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GOP Ignores Minorities To Its Own Detriment

by on November 23, 2012

There have been postmortems written on the vanquished “Mitt Romney for President” effort. Some attribute the loss to a weak ground game, pointing out many, many glitches. But Romney underperformed the last Republican nominee by 2 million votes nationwide. I don’t care how good your ground game is; you’re not going to make up that difference.

Others, predictably, point to Romney’s flip-flops and supposed lack of core beliefs. But, ultimately, when you look at his record, the Governor Romney who ran for president in 2012 had been with us since 2005, with his last major flip on an issue coming more than a decade ago on the abortion issue.

In my opinion, the reason Romney lost is because his campaign underestimated his opponent’s ability to turn out the traditional Democratic coalition of women, teachers and, especially, minority voters (blacks and Hispanics). That last point is something I and many, many others have warned the Republican Party about.

But, alas, we got ignored, and they got defeated. Such is life. But what’s truly maddening is that we’re still continuing to be ignored. That leads me to wonder if the Republican Party, nationally and in Virginia, has some sort of death wish. How many more defeats will it take before the GOP opens up and reaches out?

I don’t have an answer.

I’ve spoken to top party officials in the past and begged them, figuratively and literally, to take minority outreach seriously. Time and time again I’ve asked the party to make it a priority. And I understood the hesitancy on the part of the GOP: Party officials didn’t want to throw resources at what they considered a lost cause. But now I’m out of patience, and my understanding has evaporated. Now I’m just angry with the party because it didn’t have to be this way.

Personally, I don’t remember the party being quite this cold and indifferent to this issue that is so important to me. I remember joining a party that included such figures as Jack Kemp, William Bennett and Armstrong Williams, among others. These figures pushed their colleagues to take notice of African-Americans. And, for a time, there seemed to be a real plan to bring blacks into the party. An agenda seemed to be set on how to address the issues most affecting the black community. Free enterprise zones, charter schools, faith-based initiatives and the like were all touted as ways reach men and women of color. But somehow all of that has fallen to the wayside.

Perhaps the electoral successes of the ’90s and early 2000s convinced many in my party that there was no longer a need for minority outreach. Or perhaps the indifference was always there, just beneath the surface, and I was too naïve to see it or just didn’t want to see it.

Nevertheless, I felt, still feel, that the values I grew up with, the ones instilled in me by my grandfather and his brothers, compelled me to be a conservative. And I’m still convinced that many African-Americans would give the Republican Party a chance if only the party was willing to make its case to them.

Unfortunately, with the coming and going of each new election cycle, I feel as if the Republican Party I joined and once knew has passed on and that this new one seems to be passing me and others like me by. Indeed, passing, passing, until it reaches its final destination: oblivion.

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