GOP Hoists Flag of Defeat for Black Conservatives

Monday, 12 Nov 2012 06:55 PM

By Clarence McKee

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The election is over. The big winners: Asians and Hispanics. The big losers: blacks and the GOP.

Over a year ago I wrote that Republicans should “take a look at the 2010 Census to see how . . . demographics are changing.” It was up to them whether its candidates would be waving a "white flag of defeat and exclusion” — or a "white, black and brown" flag of victory and inclusion after votes are counted in 2012.”

Black-voter.jpg
President Obama received 93 percent of the black vote in defeating Mitt Romney.
(AP Photo)
I penned for Newsmax that regardless of who won the election, black voters would be in “deep trouble” if they gave Obama similar vote margins as they did in 2008.

They did. Obama got 93 percent of the black vote. But, there was one crucial difference — 71 percent of Hispanics and 73 percent of Asians joined them.

There has been too little comment or concern by the media, GOP establishment or political commentators about the GOP’s lack of diversity. Even after last week, there is rarely any reference in post-election analysis to the party’s need to be more inclusive with respect to blacks.

What a difference an election makes!

Last week, when Hispanics and Asians joined blacks in abandoning the GOP ship, all “diversity hell” broke loose.

Since 2008, the Republican National Committee and many state parties ignored and rebuffed their own advocates for more inclusion and outreach. The goal was to match or approach the Hispanic vote for Bush in 2004 and surpass McCain’s in 2008. Any effort to match or surpass the 10 percent black GOP average in the seven pre-Obama elections was not even considered.

Asians, like Hispanics and unlike blacks, split their support between both parties and independents. They were not a priority even though their GOP vote has averaged 45 percent since ’92 and exceeded the Hispanic vote in those years not to mention Hispanic defections last week.

Now, Republicans are in “diversity” shock:
  • Former Florida Sen. Mel Martinez: “If . . . Republicans had moved just a few percentage points of the Hispanic vote . . . it could have thrown the election to Romney . . . this is not a choice. It’s either extinction or survival.”
  • Al Cardenas, chairman of the American Conservative Union: “There are glaring demographic shifts in this country that will not allow the Republican Party to compete unless immediate attention is paid.”
  • Former Florida GOP Chairman Tom Slade said months ago: “. . . We've got to go sell our philosophy . . . to people who consider themselves minorities today. That's the only chance we've got."
  • Art Wood, GOP Chairman in Hillsborough County (Tampa) said a few days before the election: "Romney did a really poor job with minorities.”
  • Miami Herald columnist Fabiola Santago wrote that the vote for Obama in Miami-Dade was illustrative of “the neglect of significant party movers and shakers . . . by the Romney campaign . . . ”

A recent South Florida Sun-Sentinel editorial cartoon says it all. It pictures two Republican males. The first says: “We suppressed them, we demonized them, and we belittled them . . . what do we do about the blacks, Latinos and women now?”

The other responded — “Listen to them?”

Good advice.

For decades, black and Hispanic Republicans, conservatives and elected officials have been telling party leaders to reach out; explain philosophy; show empathy and concern on specific issues of concern; and, do more than merely set up the typical “African/Hispanic/Asian-Americans for . . . committees” a few months before an election.

On early voting, were any black or Hispanics asked how such efforts would be “perceived” in black and Hispanic communities?

The result: an election disaster. The front page headline in the Florida Courier, Florida’s only state-wide black newspaper said: “A black voter backlash against GOP suppression tactics helped . . . Obama administer an Electoral College beatdown of Mitt Romney . . . ” Many whites were also angered too.

Millions of Florida voters were disenfranchised — Florida’s electoral votes were meaningless. Four days after the election Obama was declared the winner.

On immigration, blacks and Hispanic Republicans would have reminded GOP leaders that some of their proposals would be considered racial profiling and “driving while black/brown.” For example, on deportation, Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said: “It’s very hard to make the economic argument to people who think you want to deport their grandmother.”

Angie Ortega, who moved to South Florida from Puerto Rico, told a reporter: "If Obama does the great job he says he is going to do I will remain a Democrat. But if he doesn't, I may vote for the Republican the next time."

When hundreds of thousands can’t find a doctor; lose employer health plans and jobs due to Obama’s healthcare, tax and regulatory policies, they will be fertile ground for the GOP. But, it must plant the seeds now — not just three months before the next election when Obama won’t be on the ticket.

To the GOP: Change the message — not the ideas. Show minorities that you care about their families and communities and how your philosophy provides the best alternative.

To blacks: This election showed that Hispanics and Asians “walk with their votes” between both parties and hence are players regardless of who is in power. We on the other hand are “all in” with the Democrats. Guess whom the parties will be catering to? That’s spells deep political trouble.

Clarence V. McKee is president of McKee Communications, Inc., a government, political and media relations consulting firm in Florida. He held several positions in the Reagan administration as well as the Reagan presidential campaigns, including Board of Directors of the Legal Services Corporation. He was also appointed chairman of the District of Columbia Reagan-Bush Campaign and he chaired the District of Columbia Delegation to the Republican National Convention in Dallas. Contact him at clarencemckee@gmail.com. Read more reports from Clarence V. McKee — Click Here Now.

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