How Racial Politics "Helps" and Hurts the GOP

For the GOP, how important is  Rand Paul’s aide Jack Hunter’s involvement in the League of the South and neo-Confederate causes? I wrote earlier this week that the League’s leaders are in a messy divorce with the GOP but perhaps I spoke too soon. At the state level, linking up with secessionists might be viewed as a necessary strategy. So says editor of the SC Charleston City Paper, Chris Haire. Haire published a number of Jack Hunter’s columns prior to Hunter’s employment with Paul. Haire says he published Hunter’s columns to depict the real state of affairs in the SC GOP. He then opines:

I believe my intentions are pretty clear: This is what Republicans are in South Carolina, and at the national level they still continue to court racists and Lost Causers. Deeply entrenched racism is all but destroying the GOP at the national level while it continues to help them at the statewide level.

I think he could be right. Segue to this Atlantic column by Michael Wear for a look at the evangelical input on immigration reform. Clearly racism and alliances with secessionists and anti-immigration elements will hurt the GOP outside the South and in national elections but could be the face of certain GOP state organizations. Just to be clear, when I say “helps,” I mean in the pragmatic sense that candidates who claim to be protecting whites in some way bring  voters to the GOP side. In my view, this strategy is inherently self-defeating.
In the near term, the immigration reform debate chronicled in Wear’s column could signal a shift in GOP politics. If the House GOP members get this wrong, they risk closing the door to minorities and losing a segment of evangelicals as well.