Find out more →

Get unlimited access. Become a digital member!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Can the Republican Party really expect to recruit black people?

Posted By on Tue, Aug 12, 2014 at 6:50 AM

Jelani Cobb, a college professor, writes a New York Times op-ed about the latest effort by the Republican Party to recruit blacks to their ranks. The party of Lincoln once was a natural home for black voters until the Southern strategy came along.

Yet black voters recognize a point that is consistently lost on the G.O.P.: It is one thing to tell the children in one’s own community that racism is no excuse for failure, and quite another for a party invested in the electoral yields of racism to make the same claim.

In his first speech as R.N.C. chairman, Lee Atwater announced an initiative to attract black voters. But critics suspected, with good reason, that the real audience for his words were white people who felt uneasy about the party’s racist political appeals. That element of Atwaterism, the leavening of insult with invitation, has survived to the present.

The party that hopes to attract black students is the party whose congressional leadership filed a baseless lawsuit against the first African-American president. It is the party whose representatives allied with birthers who demanded that the president prove his citizenship. It is the party that has endorsed the evisceration of the Voting Rights Act and made it more difficult for the very people it is courting to actually cast a ballot for its candidates. Senator Paul himself has expressed ambivalence about enforcing the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

It isn't persuasive, he writes, to argue as many Arkansas Republicans lamely do, that the Democratic Party's racial history of the 1960s (a mere 50 years ago) was terrible and Republicans once had noble ideals. Even the bad Democrats attracted black voters — see Orval Faubus — because of the New Deal and other programs of value to them.

An honest appeal to African-Americans would start with the admission that Republicans didn’t lose the black vote but forfeited it. The Republican Party now faces the same dilemma as the mid-20th-century Democratic Party: whether its interest in black voters might ever outweigh its investment in the reactionary politics of race.

See Arkansas Republican candidates — think Asa Hutchinson, candidate for governor — sneering at Mike Ross' advancement of early childhood education as some kind of "welfare" program. And Tom Cotton talking about the food stamp recipients driving new Cadillacs to pick up lobster at the Fresh Market. Do you hear the whistle?

Of course, the professed appeals to blacks aren't really about black recruitment, they are about recruiting white voters put off by racial appeals.

Tags: , , , , ,

Speaking of...

  • 'Bill Clinton Show' returns to Iowa, includes a riff on Mark Pryor

    September 15, 2014
    Bill and Hillary Clinton appeared at Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin's last steak fry, a big political event, and, among other remarks, Bill Clinton said Sen. Mark Pryor's race for re-election was "real close." Key: turnout. /more/
  • The Max Despairs Edition

    September 12, 2014
    The latest on statewide political races, Leslie Rutledge’s past, top secret divorces in Faulkner County, a victory for Little Rock private clubs and something rotten happening in Crittenden County — all covered on this week's podcast. /more/
  • Anti-abortion groups endorse Asa Hutchinson

    September 12, 2014
    It's hardly a surprise that the national and Arkansas "Right to Life" groups have endorsed Asa Hutchinson. He note only opposes abortion, he supports the unconstitutional 12- and 20-week abortion bans by the Arkansas legislature. He also has made clear for decades that he opposes abortion even in the case of rape and incest. /more/
  • Democrats holding their own in TV spending in Arkansas

    September 12, 2014
    U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor is holding his own against Republican Tom Cotton in terms of money spent on TV advertising in their race for U.S. Senate, a new analysis shows. /more/
  • Pryor and Cotton to debate on Oct. 14

    September 11, 2014
    Rep. Tom Cotton has finally gotten on board a televised debate with Sen. Mark Pryor sponsored by the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce. It will be broadcast from 7 to 8 p.m. Oct. 14 (a Tuesday) by KATV, KAIT and KHBS/KHOG. Roby Brock of Talk Business and Politics will moderate, joined by three TV reporters. /more/
  • Obama vs. GOP philosophy

    September 11, 2014
    If you have followed the Arkansas election ads you know that each party faces a single challenge. Republicans must overcome a philosophy problem, Democrats an Obama problem. /more/
  • GOP rule No. 1: Win

    September 11, 2014
    The Republican Party's devotion to principle was on display last week. After months of opposition to a proposed initiated act to raise the Arkansas minimum wage, Republican gubernatorial candidate Asa Hutchinson flip-flopped to say he'd vote for the measure. /more/
  • The turnout game and alcohol

    September 11, 2014
    Recent polls showing the divergence of "likely" and "registered" Arkansas voters clarifies that the outcome of the major 2014 races on the Arkansas ballot will be determined by turnout. /more/
  • The Kochs, Tom Cotton and their dislike of helping farmers

    September 10, 2014
    The Koch political lobby is trying mightily to pretend it supports American farmers and that Tom Cotton's vote against the farm bill isn't a measure of farm support. A new report from a Democratic organization blows that dishonest messaging out of the water. /more/
  • TV debate in governor's race set Sept. 19

    September 10, 2014
    Channel 4 announced this morning that it has set a debate between gubernatorial candidates Mike Ross, the Democrat, and Asa Hutchinson, the Republican, at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 19. /more/
  • More »

Comments (11)

Showing 1-11 of 11

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-11 of 11

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

Most Shared

  • Not giving up on Fred

    We ended up adopting Fred due to his incorrigible stubbornness. Originally bred to track game, basset hounds can be amazingly persistent. It sometimes appears that when their noses are working, their hearing shuts down.
  • Prosecutors have all the power

    But little oversight. Is a violation not a violation if a prosecutor says, 'I didn't mean to'?
  • Private clubs win early closing battle

    Private clubs apparently have won their battle against earlier closing hours, based on a "compromise" revealed at the City Board meeting last night.
  • The Kochs, Tom Cotton and their dislike of helping farmers

    The Koch political lobby is trying mightily to pretend it supports American farmers and that Tom Cotton's vote against the farm bill isn't a measure of farm support. A new report from a Democratic organization blows that dishonest messaging out of the water.
  • A tree grows in Little Rock

    When Darla talks about the tree, she calls it "he" sometimes, blurring the seam between the tree and the memory of her son.

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

© 2014 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation