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why blacks can now choose the gop


Dec 17, 2004
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It is often said in the black community that "the Democrats take us for granted, and the Republicans don't care". Though one can find evidence to support many misleading conclusions, this sentiment is totally wrong, and disproven by today's political reality. In the last election cycle especially, Republicans have made a conscious attempt to attract more black votes, and have intentionally abandoned their white racist base to do so. Democrats meanwhile are at a crossroads ironically because of our success.

Less than 10 years ago there was a vigorous debate about the direction of our country. The Republicans were determined to usher in a color-blind society "without any hyphens". They claimed that race should play no part in public decisions, whether to redress inequities or to promote diversity. As the Conservative tide of 1994 built momentum, President Clinton was on the defensive with his racial vision. This was encapsulated in his approach to Affirmative Action, "mend it don't end it". On one side, we were only to consider merit and objective qualifications. On the other side, we needed to expand the definition of merit, and make sure all of our institutions "look like America". Our side won. President Clinton was rightly credited with improving the conditions for millions of people of color. This was accomplished through:

1. overt efforts to diversify federal government positions and appointments

2. expanded college grants and loan programs

3. retention and expansion of minority empowerment programs that set-aside a percentage of government contracts

4. a reinvigorated determination to make sure every government institution "looked like America"

5. using the bully pulpit to change the hearts of America

Loyal readers of this page know I'm not a blind Clinton supporters, and could be fairly characterized as an opponent. Yet President Bush has "taken the Republicans to China" on race relations. He clearly has chosen to build on President Clinton's legacy, and even improve on it.


From the beginning of his first campaign up until the present, the President has made the effort to connect on issues that matter in communities of color. He has spoken the language of empowerment, and against bigotry. His famous speech against "the soft bigotry of low expectations" started an impressive series of overtures to the black community that has included:

1. appointments in high-profile non-social service positions like attorney general, sec. of state, judges, etc.

2. taking a stand against the assault against traditional marriage and other cultural values held dear in the black church and other minority communities.

3. pursuing No Child Left Behind in terms of helping the poor and those often ignored

4. visiting with and explaining other policies like the tax cuts in how people of color

Millions of minorities are in the middle class today precisely because of the Democratic Party's dedication to take affirmative action. That aid has come through proper government policies, college grants/loans, government jobs on a local, state, or federal level, jobs that are based on government contracts, the work of vigorous anti-discrimination lawyers and activists within/without the government focused on the private sector, and through the bully pulpit. It's not to say that on any specific item Republicans weren't involved, or even a driving force, but collectively, Democrats especially Liberal Democrats have worked for the day when people of color would get a fair opportunity in all areas of life. The examples I could use are endless. None better than in business where there are numerous people who are owning and working at greatcompanies today, that are there in part because of some liberal democrat's insistence that hiriing/firing, loans, contracts, and decisions be done fairly. Today, most corporations and institutions are so sensitive to diversity that the pendulum has nearly swung to the other side.

THAT is the problem for the Democratic Party.


The main reasons African Americans have voted Democratic for the past generation have nearly been eradicated. No one openly champions discrimination anymore. Everyone professes and works for inclusion. The examples of prospering people of all types are abundant...

Also, as people like myself who received a Martin Luther King Jr. scholarship from a top University, in addition to Pell Grants and other government aid, begin to prosper "without any government help", we now find ourselves inside the American system, rather than outside complaining.

If the Republican party truly jettisons its' white racist base, or that base continues to allow them to accept Democrat orthodoxy on race and the role and size of government, we will have to accept that we've won this battle, and find a new agenda to attract people of color to the Democrat Party.

The fight over the size and scope of government used to be a proxy for race. Now, with No Child Left Behind, and the Prescription Drug Benefit, and Personal Accounts in Social Security to "give African Americans a better return", the argument is over details.

I must admit my true test for Republicans catering to all communities especially African Americans is whether there will be an all-out assault to get a voucher system in the poor performing schools. That will cross the line of rhetoric into a point of no return....

Democrats must develop a new agenda for people of color not based on victimization and discrimination...

Right now the Democrats' response has been to point to the white racist base, or that the Republicans are only "talking", but as time marches the Republicans have seemed to steal all of the popular Democratic ideas that help the communities of color, and added a batch of their own. We can debate whether they will work, or whether the Republicans are serious about them. But the Democrats might need a new playbook.

I'll offer one soon....

see the whole commentary

Craig Farmer

making the word "liberal" safe again
No I disagree 1). Republican base is NOT racist. 2).PRES. Bush build on Clinton's legacy? How about starting his own legacy.The only things that held over from the Clinton admin. are negative like the War on Terror that wasn't responded to, like the economy and stock market going down even will Bush was running for Pres.,like the Saddam Hussein situation that was ignored.3).Dems. tell the black people the same thing every election cycle.how bad things are and how they are going to make things right. The problem is they never fix anything but keep making promises.
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