Attention Southerners: REPUBLICANS DON’T WANT YOU

In my last post for Across our Confederation, I discussed the sudden “flip flop” decision of Va. Gov. Bob McDonnell, to suddenly revoke his decision to make April “Confederate History Month” in his state and how there seems to be a pattern within the Republican Party to purge its membership of traditional Southerners and court minority voters. 

The September 3, 2010 edition of The Christian Science Monitor contains an article (“Election 2010 surprise: Rise of the Black Republicans“) which gives us even more incite (and confirmation) that the Republican Party is throwing Southerners and their heritage, under the bus: 

” In June, a Charleston businessman named Tim Scott won the Republican nomination for South Carolina’s First Congressional District, defeating Paul Thurmond, the son of state political legend Strom Thurmond, with nearly 70 percent of the primary vote. 

And Tim Scott is black. 

Even more surprising, Mr. Scott’s platform is a repudiation of Barack Obama’s agenda. He promises to support a repeal of the health-care law, simplify the tax code, and cut federal spending. Overall, the GOP has fielded more than 30 African-American candidates for federal office, including Ryan Frazier in Colorado’s Seventh Congressional District and Vernon Parker in Arizona’s Third Congressional District. 

And as the economy loses steam, and President Obama’s poll numbers sag, the ultimate humiliation in this summer of Democratic discontent is to find Republicans trumpeting 2010 as “The Year of the Black Republicans”. 

A Trend with historic roots 

This trend defies modern identity politics. In the 2008 election, 95 percent of black voters chose Obama. Yet the attraction between blacks and the Republican Party is not so strange as it seems

For a century after emancipation in 1863, black voters routinely lined up behind the Republican Party as the party of Abraham Lincoln, the Great Emancipator. Republican presidents held open federal patronage appointments as virtually the only public offices open to Southern blacks during the Jim Crow decades. Republicans in Congress sponsored civil rights legislation in 1866, 1871, 1875, and 1957, plus the Dyer Anti-Lynching Bill in 1918. In the 1930s, as New Deal Democrats began cultivating African-Americans, the Republican hold on African-American voters began to fracture. It broke down completely in the 1960s after Democratic President Lyndon Johnson endorsed the civil rights and voting rights legislation of 1964 and 1965. In 1964, 94 percent of black voters lined up behind Johnson, and every Democratic candidate since has enjoyed strong black support. 

But today, many blacks have different hot-button issues: school choice, job creation, family values. And on these issues, black voters have not been well served by the Democratic leadership. After the 2004 presidential election, Democratic pollster Ron Lester warned that “there is a lot of compatibility and similarity between a lot of the positions that black folks take in terms of social issues and issues advocated by the Republicans.” 

Not that this triggered any great shift among black voters. John Kerry captured 88 percent of their support in the 2004 presidential election. 

But Democratic pollsters noticed uneasily that Mr. Kerry’s percentage had slipped two points from Al Gore’s percentage of the black vote in 2000, and in swing states like Ohio in 2004, the percentage of black voters pulling the Republican lever went from 9 percent to 16 percent. The Obama candidacy reversed that slippage. But the Scott nomination may be a small reminder that the mere presence of Obama as the first black Democratic president may not be enough to satisfy African-American restlessness with Obama’s party.” 

So this is the Republican Party’s game plan for 2010 and beyond. They are getting back to their roots, proclaiming themselves to be the “Party of Lincoln” once again in an attempt (that very much resembles a Hail Mary pass in a football game) to win the hearts and minds of black voters and defeat Barack Obama in 2012. 

Do they honestly think that they can win the White House in 2012 by alienating their base of supporters?   

The simple fact of the matter is that black voters (and many white voters), voted for Barack Obama because he was black, not because of his ideology.- webmaster


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