By: Amanda Anderson
When it comes to race relations and diversity, the Republican Party continues to struggle in creating an image that attracts minority voters. With the election of the country’s first black President, it becomes increasingly harder to forget the horrible racial division the country endured during the presidential election at the hands of the Republicans. And to make matters worse, the Tea Party, an organization known for their racist outbursts and protests, has become a close ally of the Conservative Movement led by the Republican Party. While the Republicans may try to separate themselves from the controversial organization, it doesn’t help that the Democrats have switched the topic of the conversation from health care reform to immigration laws, a conversation that the Republicans tend to lose. And unfortunately for the GOP, this topic change comes right after governors from the party came under fire for implementing Confederate History Month in several southern states.
Michael Steele, the party’s first black chairman, has now decided to speak out concerning the GOP’s failure to connect to minorities. For those that follow politics, this is a drastically different stance Steele took originally, as he first stated that the GOP works effortlessly to work with minorities. Recently, he made a speech in which he criticized his own party for its racial insensitivity.
Here are the highlights:
“We have lost sight of the historic, integral link between the party and African-Americans. This party was co-founded by blacks, among them Frederick Douglass. The Republican Party had a hand in forming the NAACP, and yet we have mistreated that relationship. People don’t walk away from parties. Their parties walk away from them.
For the last 40-plus years we had a “Southern Strategy” that alienated many minority voters by focusing on the white male vote in the South. Well, guess what happened in 1992, folks, “Bubba” went back home to the Democratic Party and voted for Bill Clinton.”
Now I can’t say I don’t agree with Steele on these statements, for these statements are nothing but true observations. My issue with Steele is that a year ago, he had a different stance. He originally believed his party did its job of reaching out to minorities, and that just simply wasn’t the case. But at that moment, Steele felt the need to stand beside his party than his own people. Now Steele decides to make these statements, amidst a time that both parties are fighting to take control of the political conversation. The Democrats desperately want to stop talking about Health Care Reform, and the Republicans don’t want to let it go. Now that immigration has become the nation’s new conversation, what better time for the Republicans to change the tone than to focus on how they should do better with minorities?
And it doesn’t help that some Republicans have been vocal that they don’t see the need to connect with minority voters since they are in a position to beat out the Democrats during the congressional elections.
A GOP aide assisting in the 2010 elections emailed The Plumline stating the following:
“Why the hell is Steele, chairman of the RNC, talking about a southern strategy from decades past when today’s GOP can win 50 seats in the House and 10 in the Senate this cycle in districts north/south/east/west?”
I think it’s safe to say that Republicans aren’t too concerned with connecting to minority voters since Health Care Reform has basically ruined Obama’s approval ratings. But if the Republican Party wants to remain relevant in the future, members may want to fix the relationship they have with minorities.