This is the third and final installment of our Black Republican series inspired by the question: "How in the hell could a Black person ever vote Republican?!?!?" In this episode, we look at Black Republicans in the age of the new Black President. We've enjoyed exploring the history behind this topic and we especially appreciate the shout-outs that our series has received from The Root, St.Louis Today.com, and Urban Mogul Life.
So...how in the hell COULD a Black person ever vote Republican? Well before you Black Liberals or Democrats out there get too hype about the underlying anti-conservative sentiment contained within this question, you might want to go back and look at what we discovered over the course of this series.
So what we found most ironic about asking the question "How in the hell could a Black person ever vote Republican?!?!?" is that, historically speaking, we've been Republicans for 100 years, but we've only been Democrats for about 40 years. So anybody who thinks that there cannot possibly be an answer to this question may need a history refresher.
As we learned in Part 1, the Black Community was first introduced to politics during the Civil War/Reconstruction period through the Republican Party. Even though many Republicans themselves did not particularly care for Black people, a Republican White House and a Republican-controlled Congress passed legislation that benefited, and attracted, the Black Community.
As we learned in Part 2, the Black Community did not experience its paradigm shift from the Republican Party to the Democratic Party until the Civil Rights Movement nearly 100 years after Reconstruction. Even though many Democrats themselves did not particularly care for Black people, a Democratic White House and a Democratic-controlled Congress passed legislation that benefited, and attracted, the Black Community. (sound familiar?)
But now that we've gotten the historical context out of the way, let's talk about the present. You mighta heard lately that we have a Black President of the United States of America. It's kind of a big deal. There have been 43 consecutive White male presidents since the beginning of the country, and now, finally after 200 years, 1 Black president. So despite Huey's (and perhaps Aaron McGruder's?) blahzay attitude toward Obama in the latest Boondocks, there actually was cause for the Black Community to celebrate on January 20, 2009 (at least for a day, man. Sheesh!).
Nevertheless, one thing has become painfully clear after the election of America's first Black President - America has become increasingly divided along racial, and by extension, ideological lines. With groups such as the "Birthers," the Tea Partiers and the like spewing racial animus under the not-so-veiled pretext of [insert non-racial patriotic-sounding issue here], it was only a matter of time before the issue of race once again reared its ugly head to the forefront of the political stage.
The Black Community, watching very closely to see how both parties react to the constant attacks on the first Black President, has witnessed the Democrats, for the most part, denounce the rhetoric (albeit in a very milquetoast, Robert Gibbs-like manner), yet it has witnessed the Republicans, by and large, remain silent (and in some instances even add in a few jabs of their own). Moreover, it seems like every day the dividing wedge between the races is driven deeper and deeper by yet another off-the-wall comment from Republican/Conservative icons like Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, or Bill O'Reilly, or by an equally off-the-wall piece of legislation from Republican Governors in states like Arizona or Virginia. Even RNC Chair Michael Steele has conceded recently that the Republican party has not given Blacks any reason to vote Republican lately.
So, given all of the aforementioned, why would a Black person ever go Republican in 2010? Well, before we throw in the proverbial towel on the entire concept of Black Republicans, there might actually be, as LL would say, a "comeback." In what appears to be the most unexpected reaction to the first Black President, a resurgence of Black Republicans have popped up all over the place like reality TV shows about housewives. Apparently, the President has inspired them to run for Congress. As political legend has it, the 2010 mid-term elections are going to be brutal for any incumbent party (but especially for Obama's party if the Birthers have anything to say about it), and since most incumbents are Democrats, logic dictates that anyone on the Republican Party ticket may have a good day at the polls this fall. A record number 32 Black Republicans are running for Congress this fall under this strategy (the most since 22 Black Republicans were elected to Congress during Reconstruction). Whether these new-school Black Republicans are successful or not still remains to be seen, but their success (or defeat) may go a long way towards answering the question "why would a Black person ever vote Republican?"
Food for Thought:
Are the Black Republican Congressional candidates taking the right message away from the fact that a Black candidate was elected President in 2008?
If Black Republicans are elected to Congress this fall in great numbers, what does that mean?
Likewise, if Black Republicans are not elected to Congress this fall, what does that mean?
Are the interests of the Republican Party and the interests of the Black Community on the same page in 2010?
Do you think it is possible, in the foreseeable future, for the Black Community to shift back over to the Republican Party?
***Special Note: The members of the blog will, along with RiPPa of the blog The Intersection of Madness & Reality and Professor Max Reddick of the blog soulbrother v.2, be discussing the topic of which ideology is best for the Black Community LIVE on next Sunday's Freedom Thru Speech Radio show on BlogTalk Radio. You can tune in on-line HERE. The show begins May 16, 2010 at 8pm Eastern and if you'd like to chime in with your own 2 cents the Dial-In number is 914-803-4881.