and a Divided Black
IN PREPARING for the 1988 election, Republican strategists planning the campaign of George Bush faced a new set of problems: the fires that had fueled the conservative revolution had been banked; the combustibility of the issues of race, rights, and taxes had been reduced—in large part because the Reagan administration had fulfilled many of its implicit promises to key white constituents. The anger and resentment in the white working and lower-middle class, which had helped the GOP in the elections of 1980 and 1984, had been blunted by the successes of the Reagan revolution. It was not difficult, however, to reignite those fires.
By 1988, the perception of a link between the Democratic party and controversial government policies on race, rights, and taxes had become imbedded in the conscious and unconscious memory of American politics—a perception still close enough to the surface to be accessible to political manipulation. This perception often exerted influence on an unarticulated level, a level at which the national Democratic party was still tied, in the minds of many voters, to the problems of crime, welfare, school failure, family dissolution, spreading urban squalor, an eroding work ethic, and global retreat.
In 1988, the Bush campaign assembled and deployed a range of symbols and images designed to tap into these submerged concerns—concerns often clustering around the nexus of racial, ethnic, cultural, and "values" anxieties that had helped to fuel the conservative politics of the post-civil