The narrative has become trite, the thoughts behind it more transparent. The idea – the malformed idea – that the Republican Party offers nothing to the black voter and, in fact, eschews that demographic is as unfortunate as it is false.
The Rev. Joseph A. Darby wrote a guest OpEd piece in The State newspaper titled “Scott unlikely to attract many black voters to GOP.” The argument Rev. Darby proffers is that even a popular figure like South Carolina’s junior Senator Tim Scott, an African-American, is not enough to bring black voters into the Republican fold. He writes:
I appreciate his apparent intent, but I’d suggest that he and those who sing his praise consider four things if they truly want to appeal to South Carolina’s black electorate.
The first is that black voters — like all voters — make decisions based not on skin color but on stated political intent. Black voters tend to be conservative when it comes to social issues and private-sector initiatives, but also appreciate government’s role in assuring that those at the bottom of the ladder of opportunity don’t fall off as they climb and that they have an equal, legally protected chance to climb with a decent wage. Black voters aren’t impressed when Republicans label that interest as a desire to “freeload” or gain a “handout” — especially in a state where corporations receive handouts and white citizens are the majority beneficiaries of public assistance.
The notion that “black voters – like all voters – make decisions based not on skin color but on stated political intent” is madness. In his first run for the presidency, Barack Obama pulled in 96% of the African-American vote and 93% in 2012. In 2008 he got 89% of the DEMOCRAT vote! In 2012, it was 92% Democrats for Obama. In each election, more blacks voted for Barack Obama by percentage than did Democrats. “Not on skin color but on stated political intent?” Reverend? The only place you’ll see higher numbers than these are in North Korea!
As for Republicans believing that entitlements are “handouts” for “freeloaders,” Rev. Darby is mistaking fiscal accountability to a nation for charity. Republicans and conservatives are not against helping people, and the Democrat mantra to the contrary is a lie they love to tell. What Republicans prefer to do is create more opportunities for everyone, not reserve the spoils for the few. Small businesses, many of which are the lifeblood of the black community, suffer under the heavy restraints of Democrat imposed taxes, regulations and now, ObamaCare. It’s the old adage of teaching a man to fish.
Rev. Darby contends that “Black voters tend to be conservative when it comes to social issues,” yet we hear far too little from the black community on the critical social issue of abortion. There is probably no single issue on the American political landscape that demeans religion more than abortion. Barack Obama is more than just a proponent of abortion, he is and has always been an advocate, even promoting legislation in the Illinois Senate to allow for after-birth “abortion,” also known as infanticide. How does this mesh with black “conservative” principles on social issues or even with Rev. Darby’s theology?
Rev. Darby goes on:
The second is that black voters place considerable value on respect. When Republicans oppose everything proposed by President Obama instead of coming to the table of compromise, shut down the government and label our duly elected president a foreign terrorist, that doesn’t warm the hearts of black voters. Engaging in voter suppression through voter ID laws, passing stand-your-ground legislation and trying to nullify federal law in the name of “states’ rights” — the same foolishness that started the Civil War — doesn’t warm the hearts of black voters either.
The Reverend begins with the Harry Reid chant that Republicans oppose everything Obama proposes. If the president were not a black man, how much of what he has offered the country would African-Americans support? Immigration reform? That is to say, allowing for more illegal aliens to enter the country and take jobs from the black community. How popular a policy would that be among blacks if it were coming from a President McCain or Romney?
As for lack of compromise, it was Barack Obama who famously said “We won the election, get over it.” This is the man who chooses to play golf rather than work on the critical fiscal issues of the government.
Then, Rev. Darby plays the inevitable race card. “…voter suppression through voter ID laws, passing stand-your-ground legislation and trying to nullify federal law in the name of “states’ rights” — the same foolishness that started the Civil War.” I ‘ll not re-argue that point here or the inane “stand your ground” point as they have been debated repeatedly without changing minds. With that, I’m willing to bet Rev. Darby would be pretty suspicious if a group of white voters showed up at a predominately black precinct polling place on election day and I’ll double down that those white voters would be challenged.
As for the nullifying of federal law in the name of “states rights,” what better reason to annul laws with which a state is in opposition? Does the Reverend believe that Barack Obama’s selective “nullification” of certain aspects of his own ObamaCare legislation is appropriate? It’s not done for states rights but rather to enhance his own power as chief executive.
Rev. Darby’s third point had to do with cooperation and collaboration. I don’t know how that bears specifically on Republicans or exclusively to Sen. Scott, but it’s a point all voters want of all of their elected representatives. Still, before casting Tim Scott as being opposed to such things, Rev. Darby might first consider the shining example of the Senate Majority leader. Cooperation and collaboration with his Republican counterparts is as foreign to him as is truth and reason.
The Reverend’s last bit of advice:
The final thing is that those in the GOP can’t think for those in the African-American community or anoint black “leaders.” The most amusing thing in the recent coverage of Sen. Scott was that more than 90 percent of overwhelmingly white GOP voters surveyed believe that he represents the mindset of the black community. While it may be comforting for Republicans to embrace Sen. Scott as “a good one,” it might also be a good idea to ask a few more black folk what they really think and who they really listen to and respect.
Darby spun completely off the globe on this. No one in the Republican Party has tried to dictate leadership to any ethnic/minority group. For the black community, as I understand it, that mantle often falls to religious figures in the community. At the same time, however, there are those who anoint themselves as mouthpieces for the entire race. I HAVE asked “black folk” what they really think and only a miniscule percentage put any stock or faith in such “leaders” as Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson or Jim Clyburn.
If leaders like Rev. Darby are honest with themselves and with their congregants, they will talk things out with reason and without prejudice and consider which tent is the best for them as individuals, as a minority and as a race. And in doing so, will Rev. Darby and his NAACP colleagues point out that in the 81 years since 1933, Democrats have controlled the Senate for 60 years (74%) and the House for 64 (79%). How has Black America fared with such Democrat domination and how might support for Republicans better their lives?
I suspect Rev. Darby is correct; Tim Scott won’t bring in a massive number of African-Americans into the Republican fold. And, in this case, skin color won’t make a difference, primarily because there are far too many people that will cast him as an “Uncle Tom” and an “Oreo.” Or, as Rev. Darby has tried to do, paste upon him the label of House Negro to a bunch of bigots. And in doing so, the Rev. Darbys are telling “black folk” that doing what they believe is right, thinking for themselves and following their inherent “conservative” principles is wrong.
Rev. Darby concluded his piece by writing: “Black voters are hopeful, but we’re not gullible.“
It seems he and Democrats ignore the former and don’t believe the latter.