now, thank you very much. Oh, and they don’t have “Grand Wizards” anymore. Thomas Robb, the head of the Knights prefers to be called the “national director” and bristles at the insinuation that they are hate-mongers. “Why is it that when a black man wants to preserve his culture and heritage it’s a good thing, and when a white person wants the same thing, we’re called haters?” he says.
Even the notorious stormfront.org has a new policy for its site to “have no swastikas and Third Reich symbols to turn off first-time visitors.” And the host of a white-supremacist radio show says that “The emphasis is different now. We don’t talk as much about what blacks have done to us; we’re more focused on ourselves and our own culture.”
It is amazing that these two conservative groups are taking such different approaches in the Age of Obama. And it looks like they are having different results. The number of hate groups have gone up 5% since 2007 and up 48% since 2000 according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. In contrast, the number of Americans who identify themselves as Republican has tanked from the beginning of the year to 20%, and just 30% have a favorable view of the Republican Party, the lowest in 25 years.
Will the GOP start to take marketing lessons from the KKK?