Republicans Shouldn't Become Democrats to Attract Black Voters

RomneySlate staff writer Jamelle Bouie pens another article advising Republicans how to attract black voters. In the previous one we linked, he discussed how T.W. Shannon might appeal to black voters over other black Republicans. The subhead for the latest article reads: “The Republican Party actually has a lot to offer black voters.” Bouie notes that Mitt Romney and John McCain garnered only single digit percentages among blacks. President Obama won a second term with a record turnout of black voters, but:

Imagine a world where Mitt Romney won the votes of 9 or 10 percent of black Americans, in line with the GOP’s historic performance with blacks since 1964. In that world, given the geography of the black vote, there’s a good chance Romney is president, having deprived Obama of needed votes in Ohio, Virginia, and Florida.

For the GOP, then, African-American outreach is critical, and according to BuzzFeed’s McKay Coppins, the Republican National Committee has developed a strategy for competing for the black vote: meeting with local black leaders, recruiting black politicians, and attacking black voices in media.

Bouie cites as evidence of “attacking black voices” the conservative backlash against Jamilah Lemieux, senior editor at Ebony, after she assumed RNC deputy press secretary Raffi Williams was white and insulted him for critically responding to one of her tweets. Raffi, Juan Williams’s son, is black. The magazine said it believed in a marketplace of ideas, apologized for Lemieux, and acknowledged her “lack of judgment on her personal Twitter account.”

Whether or not that kind of backlash would appeal to black voters, it’s a good thing that conservatives now have a bigger platform to respond. Because the people running and working in mainstream media tend to be liberal, they give each other a lot more leeway for remarks and behavior they wouldn’t tolerate from conservatives. The web (and radio) has given conservatives an alternative field to play offense.

Bouie advises Republicans to appeal to black voters by looking for “common ground on issues of mutual concern.” What might those be? Softening “drug laws, reforming the criminal justice system, and creating major tax breaks for areas in financial distress, like Detroit.” Generally, conservatives don’t support weakening criminal laws. Rand Paul–Republican, son of Ron Paul, and pictured in the Slate article–advocates it, but that’s a libertarian idea most Republicans–or should I say conservatives–don’t support. The last time I checked, libertarians and Republicans held different social views.

Bouie also mentions school choice. Star Parker is a strong advocate of school choice:

But let’s not forget the bigger picture that the NAACP has consistently opposed school choice and voucher initiatives and has been a stalwart defender of the public school system that traps these kids and prohibits the freedom and flexibility that these mothers seek.

Generally, black establishment politicians and organizations such as the NAACP have defended government public schools and education status quo and sadly have hurt their own communities.

For blacks voting for Democrats but care about social issues like protecting marriage, unborn children, and improving their children’s educational outcomes, the common-sense choice is the Republican party, despite misinformation about it.

Bouie advises Republicans to take on issues like “residential segregation” to appeal to Democrat-voting blacks. I agree that if Republicans acted like RINOs or Democrats and pushed policies that socially-engineered low-income tenants into neighborhoods where people worked to buy their property, and in some cases overextended themselves to live in safe areas, get their kids into good government schools, and maintain their property’s value, they might make headway with some black voters.

Conservatives aren’t flawless, but we believe traditional values, free markets, personal responsibility, and other policies that define conservatism are better for the country.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

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