Poll Pegs Black Support for Romney at Zero Percent

BlogHer Original Post

Political scientist Michael Fauntroy says that the Republican party "has be[en] trafficking, overtly or covertly, in racial symbolism for more than half a century. Fauntroy is careful to note that he is not calling the party or its partisans racist. What he does see, however, is a pattern that makes the GOP a comfortable place for those who harbor racist beliefs:

"In the 1960s we saw states’ rights, “law and order”, the “silent majority”, and the southern strategy.  In the 1970s it was reverse racism, and convincing rural Whites that affirmative action – and not corporate decisions to move jobs to cheaper labor markets abroad – was responsible for their jobs going away and their wages stagnating.  In the 1980s it was the Republican apparatus trying to undermine Black civil rights leadership, defund federal civil rights enforcement, veto anti-Apartheid legislation, and produce the racist Willie Horton campaign ad in support of Vice President George H. W. Bush’s successful presidential campaign. That decade closed with the 1989 election of Republican David Duke a White supremacist Ku Klux Klan member to a seat in the Louisiana legislature. The 1990s continued the trend with nuanced voter suppression tactics targeting Black voters. The new millennium saw the Grand Old Party double down on racially targeted crime control policies and continue its push to demonize Mexican immigrants for political purposes."

Fauntroy cautions Republican party leaders that as the nation's demographics change, it risks marginalizing itself in a nation that is destined to become more diverse. Comedian Jon Stewart satirically argued that Republican support for voting restrictions is its response to those demographic changes.

 

While Stewart's "Cockblock the Vote" spiel is funny, it's striking that one of the leading critics of voter ID laws is a former Republican activist, Faye Anderson, who accused the  Grand Old Party of the "Illusion of Inclusion" in 2000. Anderson has been working to preserve voting rights ever since, and she currently heads up the Cost of Freedom Project, which educates voters on photo identification requirements nationwide. 

The bottom line for Mitt Romney and the Republican Party is that if they want to improve their support among black voters,  they will have to do a better job of convincing them that they care about protecting their citizenship rights. 

Kim Pearson
BlogHer Contributing Editor|KimPearson.net|

Blogher is non-partisan, but many of their bloggers are not.

Related:

Ta-Nehisi Coates, Atlantic Monthly Fear of a Black President

Valerie Strauss, Washington Post Mitt vs. George Romney on Black-White Achievement Gap, School Segregation

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