If there’s one subject on which you just can’t win as a Republican politician these days, it seems to be the Confederate flag.
After the racially motivated Charleston shootings this week and a Supreme Court case regarding the flag, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) is facing pressure to take down the flag, which is still flying high at a Confederate War memorial on state house grounds. She hasn’t heeded the calls, and her staff says it’s up to the general assembly. Her fellow South Carolinian and GOP presidential candidate Sen. Lindsey Graham, meanwhile, defended the flag flying in his home state by telling CNN on Friday that it is “part of who we are.”
South Carolina state Rep. Norman Brannon (R) said Friday night he’ll introduce a bill to remove the flag from capitol grounds. But Republican politicians like Romney and Brannon have also faced pushback when they’ve sided with getting rid of the flag.
“That’s opening up Pandora’s box,” Rep. Mark Sanford (R-S.C.), a former governor of the state, said when asked on MSNBC if it should be taken down.
“If you touch it, you usually die politically,” Scott Buchanan, a political science professor at The Citadel in South Carolina, told The State newspaper in 2014.
The Confederate flag, of course, first experienced its resurgence in the then-heavily Democratic South. Today, though, Democrats are much more likely to oppose it, making it a pretty easy call for Democratic politicians.
But for the least two decades, it’s an issue which has divided and tripped up many Republicans.
Tough call to make. I remember the Democrats going through the same push-me/pull-me conumdrum over racial desegregation. In the end, Republicans became Democrats and Democrats became Republicans.
Today. it’s all about the base. In the south, the Republican base is mainly white older conservatives. Somehow, taking down symbols of the old south just doesn’t fly well. Somehow, there is this impression that the Confederacy somehow stood for defiance against federal dictates Those Republicans who dare rock the boat on any issue that “disses” confederate symbols does so at his or her own peril. No it isn’t particularly fair. It falls into the realm of JUST IS.