The following is an interesting commentary on how the Republican Party can attract more black voters. What’s interesting is that so many opinion pieces on this topic ignore that fact that most black folks used to be Republicans prior to the Roosevelt years, were Republicans, especially faced with the segregationist stance of so many southern Democrats or “Dixiecrats.” This commentary does touch on the effect the modern day Republican Party had with harboring those former Dixiecrats who brought their segregationist ideas to the Republican Party when the bolted from the Dems in the wake of civil rights legislation passed during the Johnson administration during the ’60s. But what about Republican politicians who initially are quick to canonize people like Cliven Bundy (much to their later chagrin) or proudly campaign with a former rock star who uses veiled racial slurs such as “mongrel” to refer to the nation’s first black president?
Until the party denounces folks who think like that, the best policies in the world are not going to help the attract masses of black folk. But, therein lies a problem: The party, in recent years, has prided itself in being the haven for disaffected white males—or as one former Indiana representative put it, “we’ve harnessed the political power of angry white males.” Angry at what and with whom? Given the party’s stances on issues such as affirmative action and immigration, it has been implied that the enemy is black and brown people. What’s comical about those strategies is that they persuaded those angry white men who are decrying what they perceive as a loss of white privilege (we didn’t say, folks like Cliven Bundy told us!), that black folks have taken all the jobs from white men, even though black unemployment figures are at record highs; and they’ve persuaded them that Mexicans are taking all the good jobs, even though so men of those disaffected folks say that agricultural and minimum wage jobs immigrants gladly take are beneath them.
So the question is, how are they going to manage to keep that part of the base that “politely” and not so politely sees the Republican Party as the last haven for “good white folks” in America. What’s puzzling is that there are a significant number of party faithfuls who can’t see that. Interestingly, the party is going to have to figure out how to deal with similar issues when it comes to the LGBT community. Just recently, three openly gay people ran for U.S. House of Representatives on the Republican tickets. (See posting here.)
How the GOP Can Reach Out to Black America
The Republican Party actually has a lot to offer black voters.
By Jamelle Bouie
Rand Paul’s stances on drug laws and sentencing reform should hold a natural appeal for black voters.
Photo by Christopher Halloran/Shutterstock.com
If you want a sense of how much black voters dislike the GOP, consider this: Both Mitt Romney and John McCain scored single digits with blacks, 6 percent and 4 percent, respectively. The last time this happened, it was 1964 and the Republican presidential nominee—Arizona Sen. Barry Goldwater—had pledged his opposition to the bulk of the Civil Rights Act, driving blacks out of the party just four years after they gave Richard Nixon a sizable minority in his presidential bid.
Put another way, the last time Republicans were this unpopular with black Americans, their nominee had sided with white supremacists. Which is to say, the party has a serious image problem, to say nothing of an electoral one.