Skip to comments.Republicans And Blacks (Thomas Sowell)
Posted on 04/09/2008 7:07:36 PM PDT by jazusamo
If Senator John McCain needed to prove that he is a real Republican, he did it when he continued an old Republican tradition of utterly inept attempts to appeal to black voters.
Senator McCain was booed at a recent memorial on the anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. In typical Republican fashion, he tried to apologize but the audience was not buying it and let him know it.
Why would Senator McCain choose a venue where his rejection was virtually guaranteed? Not only did he not get his message out, the message that came out through the media is that this black audience rejected him, which is readily portrayed as if blacks in general rejected him.
The Republican strategy for making inroads into the black vote has failed consistently for more than a quarter of a century. Yet it never seems to occur to them to change their approach.
The first thing that they do that is foredoomed to failure is trying to reach blacks through the civil rights organizations and other institutions of the black establishment. The second proven loser is trying to appeal to blacks by offering the same kinds of things that Democrats offer-- token honors, politically correct rhetoric and welfare state benefits.
Blacks who want those things know that they can already get them from the Democrats. Why should they listen to Republicans who act like imitation Democrats?'
These are not the blacks whose votes Republicans have any realistic hope of getting. Nor do the Republicans need the votes of all blacks. If just 20 percent of blacks begin voting Republican, the Democrats are lost.
The question then is how to have a shot at getting the votes of those blacks who are not in thrall to the current black "leaders" and who on many issues may be conservative.
First of all, you don't get their votes by approaching them from the left, when that is neither their orientation nor yours. Issuing stamps honoring Paul Robeson and Kwanzaa are not the way to reach those blacks whom Republicans have any realistic chance of reaching.
Trying to reach blacks through civil rights organizations that are totally hostile to your message is like a quarterback trying to throw a pass to a receiver surrounded by opposing defenders. That just leads to a lot of interceptions and touchdowns for the other team.
That is essentially what has been happening to the Republicans, as far as the black vote is concerned, for decades on end. Someone once said that a method which fails repeatedly may possibly be wrong.
The truth is something that can attract people's attention, if only for its novelty in politics. There is no need for Republicans to try to pose as saviors of blacks. Democrats do that and they have more experience doing it.
A sober presentation of the facts-- "straight talk," if you will-- gives Senator McCain and Republicans their best shot at a larger share of the votes of blacks. There is plenty to talk straight about, including all the things that the Democrats are committed to that work to the disadvantage of blacks, beginning with Democrats' adamant support of teachers' unions in their opposition to parental choice through vouchers.
The teachers' unions are just one of the sacred cow constituencies of the Democratic Party whose agendas are very harmful to blacks.
Black voters also need to be told about the tens of thousands of blacks who have been forced out of a number of liberal Democratic California counties by skyrocketing housing prices, brought on by Democratic environmentalists' severe restrictions on the building of homes or apartments.
The black population of San Francisco, for example, has been cut in half since 1970-- and San Francisco is the very model of a community of liberal Democrats, including green zealots who are heedless of the consequences of their actions on others.
Then there are the effects of tort lawyers in raising prices, liberal judges turning criminals loose and other influential Democratic Party constituencies whose effects on blacks are strictly negative.
Where should these and other messages be delivered to blacks, if not through the existing black organizations?
That message can be delivered as part of televised speeches addressing other major issues facing the country. It can be delivered as part of advertisements in the general media and separately in advertisements in newspapers, magazines and television programs with a black audience.
Logistics are not the problem. Insistence on following a repeatedly failed game plan is.
Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305. His Web site is www.tsowell.com.
Logistics are not the problem.
Insistence on following a repeatedly failed game plan is.
Or anybody else for that matter....
Spot on, once again!
Blacks pay taxes. They care about jobs. They care about their schools, neighboorhoods, infastructure, and the military. Sounds a lot like what most whites care about.
Amazing how that is! /sarcasm
The sad fact is, white Republicans are totally stupid on this score. I cannot name a single white Republican major politician who us not a tin-eared moron on this issue. Sowell is exactly right, but white GOP politicians never heard of Thomas Sowell and do not want to hear of him.
Why the hell was a war hero booed? He fought so the ingrates could boo him.
Sowell on target.
If I were Senator McCain I would say the government that promises you everything you want will take everything you have. (Stolen from President Reagan)
Then I would offer school vouchers as an escape from failing schools; then demand that schools that consistently fail stop receiving federal funds or support.
Republicans can only reach out to the black middle class, as they are that part of black America that shares many values with Republicans.
But Republicans need a “joining ceremony” with the black middle class, that recognizes them as different from the poor of any color, and as having earned recognition as middle class people. A recognition that they are successful and prosperous, educated, hard working and part of the business community.
When middle class black people see a Republican attempting to appeal to a scoundrel organization like the NAACP, it says to them that this white politician cannot distinguish between a successful black person and a poor and worthless one. They see it as an affront because it is an affront.
Take prosperous, educated, hard working white people out of the business community, then take them to a run down trailer park, with the unemployed, ex-con, tattooed men wearing soiled “wife beater” t-shirts. Then say to the middle class white people that they are “just like” the trailer trash.
I don’t think they would care for the comparison, either.
Ask Mitt Romney about it.
Agreed, and if he did it he’d get more than that 20% black vote, IMO.
Unfortunately, many blacks have bought the liberal democrat lies so thoroughly that if Jesus Himself walked up to them and exposed the lies, the blacks would not believe Him. Not only that, they would then say that they were following Jesus.
It’s a matter of republicans forcing blacks to question what it is that they want and how they’re going to go about getting what they want.
Blacks need to be confronted without fear and asked the questions:
Where were you some 40 or 50 years ago when your race suddenly shifted almost all of your votes to the democrats?
What has voting almost exclusively for the democrats these last 40 or 50 years gotten you?
Do you think that 40 or 50 years from now, if you continue voting for democrats almost exclusively, that your race will be any better off than it is now, or better of than it was 40 or 50 years ago?
Will you continue making the same mistakes for the next 40 or 50 years hoping for a different outcome?
How many generations will you continue making yourselves the victims? How many generations before you decide that, you’re not moving forward and are stuck in the same mud-hole?
Very good points and it’s astonishing that there’s no Repubs that have seen this.
Tell the truth, and look for common ground on moral and fiscal issues (many agree, I have found, becuase they are the same as whites and care about much of the same issues).
It’s a no brainer to me (of course I am from the south, and though I am white I deal with people of color almost every day)!
And the people who need to read this are kissing Jackson and Sharpton’s butts.
From someone in the know. Now, let’s see if anyone is listening.
It’s too bad that Prof. Sowell is too smart to run for public office.
I laughed out-loud when the esteemed liberal playwright David Mamet saw the light and recognized Sowell as our greatest living American philosopher.
Damn! Sowell is smart.