It's difficult to recall another Republican convention more full of lies, demagogy, sexism and racism as the one just concluded in Tampa.
The noxious cloud enveloping the convention hall was meant to obscure a glaring fact - the Grand Old Party (GOP) knows its policy of enriching the 1 per cent and austerity for the working class is not a winning platform.
The GOP knows billionaire Mitt Romney - who spent all of two minutes of his acceptance speech explaining his programme for the US - cannot overcome his sky-high negative ratings.
Working people sense his disdain for them, as exemplified in his stewardship of Bain Capital, the equity firm obsessed with attaining maximum profits through job destruction and outsourcing and the countless offshore bank accounts hiding his massive true wealth.
The GOP is also aware the entire Republican platform - perhaps the most right- wing in history - is out of step with the majority of the US.
The platform, among other things, calls for a national "right to work for less" law, guts public-sector unions, outlaws abortion without exception, calls for self-deportation of 12 million undocumented immigrants, makes English the official language, outlaws same-sex marriage and reinstates "don't ask, don't tell" in the military.
And without shame Mitt Romney, Karl Rove and the ultra-right Republicans are brazenly committed to use racist hatred to slash and burn their way to the White House and a Republican Congressional majority.
The GOP is pinning its hopes on dividing the electorate, winning a decisive share of white voters and suppressing the vote of African Americans, Latinos, the youth, students and seniors in a close election.
It's hardly surprising given the GOP history. You could count on both hands the number of African-American, Latino and Asian delegates in the convention hall, half of whom were speakers cynically promoted to obscure what was obvious to all.
Predictably, speakers subtly and not so subtly whipped up the racist and sexist atmosphere, giving rise to numerous ugly incidents.
Speaker after speaker tried to outdo each other with vilification of President Barack Obama, blaming him for every conceivable ill, accusing him of undermining freedom and liberty, hurling every disdainful, sneering jibe and invective his way while offering no alternative.
Horrified colleagues watched as African-American CNN camerawoman Patricia Carroll was pelted with peanuts by delegates.
Carroll said, "You come to places like this, you can count the black people on your hand. They see us doing things they don't think I should do."
Again stunned onlookers watched as Ron Paul supporters shouted down Puerto Rican chairwoman of the committee on permanent organisation Zoraida Fonalledas with the chant "USA, USA, USA," as they protested against the decision not to seat members of the Maine delegation.
Rick Santorum continued to sow the racist seeds he scattered during the primaries.
As Joe Walsh noted on Salon.com: "In case anyone was in danger of missing the racial subtext (of Obama supposedly gutting the work requirement for welfare), Santorum linked Obama's supposed waiving the work requirement (which he did not in fact do) to 'his refusal to enforce the immigration law.'
"Welfare recipients and illegal immigrant, oh my! Santorum made sure to scare white workers with the depredation of those non-white 'slackers and moochers'."
Meanwhile strategists for the Romney campaign, desperate to cut into Obama's support, openly admit they will double down on racism to win votes from white workers. This proves Romney's "birther" comment at a Michigan campaign rally was calculated.
The Romney campaign gleefully boasts it will continue running its patently false TV ad charging President Obama has gutted work rules for welfare recipients simply because the campaign says it is having the intended effect of shifting some white voters.
The ad dredges up coded racist images to appeal to resentments among white workers reeling from the economic crisis.
It follows the racist "food stamp president" characterisations of the GOP primary, regurgitated at the convention by former Arkansas governor and current right-wing hate talk show host Mike Huckabee.
Republican strategists pledge to continue running a false ad claiming Obama robbed $716 billion from Medicare in order to pay for the Affordable Care Act, supposedly undermining the programme to funnel money to the poor, mainly African-Americans and Latinos.
According to the New York Times the Romney campaign doesn't give a hoot about the truth but will "blow the dog whistle of racism" to erode Obama's persistent support among white working-class men and women - even all women.
"The strategic shift in the campaign message that has been unfolding in recent weeks reflects a conclusion among Mr Romney's advisers that disappointment with Obama's economic stewardship is not sufficient to propel Romney to victory on its own," says the Times.
Such an appeal to racism is a two-edged sword. The country has come a long way, and this is reflected in the historic election of President Obama.
Millions of whites, including crucial independent voters, are repelled and turned off by blatantly racist appeals. But as long as it is still effective in blinding a section of white workers to their own best interests, the struggle against it is far from over.
The only way to counter the dangerous extremism emanating from Tampa is to expose racism, sexism and homophobia as morally repugnant, show the true common interests of the multiracial working-class, spread the truth and push for maximum unity and turnout on November 6.
This article appeared on PeoplesWorld.org
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