Party’s subtle racism still evident during CPAC
After the last election, many pundits began tirelessly working on obituaries for the Republican Party. After Republicans lost significantly in the fastest growing segments of the population, like Hispanics and the under-30 demographic, things seemed glum. These lamentations were mostly overreactions, and the Republican Party isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. However, it does face serious problems in the long run if it cannot connect with important segments of society. That is why the GOP released a report on what it can do to better prepare itself for the future and remain viable. One of the big focuses in the report is reaching out to the groups it lost in 2012. If Republicans want to make progress within the demographics they are losing, particularly minorities, they must make changes.
It is not impossible for Republicans to win a significant portion of the minority vote, but it will take serious outreach. The report comes to the conclusion that the reason a lot of non-white people vote Democrat in high numbers is because they feel that Republicans don’t care about them. In response, Republicans need to support legislation that matters to minorities or, at the very least, they shouldn’t champion legislation that hurts them. Voter ID laws, which clearly affect Hispanics more than any other demographic, are a perfect example of this.
The bigger problem is that certain Republican leaders outright antagonize minorities. Just last week at the conservative convention CPAC, a panel on race went awry when a man attempted to defend slavery. Even worse, a significant portion of the crowd agreed with him. There was also the time when, during the presidential primary, Newt Gingrich said that he would like to talk to the NAACP and tell them why “the African-American community should demand paychecks and not be satisfied with food stamps.” That is based solely on the stereotype of welfare queens that serially cheat the government, which itself comes from another stereotype that the black population is lazy and unmotivated. Of course, not every Republican believes that, but that sentiment has been repeated enough so that it can reasonably be assumed to be a commonly held view. Until that normally subtle but occasionally overt racism can be removed from the party, it will be hard for Republicans to recruit the African-American vote.
There are plenty of minorities who are socially and fiscally conservatives, but that simply cannot identify with a party that vilifies and alienates them. The Republican Party must take serious action to combat racism within its ranks and must, at the very least, stop supporting legislation that hurts these groups if it wants to gain their vote. It’s a difficult road, but it’s possible.