Obama Inspires Black Republicans To Seek Office

The House has not had a black Republican since 2003, when J. C. Watts of Oklahoma left after eight years.

But now black Republicans are running across the country — from a largely white swath of beach communities in Florida to the suburbs of Phoenix, where an African-American candidate has raised more money than all but two of his nine (white) Republican competitors in the primary.

Party officials and the candidates themselves acknowledge that they still have uphill fights in both the primaries and the general elections, but they say that black Republicans are running with a confidence they have never had before.

They credit the marriage of two factors: dissatisfaction with the Obama administration, and the proof, as provided by Mr. Obama, that blacks can get elected.

Many of the candidates are trying to align themselves with the Tea Partiers, insisting that the racial dynamics of that movement have been overblown.

Read more at the NY Times.com

Isn’t it ironic, don’t you think? Not that there are 32 black Republicans hoping to get nominated and elected to congressional seats. That’s little more than political opportunity, fierce optimism and more than enough money to run a decent campaign at work. What’s ironic is that we have a group of Republicans who were not only inspired by the election of the nation’s first black president, they were inspired by someone they could not find within their own party, a Democrat. John McCain, either too old or too senile, didn’t talk, walk, or skip a beat with the same swagger as Barack Obama. Despite that, they will bank their political futures on the platforms supported by the GOP and Tea Party alike.

Consider the recent comments by Michael Steele, the first black chairman of the Republican Party, who said Republicans “haven’t done a very good job” courting black votes. Come to think of it, I doubt Steele would have a job had Obama not been elected.  

On one hand we have black Republicans running for congressional seats at a pace that hasn’t been seen since post-Civil War during the period of Reconstruction. On the other hand we have states like Arizona making laws that mirror laws created during the period of Reconstruction, i.e., The Black Codes, as a way to control blacks after gaining freedom from slavery. History certainly won’t repeat in that regard, but if you know your history you know that blacks were traditionally Republicans. In fact, black people’s roots are firmly planted in the Republican Party, but that’s the Radical Republican party of old. Perhaps they’re turning back to their roots. Let’s just hope the kitchen isn’t too nappy and unwelcoming.

Then there’s the Congressional Black Caucus made up of 30-something black members of the Democrat Party. Roland Burris is the only senator in the caucus. What sets them apart is that they’ve effectively been silenced, not outright shunned, by the Obama administration. It may have to do with them throwing full support behind Hillary Clinton in the campaign stages of the 2008 election. In any case, if all 32 Republicans are elected, which is highly unlikely, they’ll be a force to contend with not only for Obama and the Democrats, but also the Congressional Black Caucus. 

Frankly, I find it absolutely fascinating that it took a black Democrat to win the presidency for these Republicans to get motivated. In recent history, Republicans are best known for doing nothing to go after the black vote, and black Republicans have done no better. While I tend to hold equal disdain for politicians that play strict “party politics” by catering to political whims, I’m mostly of the opinion that if black Republicans aim to make a serious dent in the GOP they will have no choice but to do just that. They will placate to white and black voters while integrating the GOP and dividing a percentage of the black vote from Democrats in the process.

It’s funny how black Republicans are okay with letting white Republicans take all the blame for the GOP’s recent history of effectively ignoring the black community, but when it comes time to vote they wonder why blacks are more politically aligned with Democrats than Republicans.

The scary thing is that black Americans are known to be extremely socially conservative due to their strong ties to the church. Fiscal liberalism and social conservatism defines the majority of black voters in this country.

While white Republicans can and do win seats without black support or votes, can black Republicans do the same thing? We shall soon find out.

While they were busy being inspired by a Democrat, plenty of notable black Republicans have graced the White House over the last 9 years or so. Those of considerable note were Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell. And besides, while it’s true that Democrats have a long way to go toward truly providing genuine equality to blacks, and all minorities for that matter, Republicans haven’t even started, and that’s the ugly truth. 

To view the full list of black candidates seeking Republican nominations click here.



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