Tagged: Black Republicans

Election Wrap-up: Black Republicans Go to Congress

The 2010 election cycle is notable for the Republican Party tidal wave that saw the Democrat Party lose control of the House of Representatives, and have diminished majority in the Senate. The Wave brought with it some diversity in the GOP’s Congressional delegation: there are now two African American Republicans in the House of Representatives.

The last time there were two African Americans Republicans in Congress was in 1995-96, when J. C. Watts represented the 4th District of Oklahoma and Gary Franks represented the 5th district of Connecticut.

This year’s breakthrough occurred thanks to the election of black Republicans in Florida and South Carolina. Allen West won his race for congress in southern Florida, while Tim Scott won his race in the Charleston and northern coastal area of South Carolina.

Allen West won in Florida’s 22nd District, which includes parts of Fort Lauderdale, Boca Raton, West Palm Beach, and other portions of Broward County and Palm Beach County. These are north of Dade County, which contains the city of Miami.

West’s district is 75% white, 15% Hispanic, and just 5% black. He beat out two-term Democratic incumbent Ron Klein by a margin of 54.3% for himself to 45.7% for Klein. The two had faced each other in the 2008 election; in that election, Klein beat West by 55% to 45%.


Allen West, Congressman-elect, 22nd District-Florida

West has something of a reputation for being controversial and combative. The 2010 Almanac of American Politics spoke of West in its discussion of the 2008 election:

…former Army Lieutenant Col. Allen West… retired after a 2003 incident in which he fired a gun near the head of an Iraqi detainee in an effort to make him reveal information about plans to attack U.S. troops. West’s explanation was that he had “sacrificed” his military career “for the lives of my men.”

Also during the 2008 campaign, West charged that a request for an interview from Al-Jezeera was actually part of a kidnapping plot.

The website TalkingPointsMemo.com said this about West:

Without a doubt, Allen West is going to become a new star all around — adored on the right, and a bogeyman of the left. First of all, West built his conservative political career on a particular event from his own military service — when he tortured an Iraqi policeman, and was proud of it. Since then, his attitudes on foreign policy haven’t changed much: “A nation goes to war against an ideology. We are against something that is a totalitarian, theocratic, political ideology, and it is called Islam.” The incident ended his time in uniform, and launched him on a track to Republican politics.

Also during this past campaign, West faced questions over his campaign’s ties to a criminal biker gang, The Outlaws. And at one of his events, a group of leather-clad men ejected a Democratic video tracker, as West got the crowd cheering. (It is unclear whether these same security men were Outlaws. In addition, West has pointed out that he could not possibly be an Outlaw himself — they do not accept African-Americans as members.)

It remains to be seen if West will this interesting once he gets on to the mundane tasks of representing his district in Congress, although being a black Republican will surely get West some media attention no matter what he does.

DID YOU KNOW: South Florida now has three African American representative in the Congress: West; Alcee Hastings, who represents Florida’s 23rd District; and newly-elected Fredrica Wilson, of Florida’s 17th District. The 17th District seek was previously held by Kendrick Meek. Meek ran for the U.S. Senate this year, and lost in a three-way race (that included outgoing Florida governor Charlie Christ) to Marco Rubio.
****


Tim Scott, Congressman-elect, 1st District-South Carolina

The other successful Republican African American candidate for U.S. Congress is Tim Scott. Scott will be representing the 1st District of South Carolina. This includes much of the Charleston metro area, although the heavily black parts are in the nearby 6th District. The 6th District is represented by James Clyburn, who is a member of the Congressional Black Caucus. Clyburn is the current House Majority (Democratic Party) Whip, which is one of the leadership positions among House Democrats; however, with Republicans taking over the House, his role may change. We'll see.
Continue reading

Does He Make You Want to Be a Republican?

One of the supposed appeals of having Michael Steele as chairman of the Republican National Committee was that he would be a beacon of diversity to minorities interested in joining the Republican Party.

OK, here’s the question. How many African Americans have decided to become Republicans because of this guy?

225px-Michael_Steele
Michael Steele, Republican National Committee

Seriously. Do you know any blacks who’ve been inspired to become a Republican due to the Steele’s chairmanship of the Republican Party?

The Color of the Young Vote, 2008

In the previous blog entry, we mentioned that Michael Steele, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, expressed his desire to see more people of color represented within the Republican Party. Steele made this statement at a meeting of Florida Republicans. At the same meeting, Jim Greer, Florida’s party chairman, said that the party would focus on using technology to invigorate younger Republicans.

The folowing charts help to explain why Republicans might be concerned about ethnic and age diversity within their party. These are from the Young Voters in the 2008 Presidential Election Fact Sheet, which was prepared by CIRCLE, the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement at Tufts University.

This first chart is not elegant aesthetically, but it makes a powerful point about the ethnic make-up of voters in the November elections. The chart shows the ethnicity of the electorate, broken-out by different age groups.

electorate-by-age-group-2008
Source: Young Voters in the 2008 Presidential Election Fact Sheet

I know this is redundant, but let me go over the numbers on the above chart:
• For voters who are 60 years old or more, the ethnic composition of the vote was 85% white, 8% black, and 4% Hispanic
• For voters aged 45-59, the ethnicity was 80% white, 12% black, and 4% Hispanic
• For voters aged 30-44, the ethnicity was 72% white, 15% black, and 7% Hispanic
• For voters aged 18-29, the ethnicity was 64% white, 19% black, and 11% Hispanic

What we’re seeing is that the under-30 population has become more ethnically diverse than older age groups. Whites are a smaller portion of the electorate, while the percentage of African Americans and Hispanics is growing.

The problem for Republicans is that African Americans and Hispanics tend to vote for Democrats. The following chart shows the percentage of people who voted for Obama in the November elections, by ethnicity and age-group:

Percent-who-voted-for-obama
Source: Young Voters in the 2008 Presidential Election Fact Sheet

Continue reading

Republican Chairman Steele: 36 People of Color is Not Enough

”Please send some folks to the convention that look like Florida. Could you help a brother out? No more national conventions with [only] 36 people of color in the room.”
- Michael Steele, Chairman, Republican National Committee, speaking at a meeting of Florida Republicans in early April.

They say that, to solve a problem, you first have to know what the problem is.

But after you know what the problem is… you need a way to solve the problem, otherwise, the problem doesn’t go away.

I’ll give this to Michael Steele: he’s not afraid to say what the problem is. As discussed in Blacked Out: African Americans Near Invisible at the Republican Convention,

The 36 black delegates to the 2008 Republican National Convention in Minneapolis/St. Paul is the lowest total in 40 years for a Republican National Convention. These delegates represent 1.5 percent of the total number of delegates, substantially below the record setting 6.7 percent in 2004. (Editor’s note: The United States is 13% African American.)

Steele’s statement is useful, insofar it as it acknowledges the GOP’s obvious problem in attracting minorities, and signals that the Republican Party (or at least, that Michael Steele) wants minority input and participation.

The question is: where do they go from there? What is their plan to attract African Americans and Hispanics to the fold?

I have yet to hear it. If you have, drop me a line and let me know.

Satire from Black Republicans

Who says black Republicans don’t have a sense of humor?

The National Black Republican Association posted this wonderfully laughable piece of satire on their website. Share in the amusement:

White Guilt Emancipation Declaration

We, black American citizens of the United States of America and of the National Black Republican Association, do hereby declare that our fellow white American citizens are now, henceforth and forever more free of White Guilt.

This freedom from White Guilt was duly earned by the election of Barack Hussein Obama, a black man, to be our president by a majority of white Americans based solely on the color of his skin.

Freedom is not free, and we trust that the price paid for this freedom from White Guilt is worth the sacrifice, since Obama is a socialist who does not share the values of average Americans and will use the office of the presidency to turn America into a failed socialist nation.

Granted this November 4, 2008 – the day Barack Hussein Obama was elected as the first black president and the first socialist president of the United States of America.

Ha ha ha!

Election Winners and Losers

Here are my own election winners and losers, plus some “too early to tell” entries.

Winners:

Barack Obama. Duh. This Hawaiian born and bred biracial intellectual with minimal experience has become perhaps the most unique and remarkable politician in American history. Now we’ll see if he can fix the mess that George Bush and congressional Republicans have made of this country.

Michelle Obama. The Right tried to demonize her into being an anti-white angry black woman who does terrorist fist bumps with her pals-with-terrorists husband. But like her husband, the more you saw of her, the better you felt about her.

I think she benefitted from not being a silent trophy wife; her speech at the Democratic National Convention and numerous media appearances showed her to be articulate, smart, and personable. I have no doubt that America is embracing her as the new First Lady.

Democrats in the Southeast: Who would have predicted even two years ago that a black Democratic presidential candidate would win in Virginia, North Carolina, and Florida? And how about the fact that Virginia and North Carolina both sent Democrats to the US Senate this year?

The bottom line is, the southeast has become a new battleground for the parties, after being owned by Republicans the prior two elections. And they could have more success there in the future, if they play their cards right.

Democrats in the Industrial Midwest: The last two northern Democrats to be nominated as presidential candidates were both from Massachusetts. They both lost. This year a candidate from the Midwest gave it a try, and found success.

Observers are saying that the proximity of red states like Iowa and Indiana to Obama’s “home” state of Illinois was a factor in his victories there. I bet that a lot of Democrats from the Midwest are looking at themselves in the mirror and thinking, maybe I’m next.

At least, Obama’s victory disturbs the conventional wisdom that only a southern Democrat has a chance of winning a presidential election.

Organized Labor: Make no mistake, labor put a lot of money and manpower into this election. The Democrats’ success in Pennsylvania and other Great Lakes states is owed in part to their efforts.

Now we’ll see what organized labor wants, and how much they can get from Obama and the Congress. A bail-out for the auto industry seems first on the list.

Internet Based Campaigning: The Obama campaign has become a legend in its own time thanks to its masterful use of the Internet to organize, communicate, and raise money. By the next presidential cycle, everybody will be doing it-or at least, they’ll try.

Cornell Belcher and Leah Daughtry: You probably don’t know these two black technocrats who work for the Democratic Party, but you should.

Cornell Belcher is the first African American to serve as polling director for the Democratic National Committee (DNC). Belcher was also a pollster for the Obama campaign. He had the insight that the Democrats could find enough pockets of strength that even a black man could win the presidency. And he was right. (Although he would be the first to say that the toxic environment for Republicans was a huge key to this election.)

Continue reading

Blacked Out: African Americans Near Invisible at the Republican Convention

According to a report from the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, only 1.5%(!) of the delegates to this week’s Republican National Convention are African American. As noted in the report, titled Blacks and the 2008 Republican National Convention:

The 36 black delegates to the 2008 Republican National Convention in Minneapolis/St. Paul is the lowest total in 40 years for a Republican National Convention. These delegates represent 1.5 percent of the total number of delegates, substantially below the record setting 6.7 percent in 2004. (Editor’s note: The United States is 13% African American.)

The 36 black delegates in 2008 represent an 78.4 percent decline over the 167 black delegates at the 2004 convention. There are 36 black alternates to the Republican Convention in 2008, down substantially from 124 in 2004 (71.0 percent decline), and 76 alternates in 2000. The following salient facts are worth special attention:

• There are 33 states plus D.C. and the U.S. Virgin Islands with fewer black delegates than in 2004, and only three states with more black delegates than in 2004. Several states had substantial declines. The states with the largest proportion of black delegates in 2008 are Mississippi (10.3 percent), Michigan (10.0 percent), and South Carolina (8.3 percent).

• In 2008, there are 24 states plus D.C. with no black delegates or alternates compared to seven states with no black delegates or alternates in 2004, and 16 states in 2000. (Editor’s note: Washington, D.C. is 60% African American.)

• The only African American with a prime speaking role at the 2008 Republican National Convention is former Maryland Lieutenant Governor Michael Steel. Joint Center tallies show one black member on the RNC Credentials Committee.

There is a possibility that the report numbers understate the count of black delegates. The report was issued before the Republican Party could provide black delegate information for New York and Virginia. So, instead of the black percentage being 1.5%, it could be 2.0% or 2.1%. Maybe.

As mentioned above, African Americans were 6.7% of the delegates to the 2004 Republican National Convention. That compares to 4.1% in 2000 and only 2.6% in 1996. Meanwhile, at this year’s Democratic Convention, African Americans were 24.1% of all delegates. All of this is from other reports by the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies.

Meanwhile, Barb Davis White (see picture at left), a black Republican candidate for congress from Minnesota, is criticizing the party for failing to highlight African American candidates at the convention. As reported by the Minnesota Independent:

The campaign of Barb Davis White went after the Republican National Committee and the Republican Party of Minnesota on Tuesday, criticizing the RNC’s failure to invite any African-American congressional candidates to speak at the Republican National Convention and complaining that the Minnesota GOP has been lax in supporting Davis White’s campaign. Davis White is the Republican Party’s endorsed candidate for the 5th Congressional District, which encompasses Minneapolis and several inner-ring suburbs.

In an email sent to the RNC and posted to the Independent Business News Network, Davis White’s press secretary, Don Allen, said that he had tried to get answers from the RNC numerous times as to why no African Americans are scheduled to speak at the RNC.

He wrote that he was stonewalled and, at least one time, threatened. He accused the party of discriminating: “This ’slave mentality thinking’ i.e.; ‘Be good you Black Republicans while our White friends are in town’ does not fly with me or the tools I have in place to distribute this message ‘top-of-mind’ to the general public and national news affiliates.”

I wonder how much the mass media will make of this?

PS: Not surprisingly, Neilson television ratings indicate that African American viewing of the GOP convention (2.1 million) is less than half what is was for the Democratic convention (4.6 million).

{See also Why Do Blacks Vote for Democrats? Inclusion and Diversity.}

Why Do Blacks Vote for Democrats? Inclusion and Diversity.

{This is the second in the series, “Why do Blacks for Democrats?” The other two posts on this subject are:
• Why Do Blacks Vote for Democrats? See Jesse Helms.
• Why Do Blacks Vote for Democrats? MLK, JFK, and LBJ.}

Why do African Americans vote overwhelmingly for Democrats over Republicans? One reason is that the Democratic Party is representative of the America that black people see, and the Republican Party isn’t.

This is illustrated by the following two photographs. The first shows the early field of Republicans candidates for the 2008 Presidential election. The second shows the early field of Democratic candidates.


Republican Candidates for President, 2008 (not in order): California Rep. Duncan Hunter, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback, Texas Rep. Ron Paul, Colorado Rep. Tom Tancredo, former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Arizona Sen. John McCain


Democratic Candidates for President, 2008: former Sen. Mike Gravel of Alaska, Sen. Chris Dodd of Connecticut, former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina, Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York, Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois, Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico, Sen. Joe Biden of Deleware, Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio

The Republican candidates are all white males. The Democratic candidates include a white woman, a black male, a Hispanic male, and five other white males.

Other examples of Democratic diversity, and Republican non-diversity, abound.

Continue reading

Why Do Blacks Vote for Democrats? See Jesse Helms.

{This is part of the series, “Why Do Blacks Vote for Democrats?” Other parts of the series are:
Why Do Blacks Vote for Democrats? Inclusion and Diversity.
Why Do Blacks Vote for Democrats? MLK, JFK, and LBJ.}

Black Republicans often bemoan the fact that African Americans vote overwhelmingly for the Democratic Party. One charge made by black Republicans is that Democrats are somehow bamboozling blacks into voting for them. Thomas Sowell’s comments in an issue of Black Republican magazine are typical:

How then can the Democrats consistently get the lion’s share of black votes? And why can’t the Republicans make any serious inroads? Democrats understand that the key to their success is in keeping blacks dependent and fearful. They cry “racism” at every opportunity and resurrect every grievance of the past.

{See also “The Myth That Blacks Only Vote Black” and “Where are the Black Republicans?”}

But if black Republicans really want to understand why African Americans are rejecting their party, they need look no further than Jesse Helms, the former US Senator from North Carolina who died on Friday at the age of 86.

Jesse Helms, former NC Senator
Jesse Helms, Conservative Icon
and Race Baiter Deluxe

Within the Republican Party Helms is viewed as an icon whose conservative positions on and against communism, gay rights, and the liberal media helped key the rebirth of the Republican Party in the South and the success of the Reagan Revolution.

But for others, Helms was the embodiment of the so-called Southern Strategy, the “Republican method of carrying Southern states in the latter decades of the 20th century and first decade of the 21st century by exploiting racism among white voters.”

Continue reading