Thursday, March 1, 2012

Why Isn't The GOP Making A Run At Black Voters This Year?!?

Anyone remember waaay back in 2007 when the GOP debate schedule was just getting into full swing? The party made a half-assed effort to appeal to black voters by staging a much-maligned debate at Morgan State University in B'More.

The event was dogged by the absence of four Republican frontrunners (Guiliani, McCain, Romney, Thompson) who didn't even think the event was significant enough to attend. Moderator Tavis Smiley did the best he could to engage the handful of losers that did show up, but the feeling that the GOP simply didn't see black folks as important enough to even pander to sent a message.

Actually, on second thought, the GOP did pander to the black audience. They recruited resident Rent-A-GOP-Negro-Opponent Alan Keyes to join the race just weeks before the debate, and plugged him in. Any black person with common sense remembers the GOP did the very same thing a few years earlier, pulling Keyes out to run against then-State Senator Barack Obama for the coveted US Senate seat in Illinois. So yeah, the whole thing was just a big ball of turrible, sorta like the Washington Wizards' halfcourt offense[1], or Baby Snooki[2].

Anyways, we all know what happened in 2008, so it's not entirely surprising that the GOP isn't making a run for black voters this year. It does, however, fly in the face of everything ex-GOP Chair Michael Steele said about trying to engage blacks "with hip hop" tactics just a few years ago. Has the tent really shrank that much, or is the GOP just being realistic about their chances and making a run at Hispanics instead?

A recent Politics365 story discussed this peculiar absence.
When you hit the home page of the Republican National Committee website, you’re going to ask this question: Where are all the Black Republicans?

Only a year after celebrating the last days of its first African American chair, the RNC is fairly light on Black faces these days. What was once, especially during the Nineties, a fairly aggressive photo-op promotional strategy strung together by a small network of die hard Black political consultants, former elected officials and partisans, is all but dead.

Now, as a bloody Republican primary carries on, the GOP appears smitten with the Latino vote. Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich are breaking both back and bank to connect with Latinos, looking for every conceivable angle to attract skeptical Brown voters turned off by anti-immigration sentiments. And the RNC happily trotted out a Director of Latino Outreach in January, eagerly announcing the move in a gritty effort to snatch Hispanic voters away from Democrats in what observers expect to be a grueling November election.

“The RNC will place staff on the ground across the country to coordinate the GOP’s Hispanic effort as part of a program to make sure Barack Obama is a one-term president,” said RNC Chair Reince Preibus when introducing Betinna Inclan as the point person for Republican Latino strategy. “Latinos play an integral role in our communities, and the Republican Party believes it is essential to involve Latinos at every level of our Party’s efforts in 2012.”

Most politically active and prominent Black Republicans, and there are only a few compared to Black Democrats, are not as vocal about their displeasure with the GOP’s intense focus on the Latino vote. Most are quiet, some out of fear they might anger RNC bosses who are already stressed trying to keep a fractured party intact. But, many have popped a vein over what they view as a combination of betrayal and intrusion, a knife in the back from a Republican Party that was theirs from its Abraham Lincoln beginnings.

But, it’s much more complex than that. Only 10% of African American voters, on average, vote Republican during any given Presidential or Congressional mid-term cycle. The only Republican in the 21st century to slightly defy that trend was President Bush in 2004 when he won just over 11% of the Black vote against Democratic nominee Sen. John Kerry (D-MA). In statewide races, Republicans tend to garner 15% of the Black vote on average.
The post, by my ex-Loop21 colleague Charles Ellison is well worth the read, and I'd encourage everyone to do so.

I'm sure some dimwit is gonna mention the words "Herman Cain" in the comments section, so let me cut that sh*t short right now. Everyone knew Cain was just an opportunist to played to white audiences. He never had any serious intentions of even running, let alone engaging black voters. He spent more time insulting us than trying to engage, which sorta makes him par for the course with the GOP, circa 2012. It does not, however, constitute any serious level of outreach to black voters. Period. So kill that noise. Ditto on douches like Allen West and Tim Scott.

I guess that in addition to knowing most black voters are solidly #TeamObama2012, the GOP might just be self-aware enough to know that they've shot themselves in the foot with the past 3 years of race-baiting. From "food stamp President", to "Kenyan anti-colonialist", to birtherism, to "indoctrination", the GOP's given black voters more than enough reasons lately to not consider voting for them.

Question: Why isn't the GOP making a run at black voters this year?

[1] Seriously. Get John Wall some damn shooters! Dude's averaging 8 dimes/game for a team that's near the bottom of the league in FG%. Imagine if he had some guys to spread the floor.

[2] No shade here. I don't watch the show, and have nothing against Snooki. But you know damn well the media is gonna tear this poor single mom and her poor orange baby apart in the coming months.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.