Friday, July 21, 2006
Why Should I 'Come Home' To the GOP?
Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman has been on a campaign to increase African-American membership in the Republican Party. He has rhetorically called for African-Americans to come “back home” to the GOP.
Why should I?
Mehlman and other GOP offcials keep pointing to MD Lt. Governor Michael Steele US senate seat run, Ken Blackwell's run for governor of Ohio and Lynn Swann's run for Pennsylvania governor as evidence the Republicans are serious about competing for African-American votes.
Over the years many of the African-Americans that the GOP anointed as candidates for office have proven time and time again their willingness to sell out their own people for personal gain or how out of touch their views are with mainstream African-Americans. Those candidates end up having zero credibility with many of us.
In Ken Blackwell's case, I guess Mehlman thought we'd forgotten about how Kenny Boy sold us out during the 2004 presidential election. He was more concerned about being the point negro of the 2004 Bush campaign committee than his role as Secretary of State.
It's also still fresh in our memories the less than speedy response to Hurricane Katrina's devastating New Orleans landfall. When our brothers and sisters needed help last summer it was slow in coming. The only silence more defeaning than President Bush's was the sellout Black megachurch ministers who support y'all.
But back to Ken Blackwell and the other GOP Blacks y'all have running this fall. Their success is predicated on clearing a historically high hurdle for Black politicians: Winning white voters.
That's proving to be difficult in Ohio because Blackwell has at this writing only 35% support in his Ohio race despite sounding like a caramel colored clone of Pat Robertson. Lynn Swann is trailing incumbent PA Governor Ed Rendell 50%-40%
In recent US history only Douglas Wilder of Virginia has been elected governor in the United States and by the way, he was a Democrat. Tom Bradley couldn't get elected to the governor's chair in California in 1982 and 1986 despite having served as mayor of Los Angeles since 1973. Deval Patrick is attempting to make history by running for governor of Massachusetts this fall.
Voter pattern analysis between 1982 and 2000 reveals that Black and White voter turnout increases up to 3 percentage points with each African-American Democratic Party candidate on the ballot. When the candidate is a black Republican voting turnout does not show a significant increase.
*Whites of both the Republican and Democratic parties are less likely to vote for their parties' candidate when he or she is black, regardless of the politician.
So y'all can stop perpetrating about Condoleezza Rice's chances of winning the 2008 presidential nomination. They're about as good as Condi showing up at a White House gala with a weave down to her behind.
*Nationally, white Republicans are 25 percent more likely on average to vote for a Democratic senatorial candidate when the GOP candidate is black.
I saw an example of that in November 1994. In my hometown there were two African-Americans running for Harris County judgeships as Republicans during the 'Angry White Male' midterm elections. Guess who were the only Republican challengers to lose their races to incumbent Democratic judges?
*Whites who identify themselves as politically independent are more inclined to vote for a white Democrat than a black Republican.
*In races for the US House of Representatives, white Democrats are 38 percent less likely to vote for their party's candidate if that candidate is black.
That applies to US Senate races, too. Harvey Gantt lost twice in North Carolina to Jesse Helms, although Jesse had to pull the GOP race-baiting card to stave off defeat. Ron Kirk lost the 2002 US Senate race in Texas to John Cornyn despite serving two successful terms as mayor of Dallas. I'm interested in seeing if that plays out again if Harold Ford gets the Democratic nomination for senate in Tennessee.
I'll call the Dems out later about that. Right now I'm focused on the GOP.
Explain to me why I should 'come home' to a party that's homophobic, anti-science, anti-intellectual and racist? You GOPers can protest all you want, but until you repudiate the 'Southern Strategy' and stop spending millions to suppress our votes, I'll continue to support Democratic Party candidates.
Until the GOP gets serious about doing something about the problems that vex African-Americans besides cutting off funding to programs that help end those problems, moralizing sermons, actively opposing issues the African-American community considers vital to its progress or demonizing poor people, the GOP will have as much credibility in Black America as Vanilla Ice at a gangsta rap reunion.